JODY BROWN felt his players let themselves down on a night to forget at high-flying Canvey Island.
The Swifts manager admitted the 3-0 defeat at Park Lane had left him pondering the merits of the players at his disposal in his injury-hit squad after the Gulls claimed three points to finish the night third in the Bostik North table.
Brown said: “We let ourselves down on so many fronts – both in the lead up and the performance on the night.
“We had three enforced changes to the line up from Saturday and none were for injury. That performance was a shadow of ourselves – and unacceptable.
“I need to reflect and consider which direction we go on now as – although we’ve had a challenging injury list and fixture schedule – the contrast between performances is too great.”
Swifts started well on a blustery and cold night with a side further depleted by the absence of suspended centre back Ryan Henshaw.
And they nearly took an early lead when Kreshnic Krasniqi beat the offside trap only to see his shot blocked by home keeper and former Swifts loanee Jack Giddens.
The Gulls, with their 23-goal star striker George Sykes looking very dangerous and skilful, then had a close range volley deflected over the bar by a great block by stand in centre back Lewis Dark.
But the pressure mounted and they took the lead when a far post cross was headed across goal by Frankie Merrifield for Mitch Gilbey to head home for close range on 20 minutes.
And it was 2-0 up nine minutes later when the Gulls got behind full back Toby Stephenson to cross for Sykes to firmly volley home from close range.
Swifts should have pulled a goal back on half time when Juan Luque shot wide following a goalmouth scramble.
The second half was a more equal affair with Swifts introducing debutant striker Matt Price, who has joined after scoring 18 goals from Bostik North rivals Brentwood Town.
And Price was unlucky not to score when his close-range effort was partially blocked by Giddens and then cleared off the line.
Makeshift striker Joe Gardner also was sent clear but fired straight at Giddens.
The Swifts back four were a good deal tighter in the second half but conceded in the final minute when Sykes latched on to a pass and easily beat two defenders before scoring from an acute angle.
Heybridge return to action with a trip to mid-table Hertford on Saturday (January 20).
* Photograph by Anders Johansen.