Todmorden Borough boss John Gilford has demanded more commitment from his players at a clear-the-air meeting this week.
Gilford made his appeal after training on Tuesday night following a string of cry-offs for what he considers to be inadequate reasons this season.
The manager had expected to be close to full strength away to Haslingden St Mary’s in Division Two of the West Lancashire League last Saturday, only for six players to drop out.
That included two defenders disappearing to a pop festival, much to Gilford’s disgust.
As it happened, the players who stepped up from the reserves and the remaining regular first teamers did the club proud in a 1-1 draw.
However, Gilford has still moved to nip the problem in the bud. He said: “People do not understand the commitment required to play at this level. But if I’m putting in 100 per cent I expect the players to do the same.”
Gilford is keen to see the response in the build-up to Saturday’s home game against second-placed Kendal County (3.0). Dan Lively is suspended.
Borough are 10th in the table, with eight points from nine games, following last Saturday’s draw against a side who had previous beaten them 3-1 this season.
“It was our best show for a long time, the players put it in for 90 minutes,” said Gilford.
Tod’s prospects with a weakened side at the superb Haslingden set-up did not look bright, particularly after the 4-0 defeat by Rochdale Sacred Heart in Lancashire FA Amateur Shield the previous week.
Gilford drafted in his son Elliott at ‘keeper for Lee McGrath (knee) and a new-look defence included Jamie Scott up from the seconds, Lee Earnshaw in on the right and Danny Walsh dropping back.
Terry Lowe was drafted in from the seconds on the right of midfield and Ben Whittam partnered recent signing Marco Romaro up front.
Borough had to work hard but held their own until just before half time when Haslingden’s Thomas Hulme shot into the top corner.
Gilford made some good saves behind an outstanding back four and Borough needed a bit of luck to stay in the hunt, Haslingden hitting a post and having more efforts blocked.
However, Lowe capped a fine display with an equaliser 10 minutes from time, hitting the ball across the ‘keeper and into the far corner of the net following Gilford’s long punt.