by SAMUEL DARROCH
“IT’S round eight, and we’re in trouble.”
Morwell Pegasus coach Dale White’s gloomy analysis of the side’s accelerating form slide came after its fourth consecutive loss at the weekend, a 7-1 thumping at the hands of Kingston City.
Pegasus went to the break with scores locked at 1-1 before conceding six goals in a horror second half.
The heavy defeat left the club devastated and languishing on the state league division two south-east ladder in 10th.
“After the game the boys were shattered and it hurts… it’s still hurting me today… I’ve never encountered that in my life,” White told Valley Sport on Monday.
“It’s the low point of my career and we’ve got to respond.
“We’ve all got a certain amount of pride and if it doesn’t cut badly then maybe they shouldn’t be playing at this level.”
New recruit, 17 year-old Carl Tai, made his first start for Pegasus up front alongside key man Maquinn Smith, after Clayton Bell pulled the plug on his season due to other commitments.
Morwell went down 1-0 after a Kingston free kick snuck by keeper Pierce Morrison, who was under an injury cloud in the leadup, before Tai scored on debut to draw level before half-time.
The writing was on the wall for Pegasus early in the second half, when a costly deflection coming out of defence gifted Kingston their second goal moments after kick off, and they added a third within minutes.
White brought Luke Cheney into the game and pushed an extra man forward as Pegasus searched for a reply, which nearly came through a one-on-one chance which Cheney sprayed off target.
The floodgates then opened for Kingston, who put another four past a lacklustre Pegasus defence making “schoolboy” errors.
Having conceded 13 goals in its past three games, White said defence was a concern for the first time this season.
“We’ve gone from a very good year at the back in the first three games, very solid, to all of a sudden… really struggling and that’s what I’m finding hard to understand,” he said.
“How we’ve gone from such a solid unit to basically the worst team in the league on form at the moment… with pretty much the same personnel (is beyond me).”
The silver lining for Pegasus was the return of attacking player Chris Duncan, who looked sharp in a 15 minute stint off the bench.
With Steve Maselli still a few weeks off and midfielder Paul Byrne due for an arm operation, the Morwell side is down to a bare bones squad of about 14.
White said he was desperately seeking recruits, but that marketplace competition and Pegasus’ financial standing were barriers.
“All the clubs are chasing the same players and unfortunately we’re probably last in the queue because people don’t want to travel to Morwell,” he said.
“We can’t afford to pay big money and compensate them.”
Pegasus will play a practice game against Cranbourne for this weekend’s general bye, ahead of three “winnable” games against Mornington, bottom side South Springvale and Langwarrin, which was also thrashed 7-1 by Dandenong at the weekend.
“We’ve just got to go out there and get as many points as we can before (the halfway mark of the season), because that dressing room is in a world of pain.”