… don’t know where, don’t know when….
So our goal drought away from KM becomes almost officially funny. Or as somebody pointed out after the game, the last time we scored away in the league it was still British Summer Time.
If it wasn’t for the fact that a DVD of the win at Peterborough is now in the National Archives as an important historic document, Tony Benn 0 Michael Havers 0 might be considered a good point.
This was an actual “B” team, or at least the sort you would normally put out in the ex-JPT. No Elliott, no Taylor and no Robinson, but cameos from Egan and Oakley.
Not to mention our bench, which was something like six or seven from the under-21s.
NA seemed happy with their workrate, though whether they’ll get more chances still remains to be seen. Personally, I hope we give them more of a run out because if nothing else, they offer something different.
And dare I say fresher?
It was interesting our manager said how low we were after Sutton, because there was a bit of a must-not-lose sense about yesterday in Derbyshire.
Our confidence must have taken one helluva battering last Tuesday, and I do wonder how our mood will be this morning if we’d lost.
Which was quite possible yesterday. Especially in the last ten minutes, when we decided that it would be immense fun to give the ball away as often as we did.
A better side than Chesterfield would have put us away, although if we were playing right this very minute you read this, it would still be 0-0.
Although on the flip side, if even just one of our two main strikers were available…
So, what? Well, it’s a point and one earned at that. Never underestimate the value of that, especially when you’re as shit on the road as we are.
Which is in a strange way why I’m glad we’re not facing Lids next weekend, because I think after Gillingham this Tuesday we’re going to need the rest.
And if I’m being honest, if our visit to Kent somehow gets called off, I don’t think that would be an entirely bad thing.
Some commented on how fatigued we looked after Tuesday, and there was a fair bit in evidence yesterday too. The energy came from both Egan and Oakley when he came on, which was telling.
I’d like to see them given another go at Priestfield, as they didn’t look out of place at all. The trouble is, will they get that chance?
Oh, and one final thing for this particular section – James Shea’s timewasting. It was bad enough at Coventry and other games no doubt. But to do it in the first half is just annoying.
He was very lucky to not be booked for it, and you just know at some point he will get a yellow, then end up getting another one later on…
Plus points: We didn’t lose. Scratch squad. Egan and Oakley. Recovering well enough after Tuesday. A good point.
Minus points: We didn’t win. Dire at times. Kept giving the ball away. Never looked like scoring.
The referee’s a…: Not quite as bad as the window licker last Tuesday, although even a mixture of Satan, Pol Pot and Trevor Kettle would have been better. Liked giving free kicks, mind you.
Them: It’s easy to get carried away at such a good point, but lest we forget they are still third from bottom.
To be honest, like the Oldham game a couple of months ago**, you can see why they’re struggling when they can’t seem to put us away.
** – and I know I go on about our lack of away goals, but the game at Boundary Park was mid-November. We’re now getting to the arse end of January, and if we don’t find the net on Tuesday we could genuinely look to break some unwanted records…
Luckily they didn’t have their new manager bounce, either.
This was your editor’s first time ever to Chesterfield, and I like their ground, which I imagine NPL to be a bit like. View wasn’t bad, and £20 perhaps isn’t too much these days.
It seems the right size for them (10k, again which is what our new gaff will probably be), and it’s worth noting they were able to give a section over to local junior teams yesterday.
They had continental-style outdoor seating for the cafe next to the away turnstiles, although given it was 4c outside one assumes the continent in question was Antarctica.
I don’t know if anyone noticed it, but their scoreboard had an unusual feature. And I don’t just mean the clock that decided to only work half-way through the first half.
No, every time there was a freekick or save, there was a big “FREEKICK” or “SAVE” that flashed up on it. So it’s probably a good job nobody scored after all, then.
Come to think of it, it’s best we don’t do that at KM. The thing would have blown up for the Sutton game, unless we’d just put up at every single stoppage “CUNT”…
Point to ponder: Whither Tyrone Barnett? There’s something of the Banjo “Byron” Harrison about him, even down to the sense he was a bit of a panic buy.
Yesterday, he tried hard for some of it, but we didn’t seem to miss him when he went off. And that’s quite worrying, because I would have expected him to last the full 90 minutes.
When you’re third in the pecking order behind Elliott and Taylor, you’re not going to play the full 90 minutes unless you offer something more.
But when you’re yanked off when your only replacement is a former yoof teamer, then something is wrong.
