So, I make it to a game for once, and what did I see? Well, actually Airbus A350s 1 Spitfires 1 wasn’t too bad at the end. I say at the end, because for the first half hour we really did look like a team sans la confiance. A couple of AL saves here, a lucky clearance or two, and I thought I would be writing my own post mortem about the game, our season and in some way, our club.
Yet things picked up, Jermaine Darlington started to cross wide and I think we may have even come close once. We do however seem to be the Liverpool of the Ryman Premier at the moment, insofar as we can’t score much either. And not because our captain is the subject of a vicous Chinese whispering campaign*
* – story about Gerrard might be in a national newspaper tomorrow, or it might not. Too libellous for me to put on here, though even Alan Green apparently mentioned about “something” involving him recently. Gerrard, not Green.
Anyway, you would have thought that things would have changed for the better for us. Their #9 got sent off and sure enough, we might have fancied it then. Dreams of the higher division side struggling against the minnows full of vitality, vigour and spunk were starting to be as vivid as the increasingly threatening skies above. Except they suckerpunched us 30 seconds later by scoring. Bastards.
The funny thing was, I didn’t expect us to lose the game. I know Eastleigh are doing shit right now, but even so they’re still higher than us and lest we forget we struggled to beat Dover all them years ago in the FAC. Perhaps we’re not such dead certs to survive in the CS next season should we go up?
Anyway, Scott Fitzgerald (the most complete waste of a player registration sheet ineffective Dons player since Gerald Dobbs) left and DG came on. From then on, you really couldn’t see Eastleigh scoring. Seriously. Of course, it’s all very well saying we should score, but you do have to actually score to get results in this game.
So, up pops JD on the flank, a cross in and there’s Rosco D’Insane waiting. Cue orgasmic surge. This felt a bit more like those CCL days when every goal seemed like a moral victory. Mind you, it may be because I was down the West Bank end for the first time in years. Still can’t see jack shit even now.
After the bundle came a load of angry shouting from the supporters. At first I thought some Eastleigh had got a bit miffed, but what I saw was Shroot being red-carded. Now, it was apparently for “over-celebrating”. OK, so he’d been booked, but fucking hell – we’d come back against a higher division side in an important competition and you expect the players to stand there, shake hands and look slightly embarrased at showing any sort of emotion whatsoever? I’m going to add another example to the Football Is Fucked list (must be past the 2 million examples stage by now) : player sent off for being genuinely happy at a goal in an important game. The sanitisation of football continues, dressed up as “crowd safety” and “family friendly atmosphere”. Cunts.
I suppose we could have scored again, but with Shroot’s sending off I guess that knocked the stuffing out of us. Anyway, we get to do it all again Tuesday.
I have left this bit until last, at least on this section. DA wasn’t there today, he had male flu. Now, there are two ways at looking at this : you could either say that the players responded better in his absence, as they came back in the second half. Or you could say that not a lot really changed regardless, as was painfully proven in the first 45 minutes. Me, I’ve got a third angle on this, but you’ll have to read on.
Before you get there, read this first…
Plus points: We didn’t lose. Didn’t really look like we’d lose. Still in the FAT. Coming back. Jermaine Darlington. DG.
Minus points: We didn’t win. Suckerpunched for their goal. SF. Watson’s injury.
The referee’s a……: Remember You Are The Ref? That badly drawn 1970s cultural icon which asked you whether a 14 foot pass in the wrong direction constituted a direct or indirect free kick? Here’s one for today : You are refereeing a cup game when the lower division team scores to equalise. Needless to say the crowd and players are extremely jubilant and are celebrating with each other. What action do you take next? (a) Let the celebrations calm down to their natural cooling point, (b) Advise the players to cease celebrating and return to the game, or (c) Remember you sent a player off from the higher division team, and to even the contest up send off a celebrating player for no reason. Safe in the knowledge that your bet on it being a draw is safe, you may return to the dressing room to lovingly play with your 12″ dildo that you have bought with your winnings. No prizes on offer.
Them: Started off like a Conference South side, yet towards the end looked more like a Ryman One South side. Their #9 looked like Andrew Martin and was a bit of a twat when he was sent off. Presumably seeking attention, by the looks of him he wasn’t even a household name in his own household. Their GK was shit at crosses. As for their lovely looking fanbase, they were loud and vocal enough, although a copper who knows them stated “they couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag.” Would like to see them versus our own ICF-wannabe lot, the fight would make Elton John vs Boy George look like Michael Stone vs the IRA.
Point to ponder: And this is down to a bit of info I received today. Is our “problem” not DA, not the coaching staff, nor the players, but Bob Dowie? Consider this : I am led to believe that Dowie made a large contribution to the half time team talk on Tuesday, and those there against Ashford will happily (?) tell you what happened in the second half. Now, you would think that being a high placed coach at a Championship side would be a help, right? The thing is, if the players don’t react to him positively, we’re fucked. I noticed he was there for the shitty W&H game earlier this season, giving DA some general hints. And I’d be interested to see whether his inclusion co-incided with our worst performances of the season. Q, E and indeed, D. Have we just added 2 and 2 and got four? More to the point, can/will DA react accordingly?
Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) Wasn’t that black cloud in the second half seriously ominous? When I saw a flock of birds flying overhead, with the way their white undersides contrasted with the cloud, it had an eery feel of biblical tales from way back. Apocalyptic, almost. For the record I can’t recall whether it was before or after Shroot got sent off, if it was before it would certainly explain a lot. (2) Meeting an SW19 reader from California who moved over there 3 days after the FAC Final in 1988 and stayed there since. No idea why he remained, but I hope it wasn’t a result of getting too drunk on 14/5/88. (3) Lewes and RPV coaching staff at the game today. Hopefully only one of them was there for scouting purposes.
Anything else? Oh yes. Francis Benali. Remember him from PL days in 1989, when he poleaxed Fash and didn’t even bother to stick around for his red card? Anyway, he’s now at Eastleigh and obviously memories are still long. Personally, I always thought he looked like Freddie Mercury with his short hair and tasche. I would like to believe that he had the singing voice and stage presence of the Queen frontman, although he’s probably more likely to be wearing fishnet stockings and leather jockstraps on nights out.
Anything else? Part 2: Anyone else see the impromptu team meeting on the pitch during the first half when an Eastleigh player was down? I don’t recall about 9 players all in a group (not a huddle) discussing things. Hmmm.
So, was it worth it? Possibly, if we win the replay that is.
In a nutshell: Now, where the fuck is Eastleigh?