Leaking Gas

Is the season now over and I’ve only just found out?

This is SW19’s first actual update since we beat Rochdale, and I don’t think anyone has missed anything since then.

As you could tell, nobody could be arsed to send a report from the Potteries, and I think many already put Brizzle Rovers out of their mind and decided to enjoy the weather instead. Not that I blame them.

One suspects the players have taken exactly the same approach too.

TBH, when we went a goal down after eleven (ELEVEN) seconds, I had that gut feeling that we weren’t going to get anything. We’ve effectively stopped playing, or at the very least gone back to the beginning of the season.

We had difficulty scoring, let alone winning, back then. And since Franchise a month ago now we’ve only found the net in one game (Rochdale). Hell, we even played Darius Charles up front, apparently.

NA’s train-them-hard approach failed in just a few more seconds than it will take you to read this sentence. One wonders what pre-game preparations will be like this week, especially as IIRC we don’t have much of a good record over Easter.

One can guess our boss must have been in a foul mood, if Neil Cox did the post-game interview afterwards. And this week may not be a good time for a player to ask about a pay rise…

I could go on further about why we’re falling away quicker than Jordan Spieth’s challenge in the Masters, but the trouble is that it doesn’t really matter any more.

A cursory glance at the league table suggests why. OK, there’s the whole finishing above Franchise thing, and while that would be nice you would have to be dangerously obsessed for it to ruin your summer.

And yes, I know a few of our fans are definitely that 😉

The playoffs are now gone, not that we were realistically in them to begin with. Looking behind us, we’re literally a game away from mathematical safety. And judging by comments over the weekend by Port Vale fans, we may not even need to worry about that.

So as you can predict, these final four games are practically dead rubbers. Watching them is going to be a social occasion and not much else besides, although in a way I’m quite enjoying the thought of losing and it not actually matter.

Though it would be nice to round off the season with a couple of wins. Just to send us into the close season with a bit of a smug glow…

I guess we can treat ourselves to looking at who we’ll be playing next season. Sheffield United are up, and to be honest they were by far and away the best team in L1 this season. We don’t escape going to south Yorkshire next season though, as Rotherham are down and Doncaster are up.

At least the Keepmoat will be a new ground for the vast majority of us. And it doesn’t look too far to the station for everyone to get to and, more importantly, get away from quickly.

Chances are we’ll be seeing Plymouth and Pompey again, unless they do the most spectacular of chokes (and you still wouldn’t put it past either one of them). As for who gets our L2 playoff trophy, maybe even Luton or St. Evenage, though many will be wanting Blackpool to have a purple patch…

Championship? We’ve mentioned the Millers, and Wigan will be an interesting one, but like Sheffield United and Bolton this season – we’ll be going full circle if Blackburn go down. Christ, remember when they bought won the Premier League..?

6 thoughts to “Leaking Gas”

  1. I thought that once we were effectively safe, if Neal was going to take an experimental approach it would be with blooding younger players, not with his own tactics. We played three at the back against Southend and it failed, with Will Nightingale looking particularly uncomfortable. We started with three at the back against Rovers and ditto. I certainly don’t blame Will. He has the instincts and the pace of a centre half playing at the centre of a four and our wing backs are far too slow to provide additional cover. Add to that the reckless triple substitution that caused us problems against Rochdale and I wonder if success (and this season has been a success) hasn’t affected Neal’s judgement.

  2. Rob – missed the last 2 games (fortunately) but happy to report from Swindon on Friday.

    For me the season ended with the win against franchise so not surprised by our results and (non) performances since then.

    Interesting down the bottom there….. Gills don’t look like they’ll get another point and Port Vale may not either with their run-in (Sheff Utd & Bolton at home and away to Walsall, Oxford and Fleetwood).

    1. As it’s Volunteers game you’re very likely to be reporting another loss or if we are really lucky maybe a draw

  3. Let’s give BR credit for an excellently worked goal first.
    Then though we didn’t score I dont think they had another real chance all game.
    We did – half chances as described on the BBC report.
    But were the Charles and Kelly chances more than half chances?
    Wrong guys in the right place.
    It felt just one of those games: very like Southend.
    Like what I saw of Egan but already I fear NA’s influence has blunted a natural instinct to attack. Once in the first half had a clear opportunity to go forward into space but checked back.
    Have a growing list for NA next season on why we do these things

    1. Re your comment on Egan, Cox’s interview with the BBC* after Brizzle mentioned that ‘he [Alfie] ran forward too early, he was getting forward too quickly and stopping the ball getting to the forwards”. Sounds rather formulaic play-by-numbers. I remember Lyle at one point in the second half running forward with the ball and gesturing others to get up with him, which they didn’t, or not quickly enough. Coincidence?

      * https://audioboom.com/posts/5799193-listen-afcw-neil-cox-left-really-disappointed-after-failing-to-deliver-on-the-hard-work-put-in-this-week if links aren’t acceptable on here, Google BBC Radio Sport audioboom Neil Cox. It’s longer and more informative than the equivalent interviews posted on our OS

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