TOTTON boss Jimmy Ball apologised to travelling Stags fans after his side slipped to a 2-1 defeat away at Hamworthy United, stressing his side were “not good enough in many different ways”.

All three goals came from set pieces, with former Eastleigh youngster Cam Munn opening scores from the spot after he was tripped in the box.

Charlie Kennedy restored parity by heading home a deep free-kick just past the hour mark, but Hammers rallied again, retaking the lead 10 minutes to go through an Adam Costello free-kick.

A visibly frustrated Ball told the Daily Echo after the game: “I thought we were outran, we were out fought, we were outplayed for large portions of the game and I’ve got to apologise to the Totton fans who came out to watch that because it was not good enough in many different ways.

“But one thing you expect your team to do is compete and try to play football. We didn't try and play football today, which is the biggest disappointment for me.”

With Totton dubbed by many as favourites for promotion, there is pressure on the Stags to get off to a strong start this season.

The added expectation does not bother Ball – rather, he craves it: “I think in football you have to search for pressure.

“Nobody ever plays in the school playground to survive relegation. You're always playing to win the league, or to win the cup or anything like that.

“So that's what we set out to do and that's what we want to try to do and if people can't handle that sort of pressure, then they'll never get it, they'll never experience that, they'll always play mid-table or bottom of the table and have a nice little easy career.

“But I don't want players like that. I want players who want to search for pressure, who are desperate for pressure, because pressure is you're winning and you're doing things and you're achieving things if you're feeling pressure all the time.

“So if there is pressure - good because I need to find out whether these players can handle it or not.”

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