Is his head not right? Does he really want to be here? He’s shown sporadic bursts of what he can do (Charlton and Curzon) but they are few and far between.
I doubt if anyone will come in for him during what remains of this transfer window, but it’s already hard to think he’ll be here in 2017/18.
Which leads us onto another question – just how much rebuilding are we going to need to do this summer? Robbo, Fuller and Bulman have seen better days.
If the likes of Barnett and perhaps Whelpdale (who managed to under-impress yesterday) are surplus to requirements, then that’s almost half a new team already.
Not to mention if the likes of Elliott and Taylor start having juicy contracts waved under their noses from elsewhere.
That’s life, especially in lower league football, which is why I think we should give the youngsters a proper run-out for as much of this season as possible.
If only because we need to know how much we’ll need to change things over the close season.
If the likes of Egan prove to be good enough for the rest of this campaign, it’s another position we don’t need to fill for next season.
The less we need to do from May onwards, the more we can get good quality when we do need to get from elsewhere.
As we’re reminded every twenty seconds, our budget isn’t the biggest, so we’re going to need to put a bit more faith in our conveyor belt than we have done in the past.
Last week, we offered a pro-deal to Johnville Renee-Pringle, a right back with one of the best names in football right now. I don’t expect him to replace Fuller next season, but I’d like to think he can be backup for his replacement.
If our current youngsters don’t make the grade for the rest of this season, so be it. But we need to know find out in the only way that you can make that decision.
There will still be enough fixtures like yesterday where you can do it and not end up in League Two because of it. Obviously, we’ll need to ensure that with our first eleven sooner rather than later, but we should be able to do that.
And at the risk of sounding like a broken record over this – given our away form in particular, would blooding the yoof really be any worse than what it is right now…?
Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) The players apparently getting seen in the Tesco next door to the ground on Friday night. Presumably shopping for reduced goods – insert new midfielder gag here. 2) Chesterfield fans have a drum. No further comment necessary.
Anything else? Yes. Your editor saw this sticker above in the men’s bogs at Watford Gap services yesterday evening (for those who can’t make it out, it’s about Luton Town and Eric Morecambe both being brown bread).
Apart from the obvious sentiment, it got me thinking – are we in a better position than we might otherwise think?
True, it’s a bit of a dodgy sticker from Watford fans about their friends at Kenilworth Road. Perhaps not as dodgy as me taking photos in male toilets at service stations, but nobody else was around.
At least, I hope not.
But the sentiment about Luton from Hornets supports can’t quite apply to us – for AFCW is a club that is still very much alive.
We’re still in a collective bad mood over Sutton, but that’s a footballing related emotion that hits every club at some point. That’s why, when the shoe is on the other foot, it makes it so much sweeter.
And yes, I know that “glorious cup victory” and “AFC Wimbledon” don’t go together, and hasn’t since the infamous Darlogate season. But they do exist, believe me.
For those who rely on stats at the expense of everything else, we are actually still unbeaten in the League in 2017. OK, we’ve also only won one of them, but that is just mere semantics…
The standings show we put the “mediocrity” in mid-table, and we’re merely an overdue good run from securing L1 football for another season.
As stated above, we will need to do some important rebuilding squad-wise. But considering this is a side that perhaps unexpectedly found itself in L1 this season, that’s again nothing new.
And considering we were half-preparing to be in the bottom four at this stage of the season, let alone many points clear, the season is already a partial success.
It will only be a full one when we’re confirmed in the third tier next season, and we need to secure that, but we’re talking about that in January. Not April or even March.
There is a “but”, of course, and our position doesn’t tell the whole story. It was the bloke behind me yesterday who was getting seriously irate in the last ten minutes.
Not just that we were giving the ball away so often, but along the lines of we were doing exactly the same in every away game.
I can imagine that those who travel more regularly than your editor does these days must dread away fixtures these days. Hell, there wasn’t much expectation at 1459 yesterday, so a 0-0 felt like a result.
If we do against Sheffield United like we did against Chesterfield, we’ll be on the end of a 4-0 gubbing. Then again, I expect most of our players to be (miraculously) fit for that one…
Which leads us onto Tuesday, and a game that very few of us have thought about. We’ll probably have a full(er) team out, and with ten days off afterwards, there may well be one more push until we finally regroup.
Hell, we might even score a goal…
So, was it worth it? We didn’t lose I suppose.
In a nutshell: … but I’ll know we’re score again some sunny day.