Defender Danny Grainger spoke to us this week to give us his thoughts on the start of the season and being handed the captain's armband.
“Saturday obviously wasn’t the start we wanted,” he said. “We wanted to go down there and get the result we’ve been working towards during pre-season, so it was really disappointing.
“I don’t think we gave ourselves a chance really, with the way we started the game. You can’t give teams like Exeter a two-goal head start and expect to take something out of it.
“It’s a long old season and there’s still 45 games to go, so we’re not going to sit and dwell on it and beat ourselves up over one game. We’ll look at it and analyse where we went wrong, but we’ve got to bounce back quickly because we’ve got a big game on Saturday."
“We got back into the game after the first 20 minutes or so but they still had plenty of chances," he admitted. "If you look back at the highlights they had the better chances to win the game and put it out of sight. Those are the fine margins in football.
“I obviously had the free kick which hit the crossbar, and straight after that they went up the other end of the pitch to make it 2-0. Once we got it back to 2-1 the atmosphere died down a bit and we felt we could get back into it."
Having sent his set piece over the wall he admitted that he'd thought he was just about to open his account for the season.
“I thought the free kick was in the second I hit it to be honest," he told us. "I caught it sweet. Like I say, those are the fine margins you're dealing with. If it had hit the underside of the crossbar and gone over the line it would have given us that lift and kicked us on.
“Joe [Fryer] made a save right on half time which kept us in it, but if that had gone in it probably would have been too much of a hill to climb. We were pushing forward to try and get the equaliser in the last few minutes which meant they hit us on the counter-attack and killed the game."
“I think the biggest thing for us at full time was disappointment," he said. "If we’d gone down there and played well, and executed the game plan well, but still come away with nothing, you could hold your hands up and say we’d just fallen a bit short.
"We just weren’t good enough on Saturday.We didn’t give ourselves a chance to get a foothold in the game. We went behind early on and after that you’re always fighting a losing battle.
“I thought we did show good spirit to have a go at it in the second half, even though they had chances. In terms of possession and territory we probably had most of it, we just didn’t create a lot. Hallam [Hope] looked quite dangerous when he got the ball, but things just didn’t quite fall for us.
“It was nice to get an assist, we all know Richie [Bennett] is a real presence in the box. It was a good header from him and he took it well. I'm the same as him, I would have taken not having any influence on the game if we’d come home with three points."
The Blue Army were out in numbers yet again last weekend, with over 200 fans there to cheer the lads on.
“The fans stuck with us all the way, which they always do," he continued. "We can’t thank them enough, it’s a long way to come and they always seem to get the raw end of the deal on the opening day of the season. I think we Portsmouth away first a couple of seasons ago and it's not easy.
"When we were walking off the pitch they were still all there applauding us, which means a lot to us. We feel like we let them down in the first 20 minutes but we could hear them throughout the game.
“We need the fans to get behind us on Saturday and all the way through the season. We know there are things going on behind the scenes that are out of our control, but we want the football to go well with the fans getting behind us as they enjoy watching us on the pitch."
“That stuff going on in the background doesn’t affect us at all," he insisted. "It’s nothing to do with us, we’re just paid to play football.
"You read things and see things but it doesn’t affect us. We’ve just got to get on with it and leave the business side to the business side. We’ll stick to the football.
"There’s no point in us trying to get involved with things that are over our pay grade. We’ll just keep trying to do the business on the pitch which will hopefully attract the fans back through the gates."
On the news he had been given the captain's armband for another season, he commented: “Anyone who knows me knows how much it means to me. It means a lot to me to wear the armband for this club.
"I feel like I’ve grown into the role but, as I said in pre-season, if the manager wanted to change it he would have had my full backing.
"Some managers like to change things, as Keith [Curle] did when Paul Thirlwell had been captain before he arrived. He decided it was time for a change and if this manager had done the same I wouldn’t have had any problem with it. The honour and pride I have every time I pull the armband on is massive and it means so much to me."
Looking ahead to the opening home game of the campaign, he said: “We want to get a positive result at home on Saturday.
"Our home form last season was poor, to say the least, and that’s another reason why fans don’t come back.
"If they know you’re coming to watch poor football, or watch a team who is losing more games than they’re winning, then they aren’t going to come. It’s important that we hit the ground running on Saturday and make a good start on our own pitch.”
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