Tuesday 31 December 2013

Happy New Year

Back in August none of us envisaged being in the bottom four at the end of the year.

But after a series of missed opportunities over the Christmas period we find ourselves in a battle for survival, with Southport, Tamworth and Dartford (Hyde already look doomed). The last three games have yielded three points when, by all accounts, it could easily have been nine. It's a depressingly familiar theme that we don't seem able to hold a lead and there's a growing feeling of resignation that we could be heading back to Skrill North.

On the plus side we've scored three goals for the first time in a match this season and there's no sign that the manager has "lost the dressing room". Coming up against better sides is one thing, lack of effort is another. Despite the lack of recent wins, it's also encouraging that we're still not cut adrift and we are at least beginning to look more threatening going forward.

I still believe that Neil Young is the man for the job. The very least he deserves after the three years he has delivered is our patience. Sometimes it's easier to be magnanimous when you're not attending every game (my last one was Nuneaton) but I keep reminding myself how far we have come in such a short time. It's also depressing to read how teams such as Salisbury and Gateshead, with smaller gates, are being bankrolled and running at a substantial loss.

I'm sure Neil will be the first to admit that he's made mistakes and some of his signings have failed to sparkle as expected. Let's hope he can work some magic in January and find that elusive goalscorer, or another Sarcevic to ignite the midfield. Unfortunately neither grows on Christmas trees.

Also frustrating for the southern Exiles is the loss of Saturday fixtures at Woking and Tamworth. At least Woking gives us a rare night match to look forward to and I hope to see a good turn out to get behind the team on January 21. Three points there and we could drag them back into that little group of teams at the bottom. I'm glad to see that Lincoln also appear to be on the slide.

I do think it's imperative that we stay within budget. Come the end of the season there's always the chance of a reprieve - there are well-publicised problems at several of our rivals including Hereford and Macclesfield. I'd hate to see any team go to the wall but if they are living beyond their means it's not really a level playing field.

What ever else happens this season I will take away my memory of the Wrexham game. What a day and if anyone wants a New Year boost just google the You Tube video of the last few minutes. While you're about it, check out Wrexham's disallowed goal against Kidderminster which is a classic.

Happy New Year to all Exiles. Clear your diaries for January 21st, drag along a mate or two, and Keep the Faith in 2014. To paraphrase the late, great Harry Mac..at worst it will be brilliant.

Adrian Lee