Normal service resumes

So much for building on the Southend win.

OK, we tried hard after we went a goal down, and if Piggy had just been able to be at the right angle when through on goal, this report might be a little different this morning.

But Posh 1 Oiks 0 is yet another loss, and already any momentum has been stopped before it’s begun.

Unfortunately, last night provided a dose of reality that is unpleasant to swallow – there is too little quality throughout the whole of it.

I’ll come back to that, but all you need to know about this latest zero points is that we were trying to sit tight but could have easily been two goals down before the break. We rode our luck. But their goal was a decent strike, albeit aided and abetted by the usual slack marking.

Yet to be fair, it did wake us up a bit, and all of a sudden we got into them a little bit and even aimed a couple of headers at them. Misplaced, but you can’t have everything. Pigott got a break, but he was too indecisive at the worst time and the chance was gone.

As is so usual, we couldn’t sustain that burst of energy for anything longer than 15 minutes, and Peterborough were able to see out the game. And it’s then you realise just how work the new boss needs to do in just over a month’s time.

And no, I don’t know who it is. In fact, I’ll even go so far as to suggest he won’t be selected by the time we face Halifax this Saturday.

There are a couple of rays of light. Firstly, we’re not going to play top five sides like Peterborough each week, and our survival this season (which is still very possible, but it will depend on what happens in January 2019) will rely on what we do against the Rochdales, and the Plymouths and the Wycombes.

And we’re also lucky that we do have the window of opportunity to at least try and make some difference. Which may still end up being enough, given that like previous seasons, this division isn’t that good.

But these are opportunities that we must take, and so far we haven’t shown much ability to do exactly that.

A couple of other thoughts about the game. We have nothing resembling a midfield, although you’ve known that for a good while. The Pig was effectively on his own up top and was only helped when Appiah came on.

Oh, and he lasted about four minutes before he started limping again. And we’d used all of our subs by that stage.

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that our ball retention is shite, ditto our crossing. And the disjointed feel to it all will shock nobody. Simply put, we look like a team down the bottom, and more people are starting to lose faith…

Plus points: Showing a little sign of life after going 1-0 down.

Minus points: We lost yet again. Barely looked like scoring for most of the game. Midfield. Painful lack of quality.

The referee’s a…: Didn’t give us too much.

Them: Stuck in second gear for much of the game, but ultimately that’s all they needed. Must have thought they weren’t going to score despite our two gifts to them, before they actually did find the net.

Did get a bit rattled when we found our ten minutes of looking like an actual Wimbledon team, and weren’t adverse to finding themselves on the floor, breaking up play.

Peterborough are a bit of a strange club. They’re not “small”, in the Wycombe sense. They’ve got a fantastic catchment area (according to Peterborough Dave of the now defunct SW19 comments section, there’s no other EFL club within about fifty miles), yet there were a lot of empty seats about.

And this was with free tickets going to local schools.

They’ve been in the Championship, indeed your editor covered their games against Middlesbrough and Palace to name but two, have two decent looking new stands, but you sense are destined to be in L1 for a while to come.

Or in other words, they may be the club we eventually become at NPL…

Point to ponder: Isn’t everything right now down to some horrendous forward planning?

The squad that got us from L2 to L1 was a good one, although it had a limited shelf-life beyond Wombley. That became obvious half-way during the first season after getting promoted.

The warning signs were even as far back as Chesterfield (the headline says it all), so it’s pretty damning that we’ve barely improved since that day in January 2017.

As somebody behind me said just before the end last night, we’ve done nothing about the goalscoring in two years.

We could get away with that for the first season, but since then we’ve had about four or five windows of disjointed, incoherent transfer policy. And right now, it’s likely going to cost us our L1 place, three years after we got it.

Yes, we don’t quite have the resources etc etc, but in that instance you have to be even more astute and careful, and instead we’ve ended up being practically negligent.

And you think of the players we had, how some of them were turfed out yet are still doing OK in L1 (Fuller, Akinfenwa, Shea).

It’s not just the obvious ones like Taylor or Reeves – even Bulman springs to mind here. Imagine him in the current squad? He’d rip Trotter and Soares apart.

There may not be so many Dannie Bulman types about so much, but they’re definitely there in the lower reaches. Academies from the Championship and Premier League don’t like their youth products to have a personality, after all.

And while the newly installed Notts County manager has to shoulder a lot of the blame for that – he wasn’t nearly as clever as he thought he was – he’s definitely not alone in that.

So where are we going with this? As last night confirmed to many, the new boss is going to have to seriously make a mark on this lot from the off, because he’s got until February 2019 to break the circle of failure we’re now in.

Even two or three good signings in just over a month will make a little bit of difference. Especially if there’s an actual plan that has its groundings in the real world…

Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) 4h30 to get there, 1h50 to get back. Wasn’t just the weather that was vile. 2) Being told to sit down by two stewards. At twenty-five minutes before kickoff, and nobody around me. To be fair to the female steward, she looked at me very embarrassed afterwards and did say “sorry”.

Anything else? The Football Club Board (FCB) really has to get this appointment right, because its own reputation for competence isn’t what it was.

In the past, it’s more or less got new manager decisions right (it’s been holding onto them for far too long that’s been the issue), but right now there’s a definite edgy feeling to who they will appoint.

The fear seems to be another conservative appointment who won’t change things that much, although you wouldn’t end up surprised if that’s exactly what we end up doing.

As the FCB makes that final decision though, it has to realise just how much shit we’re currently in. Keeping things similar to what they are will simply relegate us, and it will be them who will carry the can for that.

If they haven’t enjoyed things up until now, they’re really going to hate it when they get blamed for us playing Mansfield and Crawley next season.

But can it cope with somebody who’s a bit “bolder” in personality? Who will want to change things a bit more? To be honest, I’m not sure, and that’s what worries me.

That’s not an automatic endorsement of Wally Downes, by the way, and it’s interesting to note that last night, just as it was at Doncaster, there’s a bit of a lukewarm reaction to his name getting mentioned.

Whoever it is needs to be allowed to be bold, to shake things up as they see fit, and that includes retaining or getting rid of personnel. Because at this moment, it’s about the club’s survival in L1 and nothing else…

So, was it worth it? No.

In a nutshell: SNAFU.