Despite a tumultuous campaign, joint manager Matt Hayden is harbouring hope of some light at the end of the tunnel for his Bodmin Town side, writes Tom Howe.
Hayden, part of a Bodmin management team that also includes Darren Gilbert and Alan Carey, watched on as Town failed to take advantage of a bright start in a 2-1 loss at St Austell on Saturday.
The game remained goalless until the hour mark when two moments of magic from Matt Searle, who scored once and set up another for Rory Jarvis, left the visitors trailing by two.
Golden boot chaser Dan Jennings managed to pull one back with 20 minutes to play but, try as they might, Bodmin were unable to break down a resolute St Austell side who were ultimately good value for the three points.
“We started the game really well, seemed organised and everything seemed to be going to plan,” recalled Hayden. “As we got toward half-time we started dying off and St Austell started perking up. I always knew, coming back out after half-time, it was going to be difficult because the boys had got themselves nice and warm.
“St Austell came out flying though. They were well drilled, knew their style of play and I think that we got out worked slightly. Not only that, there were a couple of errors which killed us if I’m honest. Overall, [our performance] was probably better than in previous games but we are still not quite good enough.
“Before I came in, the team lost a lot of players to higher leagues and that makes things difficult. I came in and we won three on the bounce. We were in a good run of form but two or three other players moved on to higher leagues and, all of a sudden, we are struggling squad wise. We started to get a bit of consistency but are now having to fill gaps here and there.
“We have bought in young players who want to test themselves at our level. They have got a lot of potential but are not quite experienced enough to take the shirt every week because they still have a lot to learn. When they get older they will be phenomenal and probably outgrow this league as well but, at the moment, they are not established or mature enough.”
The five-time South West Peninsula League champions have taken just three of the 18 points available to them so far this calendar year but there are signs that the tide is slowly beginning to turn, with Hayden targeting a morale-boosting win at fellow strugglers Penzance this Saturday.
“When I came in, the squad weren’t fit enough,” continued the former St Blazey and Callington Town boss.
“That was mainly down to themselves. I have come in to give them a boot up the ass and, although the fitness is coming, we have been struggling in the second-half of games. As I said, the inconsistency of the squad doesn’t help either.
“You can see, week by week, that things are starting to get better. No disrespect to Penzance but we have got them on Saturday and are seriously looking to get three points. That’s a game we are looking to make sure we get something out of.
“Hopefully we can get a good run of form together before we play the likes of St Blazey and Dobwalls. I’ve said plenty of times before that there are no easy games in this league but you can pinpoint games you feel you could get points out of and others in which you may have to shut up shop and try and scrape through.”
[Featured image: Matt Friday / Cornwall Sports Media]