Clarkson wants more from under-performing backline
JOHN Clarkson says his Tiverton Town side must cut out their defensive lapses if they want to collect their first league points of the season on Saturday at Merthyr Town.
The Yellows were thumped 4-0 at Paulton Rovers on Tuesday night, with two goals in each half making it six losses in their last seven games against the Somerset side.
It also meant two successive defeats in the league having lost 2-1 on the opening day of the season at home to an excellent Cirencester Town outfit.
Clarkson was more positive about the performance shown on Tuesday, but says the defensive errors must end now after a crushing assessment of his backline.
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"If we can eradicate the defensive mistakes we made then we have a good chance of winning on Saturday," he said.
"But you can't make mistakes like we did against Paulton – schoolboy mistakes.
"They did not win the game – we lost it. For the first 20 to 25 minutes we bossed the game. We played good stuff but looked a bit toothless in front of goal.
"They then got a silly free-kick and we headed the ball straight to one of their players who scored – disaster.
"The second goal we had two chances to put the boy out of touch but we didn't and they scored.
"The third goal, one of our lads tried to take the ball down and control it but their lad nipped in and scored, while the fourth goal the keeper should have saved."
Tivvy went into the match with new signing Jamie Lowry in the starting XI. The club later confirmed that striker Adam Carter had left after just one match.
As well as two new strikers, Clarkson also revealed that he wanted two new central defenders, such was his anger at Tuesday's defensive display.
"Against Cirencester it was a complete disaster because they outplayed us from start to finish," he said.
"Tuesday night was more positive because we looked a lot better, but we need to cut out those defensive mistakes.
"I have watched Paulton before and seen how they sit back and defend, but when they attack, they attack in numbers and take their chances.
"I need two centre-forwards and two centre-backs, because some of these big-name players are just not performing for us.
"It is like they think they can turn up and hard work is not expected of them.
"It is no good sitting there with your head in your hands – you need to pick yourself up and get on with it."
In last Saturday's match, hopes were high for a victory against a side that finished 11th last season to kick-start a title-charge for Tivvy, who had former Exeter City players Steve Tully and Bertie Cozic making the competitive debuts.
But Cirencester made it clear that they were more than willing to spoil the party, with Steven Davies dragging his shot wide after just two minutes.
Tivvy failed to heed the warning and they found themselves behind four minutes later in farcical circumstances.
Josh Concanen lost possession cheaply in his own half before a hurried clearance was headed towards Tivvy's goal, leaving Lee Smith the simple task of shooting past an out-of-position John Viscosi.
The Yellows levelled just a minute later, as Chris Holland sliced a panicked clearance into his own net after a superb delivery from Dan Smith.
Centre-backs Matt Villis and Tom Gardner tested Cirencester goalkeeper Glyn Garner from consecutive corners, but that was the high-point on what was a dismal afternoon for the hosts.
Smith made it 2-1 after a scrappy goalmouth scramble following a corner, before the same player struck the post with a delicious curler.
In the second half, substitute Sam Malsom came the closest to a leveller for Tivvy, before Viscosi brilliantly denied Aiden Bennett.
Clarkson pulled no punches in a withering assessment of his team's shortcomings, claming his side were fortunate to lose by just a single goal.
"We got away with a 2-1 because in my opinion it probably should have been 4-1 or 5-1 for Cirencester," he said.
"They wanted it more than we did and they were the better team by a mile. I have no complaints."