DAVE Clayton is hoping his players are hurting as much as he is after their ‘embarrassing’ defeat at the hands of Cadbury Heath on Wednesday night.

The hosts, who beat Melksham Town to the Toolstation League First Division title last season moved top of the Premier Division as they took Clayton’s side to pieces.

“It was painful,” said the Melksham manager.

“We were in the game in the first half, but let in two sloppy goals just before half-time. I said to the boys to go for it in the second half, but they scored again quickly and heads went down.

“Cadbury Heath are good at what they do and they virtually play with four up front, but it was still a real shock.

“Young Will Jacomb came on for the last 20 minutes and was our best player – he’s only 17-years-old but if they’d all played with his enthusiasm, the score wouldn’t have been as embarrassing as it was.

“It’s up to the lads now to show me how much they’re hurting and prove that it’s as much as I am. We need a reaction.”

Mark Reynolds netted a hat-trick for Heath, with Matt Huxley scoring twice while Nick Dyer, George Boon, Chris Astley and Craig Parsons were all also on target.

Ash Barnett levelled the scores a 1-1 in the first half while Jacomb got Melksham’s second late on.

Chippenham Town’s Luke Ballinger also made a cameo appearance for his former side.

On Saturday, Dan Griffiths’ strike gave Clay-ton’s men the lead against Odd Down before Dan Kovacs’ shot narrowly crossed the line.

Sean Benison pounced to score Melksham’s third as they ran out 3-1 winners.

Kovacs is unavailable for tomorrow’s Les Phillips Cup trip to First Division Chard Town, while fellow star striker Gary Higdon is a doubt as he continues his recovery from injury.