EASTWOOD Town manager John Ramshaw witnessed two more demoralising home defeats this week and simply declared afterwards: “We’re relegated.”
The Badgers are now 13 points from safety with just nine games remaining following a 3-0 loss to Hinckley on Saturday and the 4-2 reverse against Vauxhall Motors on Tuesday night.
And having only a week ago been enthused by a stunning win at promotion-chasers Guiseley, Ramshaw was this time left upset by the collapse of any remaining hopes that safety could be achieved.
He said: “I’m angry and hurt. At half-time against Vauxhall I wrote on the board the time and date of their third goal and told the players that was the moment they got this club relegated.
“It’s more than just that match of course, but the fact is our league position is true given the budget we have and the squad, despite initially seeming to be getting what’s required at this level, suddenly seem to have lost that understanding.
“But we can’t dress it up anymore. We’re going down having been thrown to the wolves and eaten up.”
Tuesday’s performance in particular frustrated Ramshaw, Eastwood having gone ahead only to be pegged back by three quick goals – two of them crosses into the penalty area which went straight in the net.
“The goals were gimmes, all of them. Sam Andrew has put his hands up for a couple of them but to be fair to him he’s only 19 and hasn’t done a lot wrong since coming here,” said Ramshaw.
“We defended like schoolboys and were punished by a side who are struggling themselves.
“After the Guiseley game I honestly felt we had a chance of getting seven points from these three games (including Blyth on Saturday) but we’re nowhere near that.”
Ramshaw (pictured) cited his squad’s lack of experience as a key problem in the battle for survival, but with his hands tied due to the extreme financial constraints at the club, could offer little in the way of solutions to that problem.
He said: “Against Vauxhall the youth shone through in that it was a team of academy players, given the level most of our squad have been playing at, against a team of seasoned and hungry professionals who may be struggling but still showed maturity.
“We’ve been stifled by the budget constraints and have had a high turnover of players because it’s hard to either keep hold of them or even pay some of them for every game.
“We sometimes have to pick and choose a squad based on what cash is available that week.
“So we were relying on spirit and belief carrying us through but it seems we don’t have enough of that, let alone it making up for the lack of quality.”
Looking ahead, Ramshaw said he wouldn’t be walking away from the situation but that it could be a very difficult period for the club whatever division they’re in next season.
“The budget we have now would be one of the smallest even in the division below us and it could be we’re having to plan for next season with even less money than at the moment,” he said.
“But I’m not going to walk away from it as I care for the club and if I did go then I’ve no idea who would want to take the job on.
“We’ll go up to Blyth and try and right some of the wrongs from the last couple of games but really we’re now just playing for what pride is left.”
Following Saturday’s visit to the north-east, Eastwood have a Nottinghamshire Senior Cup quarter-final at Hucknall Town next Wednesday night.
Kick-off for that match is 7.45pm.
Harrogate Town then visit Coronation Park on Saturday, March 17 before Gainsbrorough Trinity host the Badgers on March 24.