Planet Plastic

Thank you AFC Wimbledon for ruining my weekend. And it’s not even Saturday…

It’s very rare that we get a Friday night fixture. It’s even rarer for your editor to do an update so soon after an evening game, especially when I’m supposed to be up and working tomorrow.

But we’ve lost to Franchise. And right now, I am pissed off in a way I haven’t been for a long while.

For the last couple of updates, this place (and probably others as well) has been saying that this is the game you simply don’t play badly in. It might almost be funny the way this felt inevitable, if it wasn’t so, you know…

It’s bad enough those cuntstains were celebrating like they’d won the World Cup. They reminded me of Chelmsford (remember them?). But it wasn’t like they even had to work hard at it. When we give away an own goal after seven minutes, you just know that it was going to be one of those nights.

I’m not going to bother going through their second goal. Nor will I mention us hitting the bar. And as for Taylor’s penalty…

Nothing positive came out from tonight. We ran around a lot, but we didn’t have much of a game plan. Those of a certain vintage may remember us playing Manchester United in the FA Cup at Selhurst, when we came out all psyched up and subsequently lost 3-0.

Tonight, I felt exactly the same as that night over two decades ago.

There was a painful lack of skill, and more worrying a complete lack of ideas and cohesion. Somebody around me said that we’d lost the game when we were 1-0 down, and unfortunately they were right.

Where was the AFCW that we saw glimpses of against Gills and won at Ewood Park? Why have we reverted to horrific type after just two games? Are we simply being found out, and we can’t seem to do anything about it?

Actually, there is a positive, if you can call it such. At least the scales fell from our collective eyes this evening. The reality is, we’re simply not good enough, and something fundamental has to change.

That may sound a bit of a post-game over-reaction, but you can’t stick your head in the sand here – we were poor. Worryingly poor too.

Franchise were bigger and stronger, and were clearly not willing to have their underpants pulled down like they were in March. It was as though being humiliated like they were galavanised them, but even so – they weren’t that much better than we were.

The difference is, they don’t gift goals like we do.

Once again, the Fuller/Robbo combination will push us back into L2, because teams have already sussed that it’s our weak link, and if you exploit often enough you will score against us. It’s happened too many times this season already for it to merely be a blip.

It’s no coincidence that we looked better (relatively speaking) when Nightingale and Deji were at the back. However, our Will was injured, apparently, and we get Robbo – a great servant who unfortunately has seen better days and should only be used sparingly.

Actually, I’ve found another positive from tonight, and it’s a genuine one – Darius is back, and by fuck we need him. No, he should never be the target man that we failed to sign, but for a team that went back to its character-free old self again, we’re going to need him more than ever.

If he had started tonight, would we be in such a collective bad mood? Impossible to say, but you can’t say he would have made things worse.

Oh, and what must Harry Forrester be thinking? I know he’s got to get fit for the 90 minutes, but fucking hell – just start him and take him off after an hour if he can’t last that long. I wouldn’t be surprised to see we lose him in January because we don’t play him often enough for Sevco’s liking.

We’ve lost Kwesi, and unfortunately neither Taylor nor McDonald came close to scoring. And yes, I include the penalty in that – Taylor’s body language in the run-up wasn’t good, and if you study penalty shootouts, you can make good guesses as to who nets them and who doesn’t.

If we had made it 1-2, then the last 20 or so minutes may have been very interesting indeed. But we knew deep down the game had been lost once that happened…

Where do we go from here? I honestly don’t know. We can only use the sports shrink sparingly, and within the space of ninety minutes tonight his input has already been undone in the worst possible way.

We might be able to defend if we get the right personnel playing. We certainly can’t score, and that’s got worse after tonight with Appiah’s injury. If we had some resemblance of a game plan, I would understand if it doesn’t always (OK, usually) come off, but we don’t even seem to have that.

This weekend is going to hurt, for very obvious reasons. I hope the management, and players are equally anguished as much as the fans are, because they fucking well ought to be. To lose against Franchise is one thing, to gift them the win is unforgivable…

Tonight was the first time I’ve seen them play us in the flesh. I think I’ll fuck off back to Ireland for future games against them, because that’s what I did in March and that worked out very well (though there is a rare bit of good news this evening – I will be flying between Orlando and NYC LaGuardia airport when we go to the Frenzydome in January. A guaranteed 4-0 win…).

I have to be honest here, I had very mixed feelings, although by the time I got to KM and had a pint of Guinness I was actually OK with it. Indeed, I was surprised how “normal” it was, although there was a more notable edge to it than usual.

I have never seen people as pissed off as they were at half time, though.

Have we moved on with them? Yes we have, and the reaction tonight isn’t too dis-similar to other grudge matches where one team simply doesn’t turn up and perform. That doesn’t make it any easier to swallow, of course, and the ill-feeling this will cause won’t go away any time soon.

We urgently need a good result (not just performance) against Sarfend on Tuesday and against Rochdale next Saturday, because if we don’t, the disparaging comments I heard tonight will get louder and more widespread.

Not to mention failing to react will definitely get the alarm bells ringing.

I’m not going to bother doing a “proper” SW19 report for this. I lost my pen on entry and didn’t have a spare, and I’m not sure what else to say anyway right now. If you want to do one yourself, just email me one and I’ll put it up on Sunday.

Oh, and the comments section remains closed. I’ve had enough of gloating Frenzy customers for one lifetime…