Mark Saunders: I left so Tiverton has time to find new man
MARK Saunders says he and Hedley Steele left Tiverton Town in order to give the club enough time to find a replacement while they are not threatened by relegation.
Saunders and Steele – who took up the managerial reins in November 2010 following Chris Vinnicombe's departure – stepped down in the immediate aftermath of Tuesday's 2-1 home defeat to North Leigh.
That result means the club have now gone 18 games in all competitions without a win, with 16 of those coming in the league to set a new club record.
And Saunders admitted that something had to change following the club's poor run of form.
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"At the end of the day that is 18 games without a win and that is football – something has to change," said Saunders.
"Me leaving will hopefully give the club enough time to find someone else, get them in and get to know the players without promotion or the threat of relegation.
"I have just run out of things to say to the lads and, after 18 games and the run we have had, something has got to give.
"I think I am still in shock and the lads are still in shock because it is the same group of players who were at the top of the table around Christmas, so I don't know why we have been playing so badly.
"I think there are a lot of confident players at the club and when we were winning confidence was high but now we aren't heads have dropped."
The Yellows' poor run is in sharp contract to their early-season form, which saw them top the table around Christmas.
But Tuesday's defeat – which came despite Michael Nardiello's first-half strike when the were already 2-0 down – proved to be the final straw.
Saunders now says he wants to return to playing, and insists he would have no trouble turning out for the Yellows should they want him.
"Do you know what? I would have no trouble whatsoever playing for them if they wanted me," he said.
"I know they have a backlog of games and I would happily step in. I just want to concentrate on enjoying playing again."
Tivvy also lost on Saturday to Swindon Supermarine to extend their winless run.
Goals in either half from Chris Taylor and Ashley Edenborough gave the visitors a deserved victory.
And the margin of defeat could have been greater but for an inspired performance from goalkeeper Chris Wright, who saved a penalty before pulling off a string of superb blocks in a first half Swindon dominated.
Tivvy rallied in the second half and pushed hard for a leveller in an increasingly niggily and ill-tempered match, but the victory was no less than a talented and savvy Supermarine side deserved.
Meanwhile, former striker Pearse says a lack of regular first-team football was behind his decision to leave Ladysmead.
The industrious frontman was signed by Tiverton Town in October, but with players returning from injury, opportunities for the former Bideford forward became limited.
Pearse concedes his form has not been the best since arriving at Ladysmead, but says a lack of regular football was to blame.
"I suppose it comes down to not getting enough games and regular football really – that is all it comes down to and nothing else," said Pearse, who netted two league goals during his spell at Tivvy. "There are a lot of players at Tiverton Town and four strikers and everyone wants to play.
"I haven't been playing my best and a lot of that comes down to not playing regularly and holding down a place in the team.
"I was really looking forward to playing when I signed for the club and it hasn't worked out that way but it is just one of those things."