In the (Amber and) Brown stuff

Right now, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry…

If we had won last night, I would have written how much of a strange game it was, but at least we rode it out and now get to face Lids.

But I can’t, because we lost.

It will surprise you (not) that much if most vitriol will be aimed at that guy in the middle in black. I can’t really call him a referee, because that would imply he had some sort of control on the game.

That tackle on Taylor? I heard it from my Chemflow vantage point. The way Parrett was targeted throughout with not a infringement awarded? You fill in your own conclusion.

Apparently, Chris Sarginson (for this retard has a name) was mentioned in seriously negative tones before the game even started. And if it’s true he’s going to take the Franchise game in March, I would suggest we refuse to play the fixture.

I’m not joking either. If we have the same “decisions” for that as we did last night, I think there might genuinely be a riot. Even the RyPiss stand suddenly became like Red Star Belgrade fans last night…

Yes, he was a cunt. Yes, we were lucky to get away with (hopefully) few injuries. But that’s only part of yet another sorry story in the FAC.

We’re out, we’re not going to get that mouthwatering tie against Lids. And in truth, it’s mostly our own fault.

I wasn’t at the GGL tie, but I note a couple are saying this morning that we could have won that if we hadn’t settled on taking them to a replay.

That I don’t know, but what I can say is that if we had got the second goal last night before they equalised, we’d be panicking about 4th round tickets right now.

Robbo’s sending off should not have made that much difference. We are a L1 side playing an outfit two divisions lower and you would expect – not hope – us to overcome that.

Speaking of our dismissed centre back, one has to wonder if that might be the first Gary Neville/retirement moment. Not that he’ll quit the game, as he’ll do a good job in L2/Conference for a couple of years, but plans for next season might have become a bit more focused.

Taking off Poleon was a mistake, because it looked like we were just going to settle winning 1-0. Which is all very well if you can do it, but as we prove so often, we can’t.

When they scored, which had been coming TBH, I think even the players knew what was about to happen after that. Odd thing is, when they went 2-1 up, it was almost like the crowd expected it – it wasn’t the mass groan you get when you concede on 89 minutes.

I suppose we knew the game was up (in both senses of the phrase), but that does not excuse the absolutely god-awful “tactic” we used for the five minutes of injury time.

Hoof to Barnett. Fail to collect. Back to Shea. Hoof to Barnett. Fail to collect. Lather, rinse, repeat. Actually, I correct myself – there was a bit of skill involved in those final minutes. Shame it was their third goal…

Not that I begrudge Sutton for their Lids fixture, nor do I begrudge them staying up until 1am at GGL getting pissed. Any AFCW fan who lives and/or works in Sutton today, my deepest sympathies.

And I don’t have any complaints because in truth, we shouldn’t have been playing them to begin with. I know we got to the third round, but when you analyse it properly, it’s yet another failure in a cup competition.

Lest we forget we were 2-0 down at Bury at half time in the first round. True, we were good in the replay, but we practically fluked our run after that.

We’ve been through the Curzon game so many times, and we had two opportunities to dispose of the Us when we only needed one. Last night, we seemed to calculate on them tiring again, then we acted all surprised when they didn’t.

Sutton are a part time team, by the way. Just to make your mood this morning even better.

So really, I guess you could say we got what we deserved after all. The money from Lids would have been wonderful (though I suspect those in SM1 need it even more than we do), but you have to earn these rewards.

This does beg the question, what now for the rest of the season? It’s practically over, we’re not good enough for the playoffs and I would expect – not hope – that we’ll get the points to be mathematically safe before Easter.

Maybe blood some youngsters properly? Maybe they were getting protected last night, but at some point we have to show some faith in them.

A dip into the transfer market? That might not happen now we’ve dipped out on about £250k (and boy, is Erik Samuelson wincing about that today), but it’s clear that we’ll need to rebuild for 2017/18.

You can endlessly discuss who should be on the “out” list, and you probably will, but it’s really hard to shake the feeling that this campaign is now finished.

True, I’d happily take that rather than a relegation dog fight which we should not be anywhere near. And in terms of pre-season expectation, that will be an unqualified success.

But we now have about three months of relatively nothing to deal with.  Maybe the FA Yoof Cup will give us joy, like it did last season? PNE v Everton is on tonight, and I think if you’ve got Dons Player you can watch a live stream on the PNE site.

We’ve got the LSC too, and it’s always nice to do well in that. Especially going (back) to places like Redbridge, in days when that really was our Saturday fixture.

