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Off the field situation still holds centre stage

By West Briton  |  Posted: November 01, 2012

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Truro City 1 Sutton Utd 2

HOPEULLY, in the not too distant future, match day at Treyew Road will be all about the football.

But until the club's long term future has been secured – and the club's new backers have made a highly impressive start in that direction – then off the field matters will continue to dominate.

And Saturday's disappointing defeat was no exception, as a City side, who only had one substitute, conceded a late goal against the visitors, who finished the match with just ten men after the sending off of skipper Jamie Stuart for a "professional" foul.

Deflated City boss Lee Hodges could not hide his disappointment at the club's latest reverse, when he spoke to me after the game and there were fears that he would call it a day, and no one could fairly have blamed him.

With the club in administration and under a continuing transfer embargo, he is unable to bring in players and only had 12 fit players available against Sutton.


And with goalscorer Andy Watkins having already had to go off with a hamstring problem and only sub Danny Carne having taken his place, City were unable to take advantage of Stuart's red card as both sides finished with ten men.

But much to the relief of City fans, on Monday Hodges ended speculation about his future by confirming that he was going to stay on as the club's manager.

He has been buoyed by the work already of Peter and Jason Masters and Philip Perryman in getting to grips with the club's financial problems.

Hodges said: "They are doing a brilliant job, but my job is to try and get a winning team on the pitch and at the moment we are operating under an unfair advantage. It is so frustrating. The players could not have given any more on Saturday."

City skipper Jake Ash has also issued a statement giving the squad's full support for the club's new backers after the players met with them on Saturday evening

He said: "Everyone at the ground would have felt the buzz around the place on Saturday. As many of the regulars no doubt did, we couldn't believe how much work had been put in to making the place a bit tidier.

"I know they won't appreciate me for saying this, but this was due not only to the incredible generosity of people giving their time but also to Messrs Masters and Perryman for putting their hands in their pockets, again, to make it a better experience for every one coming to Treyew Road.

"We have made it very clear to the administrators that we fully support Mr Masters and Mr Perryman's bid to take over the club. They have outlined to us their passion, their ideas and their desire to make this club a really positive part of the community.

"They have told us their commitment in trying to keep this squad together and their intent to inherit our contracts and fulfil them and also a desire to remunerate, to some degree, previously unpaid wages.

"But perhaps most importantly, we felt as a group they have the best intentions for this football club, and that they have highlighted 'stability' is key to the future.

"We are sure that, like with all football clubs, there might be some bumps along the road but we feel confident that if they are allowed to take the club on, that as a collective group – fans, players, staff and with their management – we can overcome them.

"What has also been made clear is that they hope to conclude the deal as quickly as possible, and then it is very much all eyes on the pitch, as opposed to off it. This is only my understanding, but we are led to believe the transfer embargo would be lifted once the CVA is in place.

"Thus, I suspect should the sale complete then the CVA will be the immediate priority and in turn the embargo lifted.

"I know everyone, none more so than us, were frustrated about the slightly shambolic situation of not being able to bring on a substitute on Saturday and foregoing our man advantage."

In the game itself, City got off to a flying start when Andy Watkins gave them a fourth minute with a terrific finish from a difficult angle after being played in by Joe Broad's quickly-taken free-kick

City though showed their all too common defensive frailties, allowing Simon Downer to level soon afterwards with a well struck drive which went in off the post.

City then had a major let off just before half time when theSurrey side missed a penalty as Gareth Gwillim's spot kick thundered against the post, after Ben Williams had been penalised for a handball.

In difficult, windy conditions there was little between the sides in the second period but Truro looked to have gained an advantage when Stuart was red carded with 13 minutes left, after hauling back Watkins who would have been clear on goal.

But Watkins himself soon had to go off with a hamstring problem and with City already having used their only sub their advantage was gone.

And to rub salt into the City's wound, four minutes from time Sutton striker Stefan Payne jinked his way into the box and slammed a low drive into the corner to clinch the points for the visitors.

There was no joy for City at Farnborough on Tuesday evening where they lost 4-1.

Trailing 2-0 at half time, Marcus Martin netted from the edge of the box after 72 minutes to get them back into the match before two late Farnborough goals clinched victory for the Hampshire side, who City also travel to play in the FA Trophy on Saturday week.

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