It was as if Blackstones’ players hadn’t realised their game kicked off half an hour early on Saturday, suggested Stones boss Dave Stratton.
Stratton saw his side lose 2-1 at home to Desborough, conceding twice in a woeful opening spell before finishing the stronger side.
“I think our players had forgotten we had a 2.30 kick off,” said Stratton. “It was ridiculous. In the first half we hardly put a tackle in.”
Off-the-pitch matters hardly helped Stratton’s cause with talk of transfers unsettling his dressing room.
The Stones boss, who took charge in January, said he had reached an agreement with former Stones management duo Darren Jarvis and Michael Goode to release four players to join Peterborough Northern Star only for the Stones board to block the move. Matt porter, Joe Hopewell, Robbie Pearce and Michael Nelson are all expected to follow Luke Hunnings and Danny Barker out of Lincoln Road but the transfers will all have to follow league procedures.
Stratton said: “I knew the lads had been talking and the attitude was not there in the dressing room on Saturday but they still have a job to do
“I do not want to lose them but I have to know where I stand if players want to move on. I had agreed in principle with Darren Jarvis that they can go - they are all mates - but football is a funny thing and they may all yet stay.”
On the flipside Ben Easson started on his return to Stones colours and Sam Mancuso made his Blackstones debut.
As it was, Stones’ only reply to Kevin Byrne’s two strikes - in the 5th and 11th minutes - was a spot kick shortly before half time. Addie Staffieri tucked the penalty away after a fine move was ended with Luke Avis brought down in the box.
Stratton added: “In the first half there was just one team in it but after we scored we played some good football and in the second half we should have scored a couple of times.
“It’s almost like starting again after the break. Now I just want to get on with the football.”
Blackstones: Lee Crockett, Ben Porter (Michael Nelson), James Curran. Tom Stocks, Joe Hopewell, Robbie PEarce, Luke Avis, Andy Boome, Ben Easson, Addie Staffieri (Sam Mancuso), Andy Beech (Jason Kilbride). Sub unused: Herold Dancerelle-Bourlan.