And of course, there’ll be the final knockings of NPL to come. Never have so many people been so keen to hear the words “Section 106s finally signed”…

24 thoughts to “In the (Amber and) Brown stuff”

  1. Went to sleep in Yangon, ( Rangoon, Burma) woke around 6am and checked the result. Had been at GGL for the first game and thought we were awful. Lots of hoofing forward and little skill anywhere on the ‘pitch’. For some idiotic reason thought we would reach the 4th round. Who wants to watch Leeds anyway? I wouldn’t blood too many youngsters just yet, reach 50 points would be smarter.

  2. I really hope to see a short term push for points for safety, then see Neal Ardley focus on planning for next season and bringing through some youngsters. Everton played three of them at the weekend and they showed Man City the door. We’ve got some real young talent and I bet a lot of people would have been excited to see Alfie Egan come on last night rather than depressed at Whelpdale. In my view he earned at least a sub cameo at the weekend, and looked effective on the ball when he had it.

    Can’t bring myself to regurgitate on last night’s game yet.

  3. The problems with this tie started when Neal announced how tough the game would be at their place. Instead of “we’re the league 1 club and we’re going there to show our quality” we got “it will be really tough on that pitch and we’ll be pleased with a draw”. Not the first time our performance has matched up to the managers forecast. I wonder what our shrink would make of that?

    And I’m not blaming them for our cup exit but bringing in Barnett and Whelpdale in the Summer has turned out to be a big mistake, when you have a small squad you can’t afford passengers and we’ve got 2 right there. When we needed to make changes last night I’d have preferred to see Azeez and Fitzpatrick. Putting the £3k+ a week saving to one side they would have given us pace and an out ball. The two we brought on offered neither.

    Sadly I also agree the season is pretty much over on 18th January. We will win the odd game against the sides we can bully to comfortably stay up but there will be plenty of defeats between here and May as we fizzle out to an 18th place finish.

  4. we got what we deserved. Even with 10 men we should’ve had enough in the tank to see them off and I agree, taking off Poleon maybe was a mistake but he isn’t renowned for his defensive duties and I suppose Neal needed somebody more reliable for that part of the game.
    Yes, let’s blood the youngsters more but then Neal has already hinted that he will need all of them over the next 4 weeks so I wouldn’t be surprised if young Alfie and other get more playing time.
    At the end of the day, it’s the FA Cup and it’s tradition has been built upon giant killing results like this and as you all know we have been guilty of causing a few over the years so I suppose you could say “what goes around comes around!”.

  5. Quote from the Preston site re their match against Everton U18s tonight: “The Lilywhites had a tremendous journey in last season’s competition, beating Carlisle United and Exeter City away in the third and fourth rounds before they were cruelly eliminated on penalties against Luton Town in PR1 last February.”
    Hmm, and we beat Watford and Newcastle away before losing to Chelsea – not much of a comparison really! Much as I think our boys would be favourites against Preston, we should be preparing ourselves for a trip to Goodison Park…

  6. 18th in the league would constitute a major achievement, let’s not forget. The whole Sutton tie – particularly the decision to sit on a 1-0 lead for 75 minutes against a team two divisions lower – was a tactical disaster, but there have been plenty of other tactical triumphs this season.
    Barnett is a bit unfairly maligned, but totally agree about Whelpdale when we have Fitzpatrick raring to go and sent to Torquay. You need experienced heads, but we have one or two too many on the fringes.
    My delight for Sutton as a club is tempered by their attempts to dismember Dean Parrett and Lyle Taylor last night. The referee would have been criminally negligent if either had been seriously hurt. Taylor is lucky he’s only on crutches after a horror challenge that wasn’t even deemed a free kick. Ultimately, you cannot legislate for a ref like that. Although I hope the FA can (for once).

    1. In case anyone missed it, Sargincunt gave both the tackle on Parratt and Taylor as free kicks to them, waiving advantage to Sutton while LTB was screaming in agony. I have honestly never seen a more inept, fuck you youre getting nothing attitude from one referee. The sending off is questionable and happens every day of the week so not getting caught up in that one as there are argue to and for the decision. But, what this bloke was or wasn’t watching for 90 minutes is beyond me. He even booked Stuart Douglas for getting their number 6 out of Tom Elliots face when he creamed into our bench.
      As for the game, even with 10 men we looked decent on the flanks in the first half, the second was a disaster. When for the love of god are we going to bring fitzy back and let the young lad have a go. Whelpdale is good in the air and that about it, Barnett is a name on a team sheet and that’s about it.

      Even after an hour and a half drive home, i wasn’t calm enough to go to bed. If there is ANY justce in this world, Sargincunt will be reffing a game in Syria by saturday. As it stands, weve got him from franchise at home. Marvellous

      1. If that does happen then there will be issues before the game…. like will he even get into the ground.
        Refs make mistakes and I appreciate that.
        But this guy seems to have displayed a gross deriliction of duty in protecting players.
        One day a ref will be sued I reckon.

