Esher coach Ollie Smith said his charges are still in pre-season mode after a disappointing opening day performance in National League One.
After dropping down from the Championship last term, Esher are among new rivals and Saturday’s 39-22 defeat at the hands of Fylde from Blackpool proves they will not have it all their own way.
Speaking after the match, Smith could not hide his disappointment although he believes the scoreline did not reflect the true balance of the game.
He said: “Fylde were well worth their win, but they got a couple of soft tries at the end – one was an interception and one where we were trying to turn the ball over on our 22 and they scored.
“So the scoreline did flatter them. And if you saw how we had trained and then saw the match you would know that we only played in glimpses of what we really are about as a team and that is disappointing. The lads are hurting and rightly so, we are a proud bunch.
“I don’t know why our preparation was so good but then the performance so disappointing although, looking back at the game, it felt like a pre-season game.
“We were doing well and then, just like in pre-season, it all went to pot and when that happened it got messy and we conceded points.
“On a positive note, it is a good wake-up call for what this league is about and it is not going to be the pushover that a few of the guys expected.
“It has highlighted that we do have to work hard, it is not our right to go and win games.”
Tries from Ben Pritchard and Spencer Sutherland plus a Gareth Morgan conversion and penalty saw Esher go into the break 17-10 ahead.
However, Smith’s men only had Mike MacFarlane’s unconverted try to show for all their second half endeavours.
Esher host Blackheath on Saturday (3pm).