Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Following their 1-0 loss to cellar dwellers Highgate United in the Red Stripe Premier League on Sunday, reality is finally setting in at promoted Savannah Sports Club, who suffered a third successive loss at home and fourth overall.
But at the beginning of the campaign, riding high on expectation, the club's coach Patrick Graham said then that it would be a long season filled with many hurdles, while enunciating the club's mantra of hard work and dedication.
Those expectations received a super dose of adrenaline when in their debut game the upstarts stung the defending champions Portmore United 1-0 away to ignite what now appears wishful thinking among their fan base.
The fairy-tale start gathered momentum with a 1-0 victory over Harbour View in their second match of the season, and by then the prediction mill began churning out some outlandish outcomes to their season.
Frome Sports Complex (Savannah's home ground) bulged at the seams, as fans, supporters and wagonists were delighted with the form shown by the new footballing heroes of Westmoreland, when they registered a third consecutive win, turning back fellow promoted team Cavalier.
But how swiftly can things change!
Three successive home defeats have seen the groundswell of supporters dwindle to a trickle, as seen Sunday against Highgate, as panicking fans now begin to stay away from the matches.
However, assistant coach Audley Thomas says, unlike their fans, they remain optimistic.
"We on the field are not panicking. We have hit a bad patch and our supporters must know that we will rebound," he said after the Highgate loss.
The weekend when Savannah claimed top spot in the league, following a 2-1 win over Cavalier, the preceding home match against another former champion, Tivoli Gardens, drew perhaps the biggest crowd ever to Frome.
Incidentally, that match also saw the start of the slide, as they went on to lose 1-0 on a Dane Kelly goal, and since then have failed to score in subsequent matches.
"The team is not playing good football right now. They started so well and then Tivoli just started a trend and we losing since," a self-proclaimed supporter, Michael Andrews, explained.
"You nuh see that everytime dem lose is less people come to the matches. Is a warning dem getting because Westmoreland people love football, but support you even more when you winning," he added.
The slide has been so precipitous that within a matter of three games, the former front-runners are now bringing up the tail, lying second to last in the 12-team standings on 10 points, the same as Tivoli and Portmore, but with a grossly inferior goal difference.
"Whatever the coaches are doing wrong, dem better hurry and fix it, because we only support a team that wins. That is why Savannah carry this big following, because they have always won. Now the losses are piling up some fans are deserting them," said one fan, Lamar Woolery, visibly upset about their latest defeat.