  7. Hi all,

    I have different opinions on this season. The team still has to mount a promotion challenge given that there are 20 league games left to play. It’s all in the hand of the manager and players. If they are intent on making this promotion aspiration into a reality, they will need to start winning games now.

    I agree that Neal is too cautious to pick the academy graduates into the first team. He should change his approach and start fielding these players into the team without hesistation. I am sure that these players will deliver goods for the team. Championship football next season is still a realistic prospect.

    Players such as Tom Beere, George Oakley, Afie Egan, David Fitzpatrick, Seth Owen should be given the first team opportunity on a regular basis. I also note that Toby Sibbick is also attracting interest from Arsenal. The club should not hesistate to use these players and I am sure that the club will reap rewards by having belief in these players and using them in the first team.

    Ben

  8. I was at last night’s game. A couple of points:

    1) That ref. I don’t generally buy into the whole “wanker in the black” mentality. It’s a difficult job and whatever decisions you make as a ref, someone somewhere’s going to be pissed off. That said, yesterday evening was an exception. Whoever that prick was, he should not be allowed on a pitch again. That sliding, two foot tackle on Lyle was just the worst example of many where he just wasn’t at the races. Fine if it’s a margin call or it’s the occasional lapse but to miss or misread three or four similar episodes reads like either a conscious decision to misread the game or incompetence.

    2) Talking of not being at the races, what’s the story with Barnett? Someone needs to have a quiet word: even if it’s just for appearance’s sake at least look like you’re involved in the game. That means challenging for the ball, chasing down the opposition and putting the boot in. Even if it’s just a tweak to your body language do something to show your support (some of whom have come a bloody long way to watch you play) that you give as much of a fuck that they do.

    3) Darius Charles was immense. From where I was sitting he won every single header and 50/50 ball that came his way.

  9. Where are these rumours regarding the Milton Keynes game and the ref coming from? Last night was one of the most inept performances I have ever seen from a referee. The red was marginal – I think a yellow would have sufficed, but understand why it was given. Completely agree with the Gary Neville comparison. Whilst Robinson has been a rock for Wimbledon since he joined his lack of pace and slow thinking has been exposed more and more this campaign. From there, he lost control. Sutton should have been down to 9 by the time they equalised. The lad who scored it put in about 3 or 4 challenges worthy of a booking – the first one on Parrett which he was booked for was a deep shade of orange. As for the challenge on Lyle second half, it was absolutely criminal. To see him wave advantage the other way is one of the most ridiculous decisions I have ever seen on a football pitch. The only conclusion is that he wanted to raise the profile of the game with a Sutton victory, or at the very least he felt it appropriate to ‘level things up’ (2 division gap) through allowing Sutton to get away with an extremely physical approach. It’s rare I question a ref’s integrity, but last night was beyond belief. Real shame to be missing out on the 300k. Aim now needs to be to get to 50 points ASAP and focus on building a squad capable of pushing on next year. Whilst another day at Wembley would be fantastic for the Dons, promotion in the next two season, prior to the move back to Merton, would come too soon for me. It would be risking the upward trajectory of the club.

    1. The team can still achieve promotion this season, provided that the winning league streak continues. It may be too soon for the club if the promotion is achieved this season. Even if the promotion is achieved, the club will be favourite for Championship relegation this season.

      I do not mind such situation. In fact, such situation will be welcomed. I believe that the team needs to put in the best possible effort to make the promotion a reality this season. It is always possible. The main primary aim is to get to 50 points by next month.

      Ben

      1. Love the optimism, but the reality is that the Dons haven’t beaten any of the top 9 so far this season (6 defeats and 4 draws – have played Millwall twice). There is a definite gap between us and the top teams. As you say, priority is 50 points ASAP so Ardley can blood some youngsters and plan for next season. Aiming for promotion in 2019 for the return to Plough Lane wouldn’t be a bad thing…

    2. Agree with your last point about promotion (and your subsequent reply to Ben). Even if we somehow sneaked into the play-offs, we don’t have the finances to sensibly put together a team capable of competing at the next level. The huge wage bills and losses that average Championship clubs rack up chasing the dream is frightening, never mind the value of parachute payments for some. Relegation, either the following season or the one after, would be inevitable IMO and I’d rather we avoid that just as we’re moving into NPL. A stable club on a generally upward trajectory is more attractive to the lapsed and floaters we want to attract in the new ground rather than one apparently in decline. Lower/mid table this year whilst, hopefully, bringing on a few youngsters suits me just fine.

      1. I remember similar comments from last season and I said if we play well enough to warrant promotion of course we can hold our own in League 1 and the same goes for now. The top 3 or 4 teams in the league wouldn’t look out of place in the Championship and if we somehow usurp one or two of them and get promoted after 46 games it’ll be on merit. While there’s all sorts of silly money sloshing around in the Championship there’s also loads of clubs with no stability and no clue. There’d be plenty of teams that’d dread facing us imho.

