Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Paying The Price For Hayes?

I suggested a couple of weeks ago in my leader column that Dean Saunders, in being absent for the Hayes match, had damaged the relationship between him and the supporters, who are uneasy at the thought of a manager who doesn't hold his club as his only priority. Looking at the reaction to the game last night, I'd say that damage was evident after the Forest Green game.

Fans at the game were angry, although Wes Baynes' late goal took the sting out of their protests at the final whistle; on Red Passion they were furious, demanding Saunders ought to go. I'd argue that this reaction is an manifestation of how upset the supporters were three weeks ago.

Yes, the performance was poor yesterday; Forest Green looked to be a very poor side, and in the first half we certainly couldn't claim to be any better than them; we created nothing. We imposed ourselves upon them after the break, but without a great deal of quality, and needed a daft foul by a player who ought to have been sent off already to win the game in the 89th minute. However, I'm not sure that the game in itself would warrant such an outpouring of anger.

Look at it in context. Since we lost to Hayes we've drawn at Histon, a performance which has divided fans when measuring its merits, and put in two good performances without getting the reward we deserved. You really couldn't complain about the way we played against Kidderminster or Swindon, so yesterday was the first chance the hard core of home fans, and let's be honest, that's what we're down to right now, to vent their anger at Saunders since the Hayes debacle.

I'm struggling to think of a worse game of football I've ever seen than yesterday's first half, but if you take in the bigger picture, I suspect the vitriol aimed at Saunders was a little harsh. After all, we'd just put in two good performances (maybe three) in a row, and he did act decisively at half time yesterday, throwing on two subs and switching to 4-3-1-2 in a move which brought about an improvement and, ultimately, three points.

Yet damage was done against Hayes, and yesterday was a chance to express that.

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