Tony Gold admits he faces the biggest challenge of his managerial career after London Lions slipped out of the FA Cup.
Gold has enjoyed unprecedented success in recent years, steering Lions to the Spartan South Midlands League Division One title last season. But they have yet to win a match this season after four attempts.
TJ Keterman earned Lions a replay as they drew 1-1 against SSML Premier Division rivals Stotfold on Saturday, but there was no way back in the replay as Lions’ FA Cup dreams ended at the first hurdle after a 1-0 defeat.
Gold said: "It was a very close game that was always going to be decided by the odd goal. We defended very solidly but our finishing was poor. We created enough chances over both ties to win four matches.”
The departure of key players including Team GB stars Guy Morris and Sam Sloma has hit Lions hard. “We just don’t have the quality at the moment which is systematic of the way our season has gone so far,” said Gold.
Lions have signed Mitch Hahn on loan from Enfield Town in a bid to ease their goal-scoring problems.
Gold said: "Mitch will add something, but the bottom line is that we’re not retaining the ball well enough and have players who are still getting used to playing at this level.
"We knew it was going to be tough and we’ve changed our mentality. Any team that loses 11 quality players would suffer.
"Yes it's frustrating, yes it’s difficult but we can only work with what we’ve got.
"It's the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced on a football level because of the dynamics, and if we manage to stay up it will be fantastic achievement. I never ever walk away from a challenge."