Tiverton players' confidence is shot following another defeat
TIVERTON Town's players' confidence has been shot to pieces according manager Mark Saunders, after he watched his side fall to their sixth defeat in 10 games on Saturday.
The 2-0 defeat to Wimborne also extended Tiverton's winless streak to 10 games and dropped the club to ninth in the table, three points behind the play-off places.
"It should have been six or seven again," said a disappointed Saunders.
"It is getting beyond a joke. You try and find a solution, you change the formation, you make changes to the team, but we still had the same result.
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"You would not think you were looking at the same crop of lads who were doing ever so well in the first four months of the season.
"I don't know what it is, their confidence has been shot to pieces.
"I keep harping on about that first four months of the season when we played some nice, free-flowing football but at the moment we can't seem to pass water let alone pass to each other.
"It is embarrassing at times. They are trying, the effort is there, but nothing is happening whatsoever. If it wasn't for Chris Wright (the goalkeeper) and Tom Gardner at the back, who was outstanding, the scoreline might have been a lot, lot worse than it was."
Wimborne, who themselves are in the promotion-chasing pack, started the better of the two teams but it was Tivvy who went close to opening the scoring early on when Lewis Tasker hit a 25-yard free-kick, forcing Wimborne keeper Jason Harvell to make a good save.
Wimborne then took the lead in the 17th minute when Jamie Davidson intercepted a pass from Adam Faux and was bundled over in the penalty box by Andy Taylor, allowing Micky Hubbard to score from the spot.
However, Saunders was left angered by the decision not to award his side a free-kick for offside in the lead up to the goal.
"The ball has been played into our box and Tom Gardner headed it as one of their players is offside," he said.
"The linesman put his flag up just as Tom is about to head it clear and it has fallen straight to their lad, he has put the flag down and the referee has played on and they have knocked it out wide, cut inside and got a penalty.
"There is no advantage to us. If the ball had been headed out and gone straight to one of our players then fair enough, but it has gone straight to one of theirs.
"But having said that, that isn't why we lost the game, that one decision the linesman made, because we poor from start to finish."
Wimborne had a chance to to extend their lead before half-time as Tom Jeffes hit a shot against the base of the Tiverton post. At the other end, Gardner fired just wide and Michael Nardielllo tested Harvell with another shot just after the break.
But from then on Wimborne took over. Alex Moth had a shot deflected onto the crossbar, while Davidson had a shot cleared off the line.
Wright then produced a good save to deny Moth once more before Wimborne grabbed a deserved second goal with 80 minutes gone.
Moth picked the ball up outside the box and hit a ferocious shot that Wright got a hand to but could not prevent from nestling in the back of the net.
After the match Saunders admitted he did not give the players a rollicking.
"We have been there and done that over the last few weeks," said Saunders.
"It was a case of sitting down and having a chat and asking them where we think we are going wrong because at the end of the day we are all in it as a collective.
"We are trying different things, we are changing it around, but it is still the same, the end result is poor.
"They are not passing to each other. I don't think we strung three passes to each other all game apart from early in the second half when we won a corner out of it.
"The effort is there, but we have got some players in the side and young lads who are confidence players and their confidence is shot at the moment. It is absolutely gone.
"So it is not about rollicking them anymore it is about putting an arm around them and trying to make them aware that it will be all right.
"They won't chuck the towel in. We have come a long way this season.
"You have only got to look at where we are in the table. Okay we might have slipped a little on Saturday, but we have gone 10 games without a win now. That is six defeats and four draws.
"Four points out of 30 is relegation material, but then you have got to look at how well they did in the first half of the season when it took them to the top position and rightly so on the way they were playing.
"The way they are playing now they would deserve to be bottom, but luckily for us we had such a good start to the season we have got all those points on board and we are still in touching distance of the play-offs.
"We have done it and put a run together. So hopefully we can come out of the other end of this bad run and start turning those draws into wins and those defeats into draws.
"If we can do that then hopefully we can go and get a run of results together to cement a play-off place, but it would have to be something special."