Anyone expecting the R1 to be a continuation of the CCL got that out of their system today. True, it finished Leafe 0 Tree 1 and kept us unbeaten, but the days of us going 1-0 up and the opposition capitulating are long, long gone. This was a tense, ugly game, full of tough challenges, not much fancy stuff, and some right niggly stuff to boot. The game itself was scrappy, and if I’m being honest there’s not a lot to write home about. Leafe hit the post in the first half, we seemed to leave our scoring boots at home. But in the second half, we got a corner, swung in for Matt E to head home. Although a draw would have been more of a fair reflection I guess. Wonder if the pressure of such a run is getting to the players?
For the record, we seemed to have sacrificed flair for pragmatism, and not everyone is happy. Here’s my $0.02 : we could play 11 in defence and as long as we keep winning I couldn’t give a shit. Only the most idealistic would expect us to slaughter each team we play with defence splitting 20 pass goals. As Leafe showed, they’re going to dig into us, stop us playing and try and nab a goal on the break themselves. Horsham nearly did that to us as well, and therefore we’re going to roll our sleeves up and get stuck in. Nope, it’s not pretty. Nope, it’s not going to sell many DVDs. But as any Chelski fan will gladly grunt, it’s better to win and bore than excite and lose. As it stands, we have a 100% record, when we could have easily been two games in the “loss” column. While we will lose soon, and I don’t fancy the fallout when we do, for now, we’re doing the right thing. All else is bullshit.
And on that note…
Plus points: A win. Away. Clean sheet. Coping well with tough conditions.
Minus points: Crap game. Ursell and Woolner going off injured.
The referee’s a…..: Didn’t lose control as much as the ref last Saturday, though that wasn’t difficult, and generally had an alright game. Didn’t seem to want to book many players though. Not that he was totally silent : during one melee he kept blowing his whistle like he was in the Notting Hill carnival. Then again, with the pushing and shoving going on, he must have thought he was in Notting Hill the rest of the time. Also, quote of the year from the lino on hearing comments from the Leafe bench : “Who taught you language like that?”.
Them: Nice hosts off it, organised well and it’s one of my more favourite grounds. Their manager’s teams are known as cloggers, and proved it today. So much so that when a sub came on he was being told to “try and keep within the laws of the game”. If they could shoot better they would have caused us trouble. Special mention must go to former AFCW player Andrew Petty, who really did live up to his name. It all seemed to happen at the end of the game : basically, he took his shirt off, gave it a Craig Bellamy-esque flex of muscle, as in a “do you know who I am you little shits?” manner. Yup, we know who you are. You were a former player who most of us forgot ever played for us, such was your contribution to AFCW. Just think, with a bit more talent and a more advanced IQ Petty could have been loved by 3000 fans. Still, he can go back to pouting like an irrelevant little canary in front of 200 odd middle class Times readers too busy doing the crossword.
Bench warfare: Stood behind the dugout and it’s really an experience. Firstly, every third word is “fucking”. Secondly, the interaction of the two benches was worth a section in itself. The Whyteleafe bench won the war of the words with the “It’s not all golden boots and backheels” comment and cemented it with a “Better than sitting at home having a barbeque” to a subbed player. Though one of their bench did call one of our fans an “irate poof” and did accuse the ref of playing to the crowd.
However, unfortunately DA let himself down with a rather stupid yet predictable comment to one of the Leafe bench – I know he’s a NI Rangers fan, and Ulster is full of retards at the best of times, but calling somebody a “Fenian cunt” is not on. Seriously, it’s fucking shit. Having experienced some stuff like that myself in Belfast, I can assure you it is not pleasant. The Leafe bench went spare, and TBH I don’t blame them. I know I was uneasy and so were a couple of others around me (you know who you are). They shook hands warmly after an apology from DA, and it was probably heat of the moment stuff, but as they said, we don’t need that Belfast shit here. Oh, and Nicky English asked me if I was a reporter…
Point to ponder (1): Why does Naisbitt have a phobia about catching the ball at corners? He seems to want to punch them away, causing a touch of the brown trousers. Note to Danny – you are a goalkeeper. You are not Amir Khan.
Spotted: Who were Newport IOW playing today? I’m sure I saw their coach on the way to the game.
Point to ponder (2): Are we turning up expecting to win games automatically? As said before, I really do not want to read the fallout when we do finally lose a game. It seems there are enough bitchy comments when we win, when we lose I fully expect Serbia and Croatia to offer joint peacekeeping forces to hold the warring AFCW fanbase apart.
Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) Didn’t those gliders landing at the nearest aerodrome look flimsy? (2) Nice of the local Skoda dealership to have a couple of cars on display for our visit. Especially mine, as I’m actually looking for a new (or nearly new) car. Skodas are nice cars, being VW built, but I really don’t think Â£12k for a car no bigger than my 12 year old Nissan Sunny is likely to entice my wallet. (3) Not noticing JS coming on in the first half. He sneaked on without me even noticing. Not only that, but he didn’t die of exhaustion after 5 minutes. (4) Weather going hot/cold/sunny/raining/hot again. And this in a 10 minute spell the first half.
Franchise watch: Urgh. They won at the FrenzyDome, beating Torquay 1-0 in front of 3,015 football starved loyalists. Torquay is the team of Helen Chamberlain who co-presents the completely unfunny Sucker AM on Sky. Wouldn’t surprise me if she went in, she looks like a seriously rough old slapper, and her Penthouse pics don’t do her any favours…
Anything else? Yeah. I scalped a ticket for Â£5.
Hello mum: Firstly, hello to the two (or was it three?) readers who I met today. Salutations, even if I didn’t know who you were 🙂 Secondly, apologies to the person who thinks I’m on permanent heat. I have honestly no idea why they should think that of me…
So, was it worth it? Well, it was a nice day out.
In a nutshell: Welcome to the real world of football again.