MANAGER John Ramshaw says Eastwood Town are gradually moving in the right direction as they put a turbulent 2011 to bed.
A year that began with hope and optimism before eventually descending into farce ended with a 4-2 defeat at Boston United on Boxing Day, a match which saw the Badgers squander a two-goal lead.
But Ramshaw says his side deserved better from an encounter that saw them create a number of excellent opportunities, ultimately losing the game due to a combination of conceding sloppy goals and finding Boston’s goalkeeper in fine form.
He said: “There are quite a few positives to take from the game. I felt the spine of the team was much more solid, though I was disappointed with the goalkeeping on the majority of the goals and that’s cost us dear.
“I also felt we struggled in the wide positions which is something I’ll be looking to rectify in the next game.
“We got off to a flyer and missed a great chance to make it 3-0 when their keeper Paul Bastock made a world-class save to deny Mitch Hanson. Had he scored it was probably game over.
“We then let in another long-range goal and then a dreadful one from a corner, and that saw some doubt creep in. Despite some encouragement at the break and more good opportunities throughout the rest of the game, two more bad goals have been so costly.
“I think we’ve certainly got more goals in us now, and a change in goal as well as some new defenders could prove important.”
Goalkeeper James Severn will now return to Derby County as his loan spell has ended, with Ramshaw expecting Ian Deakin to have signed in time for the second of the matches agaisnt Boston on New Year’s Day.
Ramshaw has also told Alex Troke, Sam Benjamin, Jason Bradley and Steve Istead they can leave the club as he tries to cut down the large wage bill.
He said: “I’ve told those players they don’t feature in my plans. I got responses revolving around ‘speak to my agent’ and ‘I need the money’, but I don’t deal with agents so I’ve circulated their names around.
“I’ve got players who want to come in who I trust and who have Eastwood Town’s best interests at heart and that’s what this club needs.
“It’s all had to be done bit by bit as there simply wasn’t the money around to make widespread changes quickly, but I’m getting happier with the squad as days go by.”
Striker Francis Green has signed until the end of the season, while midfielder Kallum Keane has arrived on a non-contract basis. Both played at Boston on Boxing Day.
Ramshaw is also keen for the fans to get behind the side as they continue to fight relegation.
Attendances have dropped in recent months as the troubles on and off the field have increased, but Ramshaw urged fans to show their support for the work being done.
He said: “People have voted with their feet and you can understand that to a degree, but I’d like to see them support not only the players but also the likes of owner Steve Lynch who is working very, very hard to gradually clear the debts left by the last regime.
“On the pitch there’s a bit of a crisis of confidence at the moment and we need to get back into the habit of winning.
“Sunday should provide a good atmosphere as Boston are very well-supported and it would be great to see a strong turnout from the local area too.
“Our performance on Boxing Day showed we’re capable of beating them, and with the changes I’m planning on making I think it’s more than possible.”