Holdsworth: It's my toughest spell as managerBy Jon Couch
October 09, 2012
UNDER-FIRE Dean Holdsworth has urged the players, staff and fans of Aldershot Town to stick together after a woeful display and a fourth straight defeat led to a chorus of boos echoing round the EBB Stadium on Saturday.
Holdsworth and a number of his players came under fierce criticism from large sections of disillusioned fans after a 1-0 loss against Chesterfield, as the club found itself languishing in a relegation zone for the first time in its short history.
Chris Atkinson's strike 15 minutes from time ensured the Shots slumped to a fourth defeat from their opening six matches at home so far this season in League Two, with Holdsworth's men only having found the net twice in that time.
It is a dreadful run of form which has also contributed to a worrying 25% drop in attendances at the EBB Stadium, heaping pressure on all quarters both on and off the field to turn things around swiftly.
Holdsworth, for one, admitted he was going through the toughest spell of his fledgling managerial career so far, and also accepted that a change in his team's style of play may be required if the Shots are to recover from their recent slump and start climbing the table again.
"It's not a nice feeling and the frustration is there for everybody," the former Bolton and Wimbledon striker explained.
"It's not an individual thing, it's about us collectively, we have to take responsibility as a group.
"I've not been in this position as a manager before and you can only really reflect on your career. It's going to take guts and character to get us out of this.
"It's tougher than during last season's low because of the expectancy. What we can reflect on is that the players came out of that last year and we will do it again.
"We had players performing to their highest levels last year and I thought we would build on that. We need leaders now and the lads need the manager to be stronger with them and I will. We will come through this."
He went on: "I've got to look at changing our style of play because at the moment the areas where we are losing the ball is where we are trying to pass through, so maybe we have to change that.
"We want to play football and we want to do it in the right way but at the moment we are getting punished."
Holdsworth, however, has also deflected some of the blame from his under-performing players and has revealed that a lack of finances is preventing him from freshening up the squad.
"The fans are frustrated and that's natural," he added. "We are all in this together and no-one will work harder than me.
"We have to get the players' confidence back in winning games but the only way we can do that is on the pitch.
"I can train them as hard as I like, give them more hours and give them every bit of information, but once they get over that line I have to be able to trust them to do the right things.
"We have to do it because financially we can't go and get anyone or change anything. We'd like to bring in a few fresh faces like we did last year but I don't think we can do that at the moment.
"But it will certainly be a question I will ask of the chairman and the directors to try and give us a bit more leadership and a bit of freshness."
Troy Brown saw a fourth-minute header cleared off the line by Tendayi Darikwa against Chesterfield, while Danny Hylton might have done better with a shot on the turn which was easily gathered by goalkeeper Richard O'Donnell six minutes later.
But that was about as good as it got for the hosts who, slowly but surely, were being pegged back by the increasingly-confident Spitfires.
Keeper Jamie Young was forced into action to keep out Craig Westcarr's effort, while Atkinson's clever lobbed effort over his head from 15 yards just cleared the crossbar.
Eventually though the pressure told when Westcarr latched onto a forward pass from Darikwa, held off Guy Branston and threaded through for Atkinson, who buried his shot beyond Young and into the far corner.
Hylton went close for the Shots with a glancing header from Anthony Tonkin's cross late on, but in truth Chesterfield held on comfortably, leaving a dejected Holdsworth and the increasingly impatient EBB faithful to open their inquests.
ALDERSHOT: Young, Herd, Tonkin, Lancashire, Branston, A Morris (Rankine 84), Brown, Donnelly (Mekki 63), Rodman (Payne 74), Hylton, Reid. Subs: Bradley, Anderson, Cadogan, G Morris.
Ref: Stephen Martin. Att: 2,006 (237).