What’s the expression about hope being worse to deal with than despair?
While I’m sure many if not most of us expected zilch out of Plough Lane 1 The Valley 2 beforehand, to be on the wrong end of a last minute goal somehow feels just one body-blow too often.
And is probably the first nail in our League One coffin.
There’s defeats like Fleetwood and Burton, that are simply disgusting to stomach. There’s the Barnsley 4-1 types that you just have to put your hands up afterwards. But we played (mostly) well, and still got nothing.
Couple that with results going against us elsewhere, and the gap widening to seven points again, it’s no wonder there was such a deflated air of resignation afterwards.
Today is a kick in the bollocks with a size-nine steel toecap. The elation after Tuesday has gone into this again, and unlike Rochdale we get a whole week to lick our wounds again.
No, losing these sort of fixtures aren’t going to relegate us, but you had to think we needed a point today minimum.
And we started very well. Folivi was in the right place at the right time, and the last two victories in the league looked like continuing. But boy, did we pay for not netting the second goal…
Charlton equalising wasn’t really a surprise. And if I’m being honest, I wasn’t really that gobsmacked that we went behind – it’s just the timing that really stings right now.
There were plenty of warning signs about our fragility at the back on Tuesday, and it caught up with us in the worst way possible.
I made a note of the following at Spotland, didn’t use it in the last report for reasons that will become obvious, but an observation that makes too much sense right now – we badly, badly needed somebody who could take the game by the scruff of the neck for us.
If we’d had a Darius or Fuller out there today, chances are we wouldn’t have lost it. The former in particular would have knocked a few heads together for that vital last few minutes.
And while there’s a long list of reasons why we’ll probably be in L2 next campaign, that’s one of the biggest ones.
Their second goal came because of a refusal to properly clear it on our part, and their first was just weak. Especially from a set piece.
The lesser spotted Hanson came on for the impressive Folivi (and I’m not sure why Pigott stayed on instead), and it’s fair to say he looks ring rusty. Like Appiah, one wonders if his constant injury issues will play on his mind.
Other than that, I’m not really sure what else to say. I think we’re a better side than what we were** but today just reconfirmed why we’ll likely be at Crewe and St Evenage next season.
** – I’m not going to ruin my weekend by watching it again, but your editor discovered the Harringey FAC game blocking up my Sky planner, so started copying it onto DVD before I went out.
Walter doesn’t always get it right, and I think he should have kept our goalscorer on today, but I’d rather watch a re-run of today than the horror show back then. At least I feel we’re now going in the right direction, albeit slowly and too late for this season.
While writing this, the post game comments from WD came up and he sounded unsurprisingly fed up. There are many, many people who are looking forward to the summer, and I suspect he’s one of them…
Plus points: Good first half. Folivi finding the net. Carrying on where we left off from Rochdale (in a good way).
Minus points: We lost. Shit goals to concede. Found it increasingly harder to hold on.
The referee’s a…: Was on our side for a while, giving us free kicks and whatnot. All of a sudden though, after he sent off Bowyer, it changed. After that, it was almost like he remembered he was going for a drink with him afterwards and acted accordingly.
Them: We probably won’t be in L1 next season, but having seem them today and against Blackpool, I expect they will be.
Got stronger as we got weaker, and it seemed inevitable that they would go ahead. Their keeper loved giving it the big one at the end, though in true shithouse style he made sure he was a long way away before acting like he’d won the World Cup.
Taylor got pretty much ignored, until he did what happened so often for us by falling to the floor for their equalising free kick. Then he got booed. Other than that, he was pretty much kept quiet by Nightingale.
Not afterwards though, he came and applauded us and we replicated in kind. There’s a massive appreciation what he did for us, without him we would have been in League Two this season. The issues around his departure are much more down to managerial decisions.
Oh, and Purrington played as well. Think everyone forgot he was with us until January.
There is a bit of a pikey element following them, and it didn’t entirely surprise me to hear of something happening around Homersham Road/Gloucester Road afterwards…
Point to ponder: What is it with Kingsmeadow?
I think we’ve only had four wins there all season (somebody else can count, I can’t be bothered) and the players must hate playing there as much as we generally do watching.
There’s a whole list of things wrong with this season, but home form has to be up there. Anyone who only gets to games in KT1 – and that’s probably the majority – has been let down by constant shiteness.
True, the Theme Park KM label (the place where all visitors go home happy) has existed as far back as non-league days, but apart from WHU in the FAC – when was the last genuinely good time at KM?
Franchise in the 2-0? That was a couple of seasons ago, and I’m genuinely struggling to think of too many other games where our own fans left in a good mood.
And while the atmosphere can be quiet, it wasn’t lacking today (especially the rip-off of “Waterfall” that Yernited sing).
I know that next season will be the last full campaign there, and we simply cannot wait for the moving out date, but we still have to make it through until then.
And I could write a lot about how even going to L2 grounds make us (literally) look like we’re in a non-league ground, but that should be working to our advantage – not our detriment.
So why don’t we? To be honest, I don’t know. Pretending it’s like old Plough Lane doesn’t work, because it’s nowhere near being like it. That place was special, more so after we were shipped to Selhurst, and KM is a pale imitation.
Perhaps there’s an expectancy that we have to win games there, and in recent seasons we haven’t had enough character to do that. There’s a belief that we should be going for all-out attack, and it backfires when we don’t play at least two up front.
Even with big questions over our character, though, we should still be doing (much) more than we have been.
Or it really could be simply a case that we don’t really want to be there. Very few people “love” KM, if anyone. The views are awful on the terracing, on the Chemflow too, and I’m surprised we’ve even been allowed to get away with the RyPiss as long as we have.
It’s uncomfortable and crowded, not in a good way either, and it’s always felt like somebody else’s ground – it’s never properly been “home” and that’s becoming more acute as NPL draws nearer.
If you’re a player, knowing you’ve got to go to a venue akin to a rabbit hutch can’t be particularly motivating. It worked in non-league, but professional footballers have a much different mentality.
Whatever the answer is, it needs to be thought of – and before next season. We could just groundshare with Palace again, of course…
Truth is stranger than fiction: Warm. Almost spring like, until you realised that there’s still two months until Easter.
Anything else? Not really, but I think the whole post-game deflation said it all. Wonder what the mood will be if we’re relegated at a home game…?
So, was it worth it? Nope.
In a nutshell: That sinking feeling returns.