THE troubled times that have befallen beleagured Badshot Lea in recent weeks have taken another turn for the worse.
A toothless 3-1 league defeat at Frimley Green on Saturday, which was compounded by a straight red card to defender Josh Pound, was followed on Tuesday night by a demoralising defeat at the hands of Dorking Wanderers Reserves, who play one step lower, in the Premier Challenge Cup.
Defeat against the Dorking youngsters at freezing Westfield Lane on Tuesday night made it five defeats on the trot in all competitions for Lea and piled the pressure on joint managers Gavin Smith and Dave Ford.
To add insult to injury, talismanic forward Nic Ciardini and young central defender George Hedley are the latest in a growing list of players to leave the club this season, following the likes of Liam Flanaghan, Ben Hutchings, Shaq Williams, Reece Connolly, Jordan Carter and Ashley Lloyd.
It has left the managerial duo and their coaches desperately searching for replacements as they attempt to steady the ship and get Lea back on track after a decent start to the season which saw them reach the second qualifying round of the FA Cup and break into the top six of the Premier Division of the Combined Counties League.
“We’re working on it, we just need to get players in and it’s not easy. It’s a testing time and we just need to get through it,” said Smith.
“The aim now is just getting as many wins and as many points on the board as we can and quickly, but firstly getting a settled squad again. So we’re working hard now to get the right people in, the right players, and then take it from there.
“We want to be successful at whatever level it is, which is step five at the moment, and just do things properly and have good people around the club, good players who want to learn and play good football, that’s our aim.”
To combat the personnel crisis, the club drafted in half-a-dozen new recruits last week – and Smith is keen to have a group who are cut from the same cloth as he is and are committed to the cause.
“We wanted to do something different,” he said. “We wanted to train twice a week, which we’re doing, we wanted lads to buy into it and take it seriously, and if people walk away that easily then they are not that serious. I don’t think that this level of football should not be about not being serious.
“We are getting young players in in the hope that they will be around for a while. They are good enough, they are good footballers, they just need to learn how to win games of football and what you need to put into a game to win. It’s got to mean something to them too, they have got to have a desire to play football.”
Lea succummbed to Frimley Green on Saturday despite Met Police loanee Tom Cursons giving them a fifth-minute lead.
Dan Bone equalised on 31 minutes before putting his side 2-1 ahead 60 seconds before the interval with a piledriver.
And Sammy De St Croix made it 3-1 when he scored from the spot after Pound was dismissed for violent conduct in an off-the-ball incident.
On Saturday, Badshot Lea are at home to Redhill at Westfield Lane (kick-off 3pm).