LET me set you a scene. Your side are 2-0 down in what is probably the most important game in your season. The opposition are down to ten men. It’s the 90th minute and the board goes up. The referee has added a minimum of seven minutes. At this point, there is usually a roar of encouragement from the fans to try and salvage the game.

Seven minutes is a long time. Two goals against ten men is not beyond the realms of reality. We’ve all seen it before. The magic of the cup on a crisp November night under the floodlights kicking towards the Tin Shed. What happened next was not the usual response, but it was understandable. When the board went up, there was almost collective groan, the Tin Shed took a deep breath and responded with “do we really have to watch another seven minutes of this?”

The gates had been open for nearly 20 minutes to allow those who had seen enough to trudge out after seeing yet another sub-par home performance. For those, like me, who hate leaving early, we were put through seven minutes of purgatory before heading out in to the night air thinking about what could have been.

Apathy isn’t a great place for football fans, especially when cash has to be handed over to come through the turnstiles. With everyone having to pay to get in, I thought Friday night’s crowd of 770 was pretty decent all things considered. The discounted admission price of £10 made it a little bit more palatable, but it makes you think what must go through the mind of the floating fan who weighs up on a Saturday lunchtime whether there is something better £14 could be spent on.

In the 11 home games we’ve played in all competitions, we’ve failed to score in six. There is a better than 50-50 chance you will not see Darlo score at Blackwell Meadows. With six defeats at home, there’s a decent chance you’ll see us lose. That’s before a judgement is made on how entertaining the football is or isn’t.

What would make things a more digestible is if there was a display of real passion and energy from the players to give the impression that they actually care about how they appear to those looking on from the sidelines. I’m not talking about scything through a player and stupidly getting sent off, but putting bodies on the line for the cause.

I thought Telford’s first goal pretty much summed up where we are as a side right now. When the Telford player shot from distance, the nearest Darlo player – who, by the way, wasn’t nearly near enough – turned his back and appeared to swerve away from the ball. This wasn’t an act of a player doing his all to win a crucial game with much-needed prizemoney on the line. As a fan, I interpret it as a player looking after himself rather than taking one for the team.

Is that the prevailing attitude in the dressing room? I’m sure the players would angrily deny it. I would expect them to. I’d be concerned if they didn’t. I don’t believe the players go out on to the pitch to put in half-hearted performances where the result is irrelevant, but at times it can come across like that. The impact it has on the floating fan who hands over cash at the turnstile can already be seen – we had to sell our star striker to cover the budget shortfall.

I watch the post-match interviews with Tommy with a heavy heart. There before me is a guy I really like. If you’ve spoken with him, you know he is a decent guy with fantastic knowledge of the game. As a player for us, he laid everything on the line for this club – the opposition were rightly informed by Darlo fans that Tommy was ‘gonna get you’. It almost goes against everything we knew about Tommy the player that Tommy the manager looks dejected and almost beaten. He looks like he is carrying the weight of responsibility for what happens on the pitch. If the players could show half the passion and desire their manager did on the pitch, it would at least give us something to build on and give the fans something to get behind.