Patience key to manager's message to anxious support
IN a weekend where Yeovil Town's wait for a third goal of the season extended beyond three hours manager Gary Johnson was quick to emphasise one word to anxious fans – patience.
More than 7,000 supporters witnessed for the first time since promotion the Glovers get genuinely outplayed to devastating effect.
For the first time, they were punished by a better team, an ultimately ineffective change in tactics exposed by a mightily impressive and fluid Derby County midfield.
A second half with a more dynamic front pairing and more familiar 4-4-2 certainly brought better from Yeovil – and with it reassurance and hope – but sadly it was to prove too little too late.
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Not for the first time in a matter of days, Johnson was forced to adopt a defiant stance with the media as they, as they are entitled to do, presented the fears and concerns of supporters. The social networks had already gone into meltdown at the end of the week following the surprise return of Andy Williams on loan from Swindon Town.
Despite initially playing away the link with a bat so straight that even former England cricketer Chris Tavare would have been envious, Friday's confirmation of the poorly-kept secret prompted a sharp response from Johnson.
Williams' departure, despite being a perfectly understandable career move, left a sour taste with some and his return 14 months later split opinion between polar opposites perfectly down the middle.
Johnson, a master of liaising with the fans that idolise his every move, was clearly informed of this divide, issuing a statement expressing his disappointment at a minority's plans to boo.
The manager again needed to be on form following Saturday's final whistle as supporters filled message boards and radio telephone lines with disgruntled opinions on yet another blank afternoon and that abject first half.
Liverpool loanee Michael Ngoo was a particular target of angst, his languid first half performance resulting in a half time substitution after struggling, to say the least, as a lone front man.
However, Johnson asked fans to be patient, to allow him to judge the players first and trust him and his management team to build a group of competitive players.
Johnson's desire for patience carries considerable credence, especially considering the testing fixture schedule of the opening six weeks or so.
But supporters' concern is understandable, we all want the Glovers to punch their weight against the odds and prove the critics wrong.
However, Millwall on the opening day seems a distant memory and a Glovers' side lacking goal threat is an unfamiliar sight.
Johnson said regularly in pre-season that he wanted his team to compete and maybe now the club is finding that adapting to the new standard is taking longer than anticipated.
The boss suggested he could move again in the transfer market before the window shuts and in some respects continuity could benefit Yeovil.
The management team will no doubt construct a group that is capable of at the very least surviving.
Last season's stunning achievements were built with a consistent nucleus of players and the half time alterations against Derby only bring into focus just how changing from the proven formula might not be the best for the Glovers.
One goal and one point will go a long way to put minds at ease and the Glovers are very much a work in progress.
Three defeats on the trot is bound to frustrate but defeat to Derby was the first where genuine questions were asked of both Yeovil's quality and character, rather than just the latter. Changes will be made, lessons will be learned and, following an encouraging second half on Saturday, fans should have faith in fortunes being reversed.