Stone happy to see the back of a difficult year

Leigh Shadbolt, right, on the ball for Fareham against Cowes Sports. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Leigh Shadbolt, right, on the ball for Fareham against Cowes Sports. Picture: Habibur Rahman
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FAREHAM TOWN manager Steve Stone will be glad to bring the curtain down on what has been a difficult year with Lymington Town’s visit to Cams Alders tomorrow (3pm).

The Reds don’t play again after that until the new year.

And the Christmas break will provide the manager with some much needed breathing space.

His team are just one point above the relegation zone after a traumatic first half of their Wessex League premier division campaign.

‘Hopefully the break will give us a chance to recharge our batteries,’ said Stone.

‘In normal circumstances I should have been sacked by now but who in their right mind would want to take over.

‘We have 18 games left and it is a case of digging in.

‘I will keep trying to get players in but it isn’t easy.

‘We can certainly do with some defenders because our backline has been decimated.

‘There isn’t a lot we can offer them and I need experienced players who can hit the ground running.

‘Until we can get players on the training ground on a regular basis it makes it impossible to work on the pattern and shape of the side.’

Stone understands the difficulty the players have when they are struggling to make training or play in midweek matches due to other commitments.

He added: ‘You can’t blame the players.

‘A lot of them are so young they have to rely on their parents for transport.

‘And a number of them also have jobs in midweek which makes it impossible for them to train or even play sometimes.

‘The jobs have to come first because we have no money to offer them.

‘We have lost a few players who have gone to clubs who can offer them a lot more.

‘Lymington will be another tough test for us because we are having to play people out of position.’

The 2-2 home draw against relegation rivals Cowes Sports was the latest setback in Fareham’s bid to survive.

Stone felt it was a game his team should have won even though they were forced to play four midfield players at the back.

His team led twice before being pegged back in controversial fashion.

‘The second Cowes goal was so far offside the players didn’t even appeal for it,’ said Stone.

‘That is the sort of thing that happens to you when you are struggling.

‘In our situation it has such massive psychological repercussions and makes it difficult for the players to respond.

‘They start to feel the whole world is against them.

‘It was a shame because we did enough to win it.

‘After taking the lead in the first half we had further chances to extend the lead.

‘We had another effort cleared off the line in the second half.’

Stone is hoping the new year will bring a change of fortune and more support in his bid to keep the Reds up.