Didcot Town boss Gary Elkins has accused skipper Gareth Thomas of jumping ship after he left the Evo-Stik Southern League Division 1 South & West strugglers to join rivals Abingdon United.
His departure left Town short in Tuesday’s 4-0 loss to leaders Poole Town, where Sam Elkins and Jamie Heapy were drafted in at centre back.
“I’m really disappointed with Gareth,” said Elkins, who comes face to face with Thomas on Boxing Day when they host Abingdon.
“He’s jumped ship when we are trying to build a side here. “
He said he felt some players lacked commitment and passion and yet when we had a team meeting last Thursday he didn’t say anything about it.
“I can understand if he wants to go, but he didn’t go about it very well.”
Meanwhile, striker James Clark has joined Hungerford, midfielder Brian Bowles has decided to re-sign for North Leigh, while ex-Didcot midfielder Matty Jack rejected a return to the club to heap more misery on the Railwaymen, who travel to Yate Town.
Abingdon boss Richie Bourne said landing Thomas, who will make his debut at home to Tiverton Town, had ended an 18-month chase.
He added: “I’m delighted to get him. Gareth is an uncompromising defender, so it’s a really big boost.
“I got wind that he was unsettled a few weeks ago and put in a bid.”
Abingdon will be without Matty Biddle who is away.
Bourne added: “We had a 0-0 draw at their place, so we know it’s going to be tough.
“But after two defeats we have to stop the rot and get back into that top ten.”
North Leigh manager Mark Gee hopes his side can use their last-gasp equaliser in their 1-1 draw against Mangotsfield United to get back on track.
After getting off to a flier, the team haven’t tasted victory in eight games leaving them in 11th place, and Gee says Stuart Hole’s leveller could be just the spark.
He said: “At the start of the season, we were scoring for fun, but there is a lack of confidence in front of goal.
“Hopefully, we can use that last-minute goal to build on.
“We have got 25 games left, and I see it as the season starting again.”
Banbury United travel to St Albans City in the Premier Division.
Didcot Tn (v Yate Tn, away): from Belloli-Pereira, Elkins, Casson, Osborne-Ricketts, Stanley, Tappin, Webb, Haysham, Williams, Browne, Harris, Pereira. North Leigh (v Bishop’s Cleeve, away): from Warrell, Hole, Organ, Turk, Franklin, Westlake, Walcott, Alexis, Brooks, Sanders, Hopkins, McDonagh, Mills, Else, Coyle, Bowles. Abingdon Utd (v Tiverton Tn, home): from Foster, Baker, Taplin, Carnell, Thomas, Evans, Riccio, Melledew, Young, Tucker, Woodley, Self, Halliday, Whitehead, Nowell.