LITTLE Oakley assistant boss Paul Sadler admits his players “hit the self-destruct button” in their 6-1 defeat against Whitton United.

The Acorns had boasted a proud home record prior to Saturday’s setback and were unbeaten since the opening day of the Thurlow Nunn League campaign.

However, Sadler admits his players lacked “discipline and desire” and let their heads drop after conceding a third goal.

He hopes for a big improvement in tomorrow’s first division fixture at home to basement boys Needham Market Reserves.

“Saturday was very disappointing for us,” said Sadler, who works alongside first-team manager Sean Tynan.

“Losing is one thing but it’s the way we lost which was concerning.

“We’d only lost one home game before Saturday.

“We know we have to pick up points at home as we’re struggling with our away performances.

“Although we conceded two soft goals, we pulled one back before half-time and, for an hour, more than matched Whitton.

“But on the hour-mark, we conceded the third goal to a dubious free-kick and at that point we hit the self-destruct button and gave up.

“Whitton took full advantage of our lack of discipline and desire and we ended up on the wrong end of a heavy defeat.”

Harry Mann scored the Acorns’ consolation.

Oakley are 17th in the table and will be hoping to get back on track against a young Needham side currently propping up the table, having lost 15 of their 16 matches.

“As with our last heavy defeat, the fixtures have been kind to us as we’re at home to one of the struggling teams in Needham,” added Sadler.

“It’s a perfect opportunity to put last week behind us with a good performance and get three points on the board.

“If the players show the same lack of discipline and desire that was shown for the last part of last week’s match, we’ll struggle again.

“But the players have it in them to pick themselves up so let’s hope they do.”