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Winless start to the season continues...
Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Alfreton means it’s now ten games without a win for Steve Burr’s men, and no matter how much you try and sugar coat it, it simply isn’t good enough.
If someone had said to me before the season began that we would be in our current situation I would have probably laughed and not given them the time of day. I genuinely thought it was going to be our year.
However, we must face up to the fact things probably won’t pan out how we had hoped at the beginning of August. The fact of the matter is simple – we are in a bit of predicament and we are the only ones who can dig ourselves out of it.
You can look at it and say we’ve gone five games unbeaten, but there comes a point when little positives can no longer be used to cover up what has been a disastrous start to the season.
In terms of points, the gap between us and those above is getting bigger each week, and if this continues we’ll end up finding ourselves in a relegation scrap.
Who knows, we may just go on to win the next five matches after losing the first five and drawing the following five. Stranger things have happened in football.
It would appear that going so long without tasting victory is starting to affect the players on the pitch, and there is now a sense of growing anxiety in the stands. Everyone connected with the club is desperate for that first win.
Trying to play your natural game while knowing you’re yet to record a league win must be difficult for the players. Pressure always starts to build when you go on a bad run as everything suddenly becomes over analysed.
The impact of such pressure is different depending on the individual. For example, some players may become more conservative on the pitch, playing safe and not taking any chances. Meanwhile, others may see it as a challenge and therefore start to take on greater responsibility, grabbing each game by the scruff of the neck.
Research has shown that players can forget what winning is like and therefore begin to adopt a negative “here we go again…” mentality, thinking the worse whenever they concede a goal or something goes against them.
The role of momentum in football, or any sport for that matter, cannot be underestimated. Negative momentum can be just as powerful as positive momentum.
Harriers just need to think positively and rediscover that winning formula. If they do, then finishing in the play-offs is not inconceivable, in my opinion – but they must do so soon.
For instance, that run of one defeat in 20 games between January and April in the 2010/11 season shows just what can be achieved on the back of positive momentum. It helped the club to a sixth place finish, just six points outside the play-offs, despite what was an indifferent first half of the campaign.
Hopefully the trip to Cambridge on Tuesday will be the turning point. The U’s are currently in 18th position and haven’t won a league match since a 2-0 victory over Southport on August 18th.
They’ve conceded 21 goals so far this season, compared to our 13, so their defence is vulnerable. I’d like to see us go there and take the game to them. It’s time to be positive, get the ball of the deck and remember just what we’re capable of.
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