RAINWORTH MW manager Kevin Gee has apologised to the Wrens’ fans following their dismal second half collapse against Hucknall Town in the New Year Evo-Stik NPL Division One South local derby.
Gee held his fire after the final whistle and allowed himself 24 hours to reflect before making any comment on the defeat.
But having had time to reflect, he said: “They say that time is a great healer, and I think having had 24 hours to reflect on the disappointment of that performance I certainly have a better insight.
“It’s easy to give a knee jerk reaction immediately after the game when you are quite emotional and say things that you may later regret.
“But having said that I’m still having nightmares about that show.
“The last three games against Stamford, Carlton and Hucknall have, I guess, highlighted all the emotions that you underego as a football manager.
“The first one, when all the squad performed to their potential, took on all the responsibilities given, and achieved a fantastic result, puts smiles on faces and the expectancy level goes up.
“Although disappointed at how we ended the Carlton game I was prou,d especially defensively, at how we dug deep for a good point, and with that the expectations rise again. again.
“Then came the New Year horror show against another top eight side who are going through a transitional period themselves while still retaining a top eight position.
“ For 58 minutes, although I was disappointed how we retained the ball and made poor decisions, I didn’t feel we were going to win the game, but didn’t think we’d lose it either.
“The first goal was a horror story in terms of basic defending with two defenders going for the same ball which then gave them the momentum, and to be fair we then caved in for the last 30 minutes and the smiles turned to relegation worries again.
“I’m a realist and won’t change my mind set of splitting the 25 games since taking over into blocks of five with two wins required from each block to achieve and retain our membership.
“Three wins out of the first five was a success, and one win, two draws and a defeat means a positive result on Saturday at Kidsgrove will achieve our target in the second block of five games. But this will go to the wire and I’m sure seven or eight teams could end up in the bottom two.
“We do not become a good side overnight and we don’t become a bad one either, but the buck will always stop with me and I take full responsibility for the performance against Hucknall. I pick the team and organise how we are going to play.
“I must therefore take the all the blame. I will shelter all the players from any responsibility - the result is down to me. If someone lets me down once it is their fault, if they let me down twice then it’s mine.
We have 16 games to go and we still need to achieve five more wins, which we are more than capable of doing.
“I for one am glad the festive period is over and the hard work starts all over again after the disruptions . Yes, we have a small squad which puts a strain on things with the pitches getting heavier and in an ideal world would like to strengthen, but that’s how it is for most of the bottom half clubs. However, I trust the current squad of players and believe with the togetherness we have and discipline and hard work we will survive.
“As for the fans that came I can only apologise for the second half performance and hope that they continue to show their support for the players and direct all their frustrations at me only.
“I’m thick-skinned enough to take the abuse but the younger players in the group need support when they put performances in like that.
“At the end of the day we only effectively lost a point as eve in the first half we didn’t really create much, so I never thought we’d actually win the game
“We now move on to the next challenge on Saturday at Kidsgrove. We will train hard on Thursday and prepare as we always do.”
Kidsgrove leapfrogged the Wrens on Monday with a 1-0 win at Leek Town, and they also have a couple of games in hand, so it is vital that Rainworth take something from this game if the Staffordshire side are not to be allowed to go out of their sight.
With remaining games in January at home to league leaders Grantham and then at bottom markers Shepshed, it promises to be a defining month in the Wrens’ aspirations to haul themselves well clear of the drop zone.