If you are a Darlo fan and you aren’t already thinking about relegation the time to start is now. While the majority of fans will have been at this stage long before this weekend’s match, anyone who wasn’t worried about relegation before will be.
Despite our struggles over recent months, we have never been this close to the drop zone. Our latest defeat leaves us outside the bottom three only on goal difference, with third bottom Gainsborough having a game in hand over us.
While there were positives to take once again the time of taking positives is over. We can keep taking positives from games, but if the results don’t turn around it won’t mean anything.
Yesterday pretty much summed up the Tommy Wright era so far, no lack of effort from the majority, one good half, but one bad half with a string of individual errors.
The game was another frustrating one. Without dominating we more than held our own in the first half and deservedly went ahead at half time. Apart from Parkin’s strike, which was ruled out for offside, we rarely looked threatened at the back. At the other end, Reece Styche again showed why he has everything in his locker to be one of the best strikers at this level with a brilliant goal.
What happened after the break was unacceptable. Within 50 seconds of the kick off, York were level after three or four players made simple mistakes. Just minutes later we were again caught from one of our set plays at the other end of the pitch. Not just under Tommy Wright, but under Gray as well over the last couple of seasons, I have never known a team to get caught out so often short numbers wise on the counter. Regardless of how easily their player went down for the penalty, it was our error that led to him being clean through.
York, who have one of the biggest playing budgets in the league, didn’t carve us open for either goal but we gifted them two goals.
I have nothing wrong with the team we started off with but after conversations on Twitter last night our fans seemed divided on what formation we went with. Personally, I saw it as a 4-4-2, others 3-4-3. Either way, if it isn’t clear from the stands what formation we are trying to play it isn’t a good sign.
My other gripe from yesterday was the substitutions. Only one was made which was forced on us through injury. The second half we never really looked like getting back into the game, we had a lot of dangerous set pieces but didn’t create a lot. The game was crying out for something else to be tried, while Scott and Turnbull aren’t necessarily forward thinking players, Gillies and Caton are. What harm could it have done throwing at least one on?
Since Tommy took over we have on the whole had tough fixtures, only Gainsborough have been in the bottom half of the table, although the less said about that game the better.
We play Salford on Wednesday but also this month we have trips to Alfreton and Leamington which are looking like must win games already. Sandwiched in between we play Chorley, while February brings no let up with all four games being against sides currently in the playoffs.
At some point in this run of games, we need to turn things around, if not we could be dead and buried by the start of March.
I will, as most fans will, go to Blackwell Meadows on Wednesday expecting to not get anything from our fixture with Salford and anything we do get is a bonus. It doesn’t really matter given our form but now is the best time this season to be playing Salford, no wins in four.
I just hope a plan is in place if we do end up back in the Evo-Stik next season.