        Trouble is, I can’t see us getting promoted this tie round because of the quality in the top third of the league. I fancied us against anyone in League 2 on our day but I couldn’t say that this time round.

  10. REPD as you mentioned NPL – do we still need to worry about English Heritage listing the greyhound stadium (last week’s local Guardian article)?

    League always our priority – let the little teams enjoy their (last) 15 minutes.

    1. Nobody ever needed to worry about English Heritage, they are only visiting the site because they’re obliged to.

  11. Having seen the incident again on tv the sending off was very harsh. It was the slightest touch, and tubby was never gonna get to the ball before Shea. But hey ho. The “ref” truely was a joke, and Sutton used his ineptitude to they’re advantage. Deano showed he’s a good player again, even if against lower opposition. My problem is that every time NA replaces Elliott with Barnett, I go from thinking we’re gonna win this, to, shit we might lose this. I know Tom but in a hard shift and was knackered, so probably needed to come off, but the whole dynamics change as we really don’t have anything up top. He’s got to bully tired players when he comes on, and put himself about. I miss Azeez coming on. Pure pace frightens any team, gives an out, and I for one thought he was improving. Consolidate in the league, and try to float around playoff places to keep interest. Bet Barry’s legs were tired in the morning

  12. Unfortunately we were a victim of circumstances, when Neal was forced to make a defensive change with the departure of Robinson. Taking account of the team selection, ie Polyon and Taylor both starting, when under other circumstances, one would have replaced the other. With Barcham injured there was no natural pace on the bench.
    Barnett’s performance or lack of, has been a consistent theme throughout the season.
    When Barnett and our own vision of ‘Sick Note’ Whelpdale came, on, the writing was on the wall.
    Instead of playing with 10 players, we were in effect down to 9 at best.
    The Sutton tackling would not have looked out of place at a local Sunday league match, with the referee appearing unable or unwilling to afford our players and protection.

  13. As for Tuesday’s game, I still can’t bring myself to watch any of the lowlights. The only plus for me was a very personal one. Being in the Chemflow allowed me to rant and vent at full volume rather than biting my tongue had I been in my normal seat in the main stand. Coronary averted!

    1. Hi Ladywomble,

      Agree with your view. I am of view that the club should secure as many wins as possible to secure the minimum requirement of survival. Even if the promotion to Championship is somehow achieved this season, I feel that the club can survive in Championship with prudent aporoach.

      Ben

      1. A couple of things…

        I cover a lot of Championship games, and I don’t think we would survive in it even with a “prudent approach”. The gap in standard is probably bigger between it and L1, than L1 to L2. We’d be eaten alive without a massive injection of talent.

        Teams like Scunthorpe and Yeovil didn’t last too long, Burton will probably go down this season if not next, and even Rotherham have found it much harder than they would expect.

        AFCW needs to get its youth system properly producing regular first teamers – not fringe players at best, as it is right now – and effectively do what Brighton did between their last season at the Withdean and their first at the Amex.

        Not saying that AFCW can’t eventually be a side in the second tier, but we’re barely out of L2, with a squad (and dare I say management team) that hasn’t yet established itself as L1. It took us about 3/4 seasons to finally suss out L2 for what it was, and L1 will be the same.

        What we don’t need to do is slump, because we could genuinely be in trouble if the mental ability goes out of the side.

        Oh, and I can confirm her Ladyship was on form on Tuesday…

        1. Hi REPD,

          I feel that the youth academy has produced the players who warrant places in the first team. I am not sure why Neal did not want to field them on a permanent basis. There is no doubt that these players will make mistakes in their progress. However, they will gain valuable experience from their mistake. I think that the manager should have more faith in the academy product. An example will be replacing the first team striker with Oakley rather than Barnett. Another example will be Tom Beere or Afie Egan in the midfield. We have several academy players on the fringe and I feel that it is worthwhile to give them the opportunity on regular basis.

          Ben

  14. Remarkable level of politeness over this. I thought we were utter shit!!! And this cotton wool that has been fluffed up around Tom Elliot – he is a pressing/grafting forward in a modern game: he is not 34 and close to the knackers yard. If he is spent/shot around the 60 minute mark week in week out then A. this style needs a tweak or B. if it is so “crucial” to how we play, Ardley must bring on a player with exactly the same ethos. In regard to Barnett: he has never been a workhouse/runner-I don’t like his attitude much but if we bring him on, play to his strengths rather than moan he ain’t no Tom Elliot. And that is lofted balls from wide not punts down the middle. Best of luck to part time Sutton who ruffed us up……as we get off on when we do it to others (hello Poxford). Chesterfield performance required.

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