There were plenty of happenings at the Newport game. There was the cross-ferry crossing. There was the game, full of its incidents and happenings. And there was the coach journey back, featuring a dodgy red light, a mad dash for the ferry and all in all, our first trip outside the mainland UK since the Intertoto tie against Charleroi
Now, all this would be ripe for a classic SW19 report, wouldn’t it? Well, it would, except there’s a slight problem. I didn’t go. While you’re cancelling your bookmarks in response to this, I need to explain. In a nutshell – 8 hour flight, jetlag, -7C/20F daytime temperatures – you can stop your petty whining about how cold our games are – with 10″ of snow to boot, etc etc. And I didn’t fancy killing myself with yet another long journey.
Anyway, from all accounts, the game was fine. We won 2-1 and it was quite comfortable until they scored. Bit of panic stations but another three points is always useful. Like last season, the ability to keep winning in sticky patches paid dividends. Champions by Easter Monday? Don’t think so, but I would like to think our worst run is over.
Quite a few pissed people though, in both senses of the word. Obviously, alcohol is evil and should really be banned. But there were reportedly some anti-DA/Hendon comments for no reason. It is very possible that DA’s appointment at the expense of NE (and no doubt some unsolved issues still eminating from the TE fiasco) still rankles amongst some, and that is something that needs to be dealt with. But really, what’s the point? It has as much relevance as Man U fans still singing Eric Cantona’s name. Are we ever going to move forward?
Elsewhere, and more like limping forward as opposed to moving forward, is the tenure of Joe Sheerin at AFCW coming to an end? He’s gone on loan to Croydon Athletic (the link between JS’s career and the graveyard next to CA’s ground is merely coincidental) and DA’s OS comments are telling. Usual concilary things about getting fit and sharp are said, but this caught my eye:
“He and I are sick and tired of putting him in the side, only for him to break down again”.
To me, JS is the modern day equivalent of Terry Gibson, Jon Goodman and Gareth Ainsworth – players who we all knew could deliver but were blighted by injuries to the point it got stupid. Let’s be honest here – how many other players would have been given the opportunities he’s had? At the moment, we can afford to have JS and his occasional appearances. Get promotion and in present form, JS will become a liability.
Don’t get me wrong, I would love a fully fit JS to knock in 30 goals for us. I know that losing him would be very sentimental for many of our fans, I think he’s the last link from the original playing staff. But a fully fit JS would not be playing for AFCW, and it’s looking more likely that the reason why we got him will be the reason we will lose him…..
Meanwhile, rave reviews about this QPR loanee goalie still continue. In probably our most troublesome position playing wise, his arrival has clearly been welcome – witness the results and performances since he came south of the river. Expect him to now play very shit against Bashley on Saturday and people call for Danny Naisbitt to return.
Finally, and to stop Chalfont Don complaining, I am finally in a position to put up his Dulwich report. Yes, it’s a bit late, but this really was down to me not being on a computer for long enough. It has nothing to do with him using a Mac – I can open stuff on my humble PC quite OK as it goes.
(Actually, Macs aren’t bad machines, and if I did major graphic work, I would consider getting one. They’ve always been favoured by graphic designers and a certain type of computer geek. Worth the hype? Dunno, I get the feeling I could be disappointed by using one on a regular basis, especially one costing $1400 without any ability to upgrade easily…. )
Normal service resumed on Saturday, where I may even put up a new article. In the meantime…
[No images due to the technical difficultiy of not having a digital camera – at least I didnâ€™t forget it!]
Its just as well that the mandate for an SW19 match report doesnâ€™t include the need for copious detail on the game itself, as frankly Hamlet 0 Village 1 had as dull a first 70 minutes as any game that I can remember. Champion Hill managed to be freezing cold whilst providing a playing surface that you would normally expect to find next to a sea with lots of deckchairs and sun umbrellas stuck in it. Possibly as a result of those conditions, absolutely nothing happened in the first half except for a bout of petulent diving from the Dulwich no.9 who looked like a Serie A reject in need of a haircut. I was more than a little surprised to find out that he was in fact the Andrew Martin who was rumoured to be a Dons target in the Nicky English era.
Anyway, the second half bought an improvement in that I actually had something to write notes about; a couple of half chances and a near miss from Urse. Just as the huddled masses were about to return to their slumbers, the assistant referee took the unlikely step of actually assisting the referee. Unfortunately, it was to give a dodgy penalty to Dulwich after a tussle between Frankie and their forward. Step forward Mr Cole; the decision to borrow a proper goalkeeper from QPR looked very sensible when he pulled off a blinding save to keep out what was a well-struck penalty just inside his right-hand post.
Suddenly the crowd was awake and gradually the Dons began to exert some pressure as the game entered the last few minutes. An inspired substitution, bringing on Leon for Rands, led to Leon and Urse combining to send Butler (R) clear to clip the ball over the advancing keeper – cue mayhem behind the goal. There were a couple of nervous moments as we closed the game out (what appeared to be 10 minutes of injury time may have contributed to that), but finally we had escaped with all 3 points.
Thatâ€™s more than enough on the game, so…
Plus points: A win. Away. Tricky surface. (note: I used the Fleet report as a template and didnâ€™t have to change a word there).
Minus points: The extended periods of aimless hoofing and the complete inability to pass to one of our own players. That QPR will want Jake Cole back.
The referee’s a…..: fussy bastard. Kept warning players for swearing at him but gradually lost control of the game. Dismissed the penalty appeal and then gave it on his assistantâ€™s say-so.
Them: Not a lot you can say to insult a team that voluntarily plays in pink; although to my eyes it seemed to be an almost lillac hue. Reasonable pricing (Â£7/Â£3), nice thouâ€™ soulless ground and using the Xfm playlist were pluses; having a PA announcer who thought he was talking to his misbehaving children was merely odd. His highlight was to make an announcement halfway through the second half to â€œremind the ballboys that no football was to be played inside the groundâ€! No one had to remind the players on the pitch as they were sticking rigidly to those guidlines …
Quotes of the day: (1) â€œBring us back a couple of pastiesâ€ shouted at a ball boy climbing into Sainsburyâ€™s to retrieve a Row Z clearance. (2) â€œItâ€™s crap, innit?â€ – a fair summation of the first half by The Black Knight, showing his true Chav colours (well he IS from Croydon).
Weâ€™ve Got Information: You have to admire a programme that can give you details on all Ryman League fixtures and still has space to let you know that â€œRollinâ€™â€ by Limp Bizkit was number 1 four years ago today.
Point to ponder: Does grinding out a barely deserved 1-0 away win whilst playing poorly make us (a) lucky, or (b) champions elect ? With Horsham playing the Pigs next week then we could be looking at a Chelski-eque lead in the not too distant future.
Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) Not having a minuteâ€™s silence for the tsunami in Asia. I thought that they were obligatory now. (2) East Dulwich is north of North Dulwich, which in turn is west of West Dulwich. How the fuck I found the ground for kick-off is anyoneâ€™s guess.
Franchise watch: They lost. Good.
Anything else? Interesting to see that Mark Cooper has finally got fit enough for us to sign him. A Hendon supporting mate at work reckoned he and Butts were the first choice CBs with Frankie third in the pecking order, so hereâ€™s hoping he will help fill the Matty E shaped hole at the back for the rest of the year.
So, was it worth it? A win is a win, but Iâ€™d rather not have had my bollocks frozen off watching that first half …
In a nutshell: We are top of the league, say we are top of the league …