Clipstone boss Dave Hoole apologised to the fans and the club after the Cobras surrendered local bragging rights in a 1-0 home league defeat to Shirebrook.
Clipstone paid the penalty for a poor performance in front of the club’s largest attendance for several seasons – 181 – when they went down to a disputed first-half penalty and then hit the woodwork three times.
Hoole admitted: “We huffed and puffed but we had no end product. That’s not to take anything away from Shirebrook, who had a game plan.
“I thought we had enough to get the three points, but it wasn’t to be.
“It was disappointing that we did not play to our capabilities. The intensity we show in training wasn’t us today (on the pitch) and unfortunately it was in front of a very good sized crowd.
“We want to apologise to the supporters and everyone at the club because we as management set benchmarks and the players know that was way below par.
“The standard of football that we have implemented at the club from day one – today that was like we have gone back two years. It is not acceptable.”
The Cobras dominated possession in the opening 20 minutes but fell behind in the 25th minute when Roberto Marchetta was penalised for making contact with Shirebrook’s Josh Turner.
Clipstone protested that the initial contact was outside the area, but Ryan Bates sent Sam Ogden the wrong way from the spot.
The home side almost levelled midway through the second period, but when Jason Foster’s corner deceived Daniel Hartshorn in the Shirebrook goal because of the wind the ball came back off the top of the bar.
Six minutes later Foster’s goalbound header from a Jack Warwick cross was blocked by Craig Purcell.
In the final minute the Cobras hit the woodwork twice in quick succession. Jason Foster’s long free kick into the area was allowed to bounce, hit the post and Lewis Warwick headed against the bar from six yards.
Hoole said he did not want to get into discussions over the match-winning penalty and admitted it was poor defending and at least a free kick.
MOTM: Jason Foster