Next time you go to the Football Cliche dictionary, look up “game of two halves” and chances are you’ll see a snapshot of Maldon 0 Morden 2 next to it. If this is what we’re going to expect this season, you might as well stay in the bar until half time for the next 40 odd games.
Last night, in the first half, we looked ragged. A team with a better striker than Maldon would probably have put the game out of reach even before the half time cuppa is poured. As for our attack, the only person more scared of crosses than we were was Jesus Christ. I shudder to think what DA said at HT, but if it had got any worse, the team could have been made to walk from junction 28 of the M25*
* – for the unitiated, said junction was gridlocked for well over 2 hours because of a lorry fire. I know this because I was stuck in said gridlock for 2 hours. It would have been nice for the radio traffic reports to have let everyone know about this slightly before the lorry was finally moved to the hard shoulder……….
Second half, we basically woke up, turned the screw and probably should have got more. OK, RB nearly scored right at the end of the first half, with an easier-to-score-than-miss type chance, and he did hit the post before finally netting (and that was about 15 miles offside), but it all seemed to click much more. I think we’re going to be a bit of a schizo team this season : world beaters one week, egg beaters the next.
In many ways, this feels a tad like the first season in the CCL. Not in terms of buying stadia, stuffing teams 100-0 etc, but the feet-finding exercise. We are all safe in the knowledge that there are at least two teams who could quite possibly stuff us. Fortunately, we don’t have to play one of those sorts of teams until ‘Rickay (or is it Heybridge Swifts?) in a month or so. This will give us plenty of time to learn the finer points of football, like how to play for 90 minutes instead of 45.
Of course, if you want a more detailed description, including exclusive interviews and analysis from DA and Colin Wallington (the Maldon manager), buy the NLP on Friday. You genuinely have no excuse whatsoever……..
Anyway, enough of that pontificating bullshit. Here’s….
Plus points: The second half
Minus points: The first half.
The referee’s a…..: Well, did he do much wrong?
Them: Maldon is one of the better parts of Essex. What that means I’m not too sure – does it mean that the women wait until they’re 14 before they start breeding, or the chavs wait to smoke their first fags at 11? Nice hosts, nice looking banqueting suite, team could cause a lot of problems for a few high-fliers. All it needs is an easier way to get to and I may even put them down as one of my more favoured teams this season 🙂
Song sung blue: I wouldn’t say that a less than favourable geographical position had any effect on our travelling support, but I don’t think I have ever heard “Where the fucking hell are we?”, “Small town in nowhere” and “We’ve got a station, you ain’t” at a game before. Just wait until we go to some hovel north of Watford.
Point to ponder: As pointed out last night : we’re now in a division where the football is at a serious level, and not just about “named” clubs like Dulwich and T&M. Question is, are we learning how to handle it quicker or slower than we first expected? Guess the first big test, Slough away on Saturday, will answer that…
Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) In a Merstham-esque act, burgers were being sold for Â£1 at the end of the game. Actually damn fine they were, and they had more meat than the KM equivalent. Then again, so does the Linda McCartney range. (2) Floodlights weren’t much. God help the AFCW photographic department. (3) Probably the most distorted PA system since Jimi King’s dulcet tones penetrated through the good old South Stand. (4) Speaking of PL, I’m told Maldon’s sponsor bought our spiritual home off Safeway. I’m sure there’s a level of irony there, I just haven’t figured out how high yet.
Anything else? Remember for the last report how kewl it was that we’re on Sky Sports teleprinter now? Well, I think it’s just sunk in. For the first time since we got relegated to the first division Championship* I’ve put on SSN and checked the results and even the table – top half only, not that we need to know the bottom half – comes up now. H&R are doing all right. Somehow watching our results on mainstream telly feels right, if you see what I mean..
* – like just about any of us I have genuinely no idea where we finished, how we played etc etc in the last WFC season. Nor I suspect we gave a remote toss either.
So, was it worth it? Guess so.
In a nutshell: First banana skin avoided.
And finally: It’s quite possible that I won’t be at Slough. Anyone willing to see their scribes in print (cough), let me know. Getting others to write reports was a bit thin on the ground last season. Come on, it’s not like writing for the OS…