We’re still alive

And I’ve still got that “Wally’s at the wheel song” in my head.

OK, that particular chant was nicked lock, stock and two smoking barrels off Yernited, but after Dons 2 Dons 0 I think we could feel as happy as any away fan in the Parc des Princes was last week.

This might be yet another false dawn, too little too late, hope that kills you etc etc exercise, but by fuck did we need that.

It wasn’t a smash and grab either, although thankfully we had Ramsdale to (literally) save us a couple of times, but I can’t fault the guts of anyone this afternoon.

The OS report headline, where it states “breathes new life” into our survival hopes, isn’t that far off the mark to be fair. I think a loss would have finished us off once and for all, and a draw wouldn’t have been enough.

And yes, it’s demoralising to find out that everyone else above us won.

But the victory still gives this squad something. Walter himself mentioned it in his post-game interview, although I’m not sure if I’d want to “get on the bus” just yet.

And who cares if Doncaster had their Gareth Bale lookalike sent off? I don’t – christ, it’s nice we had a bit of good fortune on our side for once. And more importantly, taking advantage of it.

Up until then, it was standard fayre for much of this season. A lot of nothing, although Sibbick looked threatening on the flank at times (and nearly scored himself), and if anyone was going to score it would be them.

Although it had to be said, they were almost as ineffective up front as we are. I said “almost”…

Half time came and went, and I think we did get into it more. Not special, by any means, but you’ve known that for a good while.

I have to be honest, I didn’t see what Marquis did to get his first booking, but he really did look a dick with that hair.

We made changes, and after their goalie made a save – we scored. And a decent strike at that by Seddon. There are very few players I’ll miss after the season ends, but him and our keeper are two of them.

Needless to say, the goal meant Doncaster attacked us, and the last 20 odd minutes didn’t half go slowly. Not to mention the five minutes injury.

Well, it was until we finally doubled our lead and did what teams should do when they’re a man up at home. All hail Shane McLoughlin (and he’s actually ours), if only for giving everyone that sense of relief.

Including, it has to be said, the reaction on the bench. A fair bit of male bonding, and no doubt a few rainbow turbans will be worn next time they turn up to training…

Actually, while it’s all tempered by the knowledge we’ve got to have more of these kind of results, you can’t blame anyone for being in a good mood this weekend. I think we did deserve the win, if only because we knuckled down for it.

Luck? A bit, though I’ll take any little smidgen of it right now.

We have to go again Tuesday and repeat that same feat, then Saturday at Southend. But we’re seven points off safety, still not insurmountable, and if we could just catch Bradford up before long….

Plus points: We won. Clean sheet. Deserved the win. Kalambayi. Seddon’s goal. McLoughin’s goal. Ramsdale.

Minus points: Still too little cutting edge. First half. Everyone around us in the table winning.

The referee’s a…: To quote the bloke behind me, when we had a possible penalty waved away, “you wouldn’t have given it anyway if it was”. On the plus side, he did send their player off, although he definitely deserved the sarcastic applause when he finally gave us a free kick.

Them: If/when we go down, one of the harder things to take will be how ordinary much of the division this season is.

Donny are sixth, but they didn’t look significantly better (and don’t forget they also lost 2-0 at Shrewsbury). In fact, for a side pushing for the playoffs, I thought they’d practically pulverise us late on.

True, Marquis getting dismissed didn’t help them (and Ramsdale couldn’t suppress a laugh after the dismissal, when he turned his back on the ref), but it’s good that for once somebody else happens to be even shittier up front than we are.

Decent turnout from them (550 or so), although I expect they’ll be watching League One football next season. Will we…?

Point to ponder: And a sort-of follow up to the bit above regarding how L1 isn’t all that – don’t you just wish right now that we could just have about two or three extra points?

I know what will kill us was the hemorrhaging between September and November (and I’d forgotten about today’s return fixture at Keepmoat until I read the SW19 report from that day). Without that, we wouldn’t be in the trouble we’re currently in.

But even now, you wonder what might have been if we just got something out of Fleetwood, or Burton, or kept our nerve against Charlton just a few more minutes.

No, clubs don’t go down because of those games but you’re just left with the thought of “if only”.

That we’re still not dead and buried is one thing, but even just knowing that one or two results really could have made the difference is something, I suppose.

It’s more frustrating, needless to say, but you do wonder what the players still have in their proverbial locker. Games like today, and Rochdale/Walsall, and even Shrewsbury have to give them a bit more hope.

Win against Peterborough on Tuesday (and they lost to Bradford today), and then you really do start to believe. But as we all know, it’s the hope that will ultimately kill us…

Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) Our first league win at KM since Boxing Day. It’s also your editor’s first witnessing of a home win since….. Oxford. You have no idea how strange this evening feels for me. 2) How stupid things are right now – our current form is close to (if not actual) playoff form. 3) Is it true that the resubmitted plans to LBM for NPL have been approved? Either way, it would be nice of the club to actually tell us. There’s no need to keep that kind of thing secret, but as we all know – it’s easier to get Appiah fit than for AFCW to give out information…

Anything else? Yes, we have a new Head of Recruitment – well, sort of.

Nick Daws is going to be in charge of it until the end of the season, and I think like Steven Reid helping out Bassey, this is one of these holding-the-fort type appointments.

I assume we’ll appoint it permanently come the summer, but at least they’ll be taking charge of a position that needed to be created at least a year ago – let alone now.

Daws is a Northerner, although I think he was at QPR around the same time as Walter. But this is a positive step in the right direction.

I know it’s been in the pipeline since even before WD got here, and I think the delay was Walter wanting his own man for this job. But there’s no denying it – our scouting and recruitment has been shit.

As somebody said to your editor today, our previous regime more or less selected players on how well they performed against us.

True, Bassey did have his own database, but this seems much more beefed up. We have limited spending power, and we need to utilise that as much as possible, so you almost have to spend as much money on scouting as you do players.

And it’s not just waiting until the summer and seeing who is available – you have to know who is out there in March (and earlier) before you can pounce for them in June.

Ever wondered why other clubs (even those with smaller budgets than us – yes, they really do exist) seem to get better players from Prem academies? I would guess it’s because they have scouts being there for many/most games, knowing who is around, and making themselves known.

Previously, there’s been a real sense that we’ve waited for players to come to us, and we panic when they don’t. But have we got down to these games and start persuading the right people that a soon-to-be-released player should give AFCW a call?

That’s how you get a wider selection of players to begin with – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

The players WD has got in since January (perhaps not Ramsdale as he was being lined up anyway, apparently) have been pretty decent. Two of them scored today, after all. But they’ve come because there’s been a wider net cast already.

We may be going down, and there might be some sniggering in certain quarters when I say this, but we are a professional football club. Getting Daws in might be standard stuff for a club our size – but it proves how much things have slipped when it feels revolutionary…

So, was it worth it? Certainly was.

In a nutshell: We can’t, can we?