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Angels with the scabbed wings Do not adjust your expensive LCD monitor, this really is an SW19 match report. OK, so I didn’t write it, but it’s worth reading.

My own $0.02. The fact that I’ve literally spent all morning trying to think of something different to write (ie something that doesn’t reflect on how we can’t keep a lead, or the rammifications of keeping DA, or sacking him now, or releasing him at the end of the season) is telling in itself.

What is new and signficant is there is now real discontent about, more than I’ve seen for a long while. Has the collective patience worn thin? Guess we’ll find out soon enough, it’s November after all. And that’s when quite a few people were going to pass judgement. If anything, we’re in the worst position ATM. We’re not out of anything yet – a couple of wins and we’ll be up there again – but people are starting to entertain the thought – even very briefly – that it ain’t going to happen this season. Have we written ourselves off even in November? If so, it’s time to change your underpants. Personally, I think we’re heading towards a watershed moment. Something is going to happen, maybe soon, but sometime this season. What it’ll be I don’t know, but it’s worth sticking around to find out.

Anyway… Q: What’s the definition of frustration?
A: A man who has a house with one wife, two daughters and only ONE bathroom!

Well, frustration was certainly order of the day as Dirty Faces 2 Angels 3 proved that, like I sometimes suffer at home with that only one bathroom, you can’t always get into the room when you want to.

Now by rooms I mean areas of the pitch (I think the technical term is thirds?) where defence, midfield and attack operate. At times we occupied each with a degree of confidence, at others sheer panic set in. But though this was a highly entertaining, exciting game of football (credit to TA here again for not just coming to defend) it left most of the crowd still wondering when it is all going to come together. But at least we saw some glimpses of the Holy Grail, particularly towards the end of the first half. Indeed, half-time interrupted the momentum and put us all back in frustration mode: frustration with a sporadic midfield; frustration with TA players walking through tackles; frustration with a wobbly defence; and frustration with a ref determined not to be swayed by a home crowd. And, to cop it all, another crazy ‘own-goal’ to hand the 3pts to TA!

But frustration leads to anger and some of the locals were revolting – but enough of one or two loudmouths in the main stand 😉

But was it justified? Well yes (a bit) and no (a lot). Today was a match of so many emotions, a roller coaster of a ride: cautious optimism at the start (we’d beaten them); resignation (at their first goal); joy at our goals (both of them); and a touch of appreciation of our play, particularly towards the end of that 1st half. But it dissolved into disappointment and frustration, as we couldn’t quite make that extra step up to secure the points in an even 2nd half. We’d been seduced by Jermaine Darlington’s curling shot against the cross-station; by Scott Fitzgerald’s enthusiasm (yes, really and he also had a mean turn of speed); but frightened by the fragility of defence, again left exposed by our midfield. The only plus point seemed to be Watson finding his feet until his untimely departure through injury. Yet listen to the crowd and you’d hear the plaudits for Watson interspersed with the “For god’s sake get him off!” We’re a fickle crowd us fans.

What is worrying was how if any of our players made a mistake it was like it was the end of the world! Never mind the TA player might have made a great tackle, or shielded the guy away; it was the AFCW player’s fault. Hell, playing for us he should be perfection personified.


The TA players made as many mistakes as ours throughout the game but they weren’t chastised as being inept (even by our fans). Why can’t some of our fans accept the human nature of our players, and therefore not berate him at his first mistake? I vividly recall this happening to Watson who, 20 mins in made his first ‘poor’ pass. What did the guy in the stand shouting at him want him to do? NOT pass it? Go on, give us a clue? Hell it seems like some main standers thin this is a life-sized version of Football Manager 2006.

Our fans want it both ways and they want it now. Attacking football and excellent defence. Now DA has gone on record to say the attacking has been worked on, and I think we saw that today. But change takes time. We still have that problem of sorting out the balance between attacking midfield and defensive midfield. That must be next for his coaching sessions for god’s sake.

Anyway, to the bits you really like to read:

Plus points: Jermaine Darlington, more chances than usual; best performances so far from Sweeney & Watson (at home); Fitzgerald looking interested and scoring

Minus points: Luke Garrard’s injury*; TA not running out of steam this time; Watson’s injury just before the winning goal; poor conversion rate on chances created. Losing, of course.

The referee’s a …: refused two stonewall penalties and missed a kick-out at Barnes. Gave TA most of the key decisions. Was told by my ref-assessor friend that the lunge at Darlington in the 1st half warranted a red – ref obviously decided not contact, no foul. Wrong. Don’t know why linesmen were there – ref never used them.

Them: Certainly the most adventurous side to visit KM, and, as seen, no single match flash in the pan. Their no 10 – John Main – I thought in both games has been awesome. Don’t think we’ve got the £120K transfer fee reportedly asked for by their Chairman before they show interest in transferring him. But it was the team effort that stood out – supporting the front two, covering the pitch the whole time and often knowing where to play the ball even when the player wasn’t there. Spot the difference?

Point to ponder: 1) When was the last time we saw ‘essentially’ 3 own-goals in two games? Surreal, be masochistic and watch the last one on DonsOnline! 2) That’s 3 goals conceded without Steve Butler in the defence? Time to bring him back, or was it a case of ‘it didn’t matter who was there?’ 3) Did we just have bad luck today like we had good luck in the Trophy game? Or is luck given or earned?

Truth is stranger than fiction: Why do we always seem to lose in front of ‘bigger’ crowds? Why is it we stop being left in the changing room at the beginning of the 2nd half only to be left there at the beginning of the 1st?

Anything else: Didn’t hear much talking on the pitch today. Do you think the players went to the Silent Auction in the back bar and forgot they could talk once outside? Also noticed DA was relatively ‘late’ arriving today – did that disrupt the pre-match routine at all?

So was it worth it? Well we said we wanted goals, so who are we to have the right to complain when we’ve seen 10 between these two teams?

In a nutshell: Work in progress

* Sidelined before the game we certainly missed his drive at times – oh and the possibility of another wonder goal! (And I am not just saying this as a sock sponsor)