Suited and Booted

Hmph.

There are some defeats where you have to hold your hands up and admit you were second best. There are others where you were quite clearly unlucky. Or you’ve been denied by a referee more bent than a £9 note.

Then there’s the ones like Flip Flops 0 Cobblers 1 where you’re still trying to work out whether to be annoyed or just go “meh”.

If truth be told, I’m a mixture of both about it right now. This was a strange game from start to finish, and it’s probably no surprise that it ended the way it did.

One goal was always going to decide this tie, and needless to say it wasn’t us. I don’t think we would have scored even if we were still playing when you read this – especially if you’re doing exactly that in the year 2045.

I’m annoyed, because Robertson thought he was playing for the Boston Celtics rather than Glasgow Celtic. Everyone saw it from the Chemflow, and nobody had it in them to appeal. This should have been a point, and it wasn’t.

But it’s as much a shrug of the shoulders and move onto the circus ahead of us, as much as anything. And I think a lot of what we saw today is down to that.

No Robinson or Elliott, Soares getting subbed at half time, a strange lack of something all round, and not just on the field either. Many were saying at half time that this felt like a pre-season friendly instead of a League One game.

Question is, why? Are we really distracted? Do we genuinely think the season is over already? It isn’t, we’re still not entirely there yet. Or is it just the usual case of, we have three good results in a row and just can’t get the fourth?

Whatever it was, this is a bit of a comedown after Walsall, Scunny and Notlob. Whether it really was the loss of momentum not having a midweek game is as much a reason as anything, but it’s still irritating to lose in this manner.

It doesn’t help when we decide that we revert back to the old days and decide to have just one extra touch, or just make one additional pass too many. Nor does it help when the referee misses handballs up the other end from the one he actually gave a spot kick…

Can I be arsed to write any more on this? Not really. We’re still 13th, we’re still just one or two wins away from effectively securing L1 for another season, and if we need to we can go up a gear again.

And it will certainly be a requirement in a couple of days time…

Plus points: Only one mistake costing us. Knowing we can play better.

Minus points: We lost. Robertson’s handball. Losing our unbeaten home run. Not likely to score.

The referee’s a…: Picky, wasn’t he? When he wasn’t missing little things like their player handballing it in the area as well, that is…

Them: Bit better than us in attack, although that isn’t saying too much. I dunno if they would have got their goal if we hadn’t literally handed it to them, but they were getting a bit too on top for my liking.

The player who scored was, I think, the same guy who we sang “Premier League and you fucked it up” to. He seemed to take it well, though not as well as his celebration after netting.

Hard to remember that they were the runaway leaders of League Two last season, and were only just one point short of getting to the magic 100 mark. Although one of the better regular season games a year ago this month was at Sixfields.

Mind you, they then lost Wilder and co, and they struggled a bit with it, but chances are we’ll get another chance to fail to beat them next season.

Point to ponder: Is it better to have today as our inevitable shit result? Or is that too much of a dodgy assumption to make?

I’ll accept defeat today if it means we have a much happier Wednesday morning, but in the real world of football it doesn’t quite work like that. I think a couple of our fans might be tempted to put money on Franchise winning on Tuesday purely for that reason.

We haven’t lost at home since October, and that run has to come to an end sometime, but there’s the danger we take our eye off the ball today then discover – the hard way – that you put too many of your eggs in one basket.

That’s the problem we now face because of today’s result. We have to do something on Tuesday, because ignore the emotion and the psychology of that game – lose that, and suddenly we’re suffering from shit form again.

And of course, the Franchise game is the must-not-lose fixture. Suddenly, a high-pressure contest just got that little bit more intense…

Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) The records going from 70s funk to ripping off Spandau Ballet. PM Dawn should never be played at a football ground. Ever. 2) The kids by the right hand side of the Chemflow proving we definitely need our own family enclosure. My ears still ache.

Anything else? Not really, nothing I’m not going to mention in my planned Monday update anyway.

What I think we do need to be careful of is that we still need about two more wins, and it suddenly becomes difficult to get them because you’re switched off from the season. Managers and pundits talk about “intensity”, and they’d be right in our case.

Today was a classic case – if we needed the points (and “need” is in terms of, actually requiring the points to drag us away from the drop zone), I think we would have got them today. But it didn’t quite matter (IYSWIM) and we lacked that cutting edge.

And it would be quite anti-climatic if we limped towards the last games of the season, not really looking likely to win, and with the players having one half-eye on which beach they’ll spend half the summer on.

I doubt if we’ll be in a relegation fight. But these last ten games could end up annoying a lot of people if we’re not careful…

So, was it worth it? No.

In a nutshell: Roll on Wednesday and its normality.

7 thoughts to “Suited and Booted”

  1. Pretty nail on head there Rob
    Think NA by selection said Tuesday is more important and ser the tone fir today.
    Now even more a must win game or 6pts thrown away.
    No one played bad just didn’t do it in the box that mattered – as you suggest trying to walk it into the net.
    Frustrated us the right word as our last hoodoo could and should have been culled today.
    Let’s hope getting Tues out the way means none of this over the top almost deference to dealing with them ends and we ignore them as just another team.
    At least in the dressing room or NA might be on a sticky wicket …..

  2. Typical end of season fare. Lacked intensity, as Rob suggests.

    After Tuesday’s game, we’re looking at nine dead rubbers (at least, for us) over the remaining seven weeks.

    I’m just hoping there are some entertaining games, we get a few wins and Academy products like Egan get some game time.

    Egan should be giving some competition to Reeves, who I fear has got too big for his wee boots.

  3. Ardley did right to look after the squad, he knows it’s Heroes or Villains by Wednesday morning and nobody will give a toss about losing to Cobblers.

  4. Hi all,

    I think that this is the Wimbledon style of play. We tend to make things difficult for us when the going is good. You are right. We are not there yet. We still need a couple of wins or so to be sure of L1 football next season. I hope that we can get one of these two wins from the Tuesday game.

    Ben

  5. A game we shouldn’t have lost. The direct result of Neal not playing the fixture in front of him and preparing instead for the next one. He’s ramped up the pressure on himself and the team now…

    1. Hi,

      I am not so sure whether Neal really focused fully on Northampton game. He has mentioned the reason of him nor playing Robinson and Elliot in the starting line-up are due to possible subsequent suspensions should they were booked in the Northampton. I believe that the previous cards collected for them will hsve been annulled off after the Northampton game. I think that this stipulation kicked in with 10 league games remaining in the season. I might be wrong in my analysis.

      If I am the manager, I would not have opted for such option. I would rather select the strongest line-up that are more capable of winning the present game at hand. Whatever happens at the starting line-up at the subsequent games are secondary and the manager will then select the next starting line-uo based on the existing/available players at that point of time.

      Ben

  6. It was always going to be an aperitif , before the main meal, but I quite enjoyed the no pressure, free flowing, one pass too many, step over, only in training stuff. Guns back on Tuesday.

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