Dons boss Gary Thornton admits that the club have a mountain to climb in their bid to stave off relegation to League One following yesterday’s 50-18 defeat against Whitehaven at Castle Park.
Thornton had set his players a target of four wins in their remaining five league games in order to give themselves a fighting chance of climbing out of the bottom two in the new seven-game Championship Shield format.
But he admits he could hardly believe his eyes in the first 40 minutes as the Cumbrians scored nearly a point a minute.
“We spoke about how crucial the first 20 minutes would be but that’s the worst first half since I’ve been here,” said Thornton. “We were absolutely awful.
“Our tackling was very disappointing – and that was something we’d worked on in training . We’d tackle well for four and then switch off and it was try-time.
“We made them look good (in the first half) but they are nowhere near the likes of Bradford, London and Featherstone who we played in our previous three games.”
He added: “The game was over at half-time with us trailing 38-0 and I told the players tat they were just playing for personal pride in the second half.
“Although we conceded two more in the first ten minutes we actually won the second half 18-12 but that is no consolation.
“There‘s no point in starting to play when you are 50 points down because it’s too late by then and they probably switched off a bit by then because they knew the game was won so, as I say, it was no consolation.
“I just felt sorry for the fans because, like us, it was a game they had probably targeted for a win.”