It has been a mixed week in the life of Sutton United manager Paul Doswell, as the harsh realities of club survival surpassed the disappointing end to his Wembley dream.
United crashed out of the FA Trophy going down 5-0 in the third round to Wrexham of the Blue Square Premier – after which Doswell said he felt as if he had been “kicked in the nuts”.
Moreover, Doswell has had to release defenders Gareth Gwillim, to Ebbsfleet, and Steven Old, on dual registration to Kingstonian, to ensure the club’s account books continue to balance.
The departures follow on the heels of Tom Lovelock and Kezie Ibe’s permanent moves, but Doswell believes that Harry Beautyman, who was on trial at Exeter City and Wycombe Wanderers, will be with United until the end of season.
“Letting the players go is not about stripping the club out and then heading for relegation, I don’t want people to get that impression,” Doswell said.
“I still believe we have a team that will stay in the Blue Square South, but we have to cut our cloth accordingly and the club has to come first.
“We have a lot of reserve players of high quality who are coming through but we cannot afford a squad of 18 players.
“If we pick up any injuries, I have a lot of contacts in the pro game that I can call upon for help.”
He added: “The biggest problem is the postponements – we have suffered for that this season. When a match is moved to a Tuesday night, all the proceeds are halved. It doesn’t help anyone, least of all the playing budget.
“Hopefully we’ll get this weekend’s match against Truro City on and I would put an SOS call out to fans to come and support your team.
“Not only could the players do with the support, the club needs it as well.”
More than 750 fans turned out to watch Wrexham give United a lesson in clinical finishing, but Doswell pulled the referee up on two game-changing incidents.
“We were excellent for the first half hour and if we’d taken one of the four chances we made, it could have been different,” he said.
“But for Wrexham’s second goal in particular, Harry Ottaway was clearly fouled, we stopped, but the referee played on and Wrexham went on to score.
“And their third goal came from a throw on that was clearly our throw. I don’t blame the Wrexham players, but we’ve been kicked in the nuts.”
He added: “Wrexham had six shots on goal and scored from five of them – that is clinical finishing and that is why they are where they are.
“But I take the positives, we were comfortable against the best non-League team in the country for half an hour.”