Bold choices come under fire even if boss knows best
AS soon as Saturday's team became public knowledge at 2pm only a convincing victory over Brighton and Hove Albion would have justified the selection to some fans
But, as it turned out, a drab draw with the Seagulls only served to further fuel the fire of an already heated debate on the omission of several key figures.
Luke Ayling, dropped to the bench at Middlesbrough as Gary Johnson aimed to rest him after being captain just weeks ago, was missing again.
Sam Foley - a key component of the Glovers' play-off winning season but limited to just two appearances this campaign - was out of the squad entirely.
As was Paddy Madden, arguably the highest profile omission of them all. Yet to score this season after a prolific start to his Yeovil career, supporters early to arrive at Huish Park were flabbergasted to see him heading in the opposite direction before kick-off.
In Sam Hoskins and James Hayter, Johnson said he plumped for a strike force that he believed to be the most likely to score and most confident to prosper in the final third.
Johnson also believed that his side would be better placed with Joe Edwards at right back ahead of Ayling and new signing Fraser Fyvie in central midfield alongside Ed Upson.
As it transpired, Fyvie's first half injury meant Ayling was called upon far earlier than expected and he played approximately an hour.
We have to respect the manager's decision, as well as his choices. He is the one best-placed to pick who he believes will be best to beat the opposition.
But unfortunately his choices on Saturday contributed to an uncomfortable atmosphere at Huish Park that showed the novelty of Sky Bet Championship football had well and truly worn off.
The 6,873 was amongst the lowest attendance of the season to date, with less than 5,000 Yeovil fans heading to Huish Park as their disappointing run of results continued.
As Christmas nears and the Glovers continue to struggle for points, such a drop in crowds is entirely understandable.
After all, a supporter who has maybe only picked and chosen games so far this season isn't necessarily going to be convinced to attend on results alone, having failed to experience some of the performances.
The Yeovil faithful has by no means turned on their heroic and adored management trio – their achievements in the past 12 months alone make such an act foolish.
However, for arguably the first time since propelling the club on their stellar climb to the second tier of English football Johnson had to shoulder the beginnings of a supporter backlash.
Wondering why their former Cheltenham Town favourite was not in the squad, the Thatchers Gold Stand chanted Sam Foley's name.
And when Ayling warmed up in front of the AgustaWestland Stand a normally relatively conservative section of fans were quick to give the defender a warm welcome.
Questions are being asked of the manager's team selection by both us in the media and now those on the terraces.
Johnson's reasoning behind Saturday's changes have already been well-documented and even mentioned in this column, yet still the debate rages on.
A boss of Johnson's experience has been here and seen it all before, whilst his coaching team will no doubt join him in appreciating fans' concern but know they have to back their decisions.
They are the ones on the training ground every day, they are the ones working with the players every kick, header and tackle along the way and they are the ones tasked with selecting the squad they believe will be best to earn points.
Much of what takes place on that training ground will remain there, Johnson preferring to comment on the positives and the players that have impressed him the most, rather than those the least.
Supporters have demanded greater transparency and it's easy to see why when three crucial figures in the historic 2012-13 campaign appear to have fallen out of favour with results showing no sign of improving.
A point against Brighton and Hove Albion should not be sniffed at, even if another possible missed opportunity sees them drop to the foot of the table.
Johnson, Terry Skiverton and Darren Way know exactly the magnitude of the task ahead of them and statements from the boss suggesting changes in January echo that acceptance.
But just for now, the trio have to work with what they have in front of them and be backed to pick the team, even if some want more when it comes to the manager's justification.