Still unbeaten in 2017.
So, Red Jacket Man 2 Harry The Dog 2 then. At least we’ve managed to stop the rot a bit, considering how we were as shite over Xmas as the telly was.
Make no mistake, we needed that. OK, we didn’t win, and there are still some weak spots in our game, but it’s fair to say we really weren’t looking forward to this game beforehand.
This was your editor’s first game full stop since Curzon, and my first league game at KM since about September. I’ve read the tales of woe about our Xmas form, and suffice to say, I almost pre-wrote this report.
A lot of the time, today felt a bit like the first few games of the season – not completely hopeless but something was definitely missing.
Back in the early stages of this campaign, defence fuckups were almost de rigeur, so it was good of Robbo to give us a nostalgia trip with him giving the ball to their player for the first goal.
But we came back. Not once, but twice. I don’t know whether we’ve suffered a kick to our confidence since the Franchise game – though we weren’t exactly great shakes beforehand – but I do wonder if we finally realised we had to wake up after recent weeks.
And that was a decent header by Taylor.
True, their second goal was annoying, as we were doing OK up until that point. Our second equaliser wasn’t bad, mind you,..
They had a few too many corners for my liking, we might have been able to snatch it later on, but all in all it was a decent point. One that we seriously needed from today, at that.
So, what? Well, it’s better than yet another loss. We were in danger of slumping into runs of 5/6/7 straight defeats, and at least we’ve stopped that little bit of rot.
We weren’t too bad, we certainly had guts in fighting back. And in this division, sometimes that’s all you need…
Plus points: We didn’t lose. Coming back twice. Elliott. Kelly. Charles returning.
Minus points: We didn’t win. Two shit goals. Rebuilding work needed.
The referee’s a…: Spent half of his time shielding the sun from his eyes. I assume that’s why he missed a couple of, ahem, robust challenges on our players anyway.
Them: I can’t be bothered to check, but I think they’ve been doing well recently, so this point and performance might be an even better one than first thought.
Millwall are one of those sort of clubs who seem to spend eternity either mid-table in the Championship or getting in the League One playoffs and occasionally succeeding in them.
This was also the first time I can remember such a massive police presence as the one we had today. Perhaps unsurprisingly, although there didn’t seem any stories of nawtyness about.
It was strange to see no seats available for the visitors, due to segregation issues, but as somebody put it at the game – we’re setting a precedence for later in the season…
Point to ponder: Do we need to bite the bullet and make some reinforcements now?
It’s becoming harder to feel that the likes of Fuller and Robbo will be with us next season. That’s always had some degree of inevitability, and you can’t deny that they’ve played a great part in our recent success.
But we gave away two goals today alone that we shouldn’t have done. And that’s not an isolated incident either.
Before the game, there were many who were saying that we needed just to freshen things up. Despite what today’s result turned out to be, I still think if we’re able to add to our squad in the right areas this month we should do so.
The rumour mill is suggesting a midfielder, and we do look slower there than a Franchise fan trying to recite his two-times table.
Thankfully, we’re not quite in the desperate state that we were in NA’s first January as our manager. And if we didn’t get anyone in we should still be OK enough for this campaign.
But it’s a case of whether you think “OK enough” is, well, enough until the end of April. I’m not so sure, and especially if we get a backlog of games where it seems to catch up with us quite quickly.
Even with our lack of away goals since Peterborough, we’re fine up front for this season. Which considering in recent seasons that’s been our problem is a nice bit of irony.
And I’m not suggesting we buy simply for the sake of it. One feature of NA’s transfer dealings is that we tend not to do that, and our success rate isn’t too bad.
However, if the long(er) term replacement for Fuller, or Robbo, or Francomb, or whoever, becomes available and within our price range, we’d do ourselves a favour by getting them in before Sheffield Utd away.
We can blood them more if they’re younger, we should be safe already so you don’t need to worry about fighting to stay up – and if we’re not, you can always put our fresher old guard on instead.
I’d like to think we’ll be in L1 for a good long while, unless we go up that is, and in many ways the rebuilding starts now…
Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) A drone was seen over the pitch during the first half. Or was it a balloon? 2) In presumably unrelated news, somebody left a big bag of KFC at the back of the Chemflow after the game. Well, either that or somebody went into the Kingstonian club shop beforehand. 3) Your editor paying for lunch with what I thought was a £5 note but turned out to be a €5 one. And that’s all the cash I had…
Anything else? At least Sutton on Saturday will be a little bit less of a tense affair than it otherwise might have been.
Let’s not try and be all meek and faux-humble about this – we are favourites at GGL, and we should win. True, it’s the cup and we all know about the first 80 minutes at Curzon, but there’s a two-division gap for a good reason.
If we get our attitude and application right on Saturday, then we’ll be in the fourth round draw. Needless to say, if we don’t…
It’s going to be a bit of a weird one, considering not only the first AFCW game in 2002, but other such happenings at GGL since then – the Coney Hall replay, the SSC cup one with the reserve goalie (which I missed out on, one of the few games at the time I wish I went to), and others I’ve doubtless forgotten.
What’s clear is that while our own allocation is sold out, Sutton’s may well have over half supporting us too. I hope common sense prevails over this, and the “official” away end is made bigger if possible – it will lessen the chance of the odd moron having a couple of shandies and starting to get the arse about our fans in there.
One final thing – it sounds like those “on high” haven’t been too impressed with the club’s comms over the ticket distribution for this game.
There’s quite a few people (your editor included) who haven’t heard whether they’ve even been unsuccessful in this. Especially as I’m sure the club said they were going to email those who dipped out soon afterwards.
That’s just common courtesy if nothing else – a polite “sorry you were unsuccessful” type email does go a long way, more than you realise.
The trouble with comms is that it’s something that you either “get” or you don’t, and the club does seem to be in the latter category on too many occasions.
There are apparently people who have been told they’re successful in the ballot within the last couple of days. I just hope for their sake that they didn’t assume the silence from AFCW meant they made other plans on Saturday…
So, was it worth it? A point is better than a kick in the bollocks.
In a nutshell: Happy 2017 (so far).