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Lard sandwich

After reading plenty of post-Mark 0 Lard 0 comments, you could be forgiven for thinking that this was the best performance of the season. That we were fluent, crisp, battling and only drew because of some heroics from their goalkeeper. Indeed, one could gather that this was one of the best 0-0 draws in the history of football

You’d now be expecting SW19 to disagree here. And you’ll be right. For all the talk and upbeatness over the game, this was two points dropped. It’s all very well to play decently, but we’re at home and we need to pick up three points rather than one. If we’re not going to play in this division next season we need to do better than this I’m afraid. Yes, all the good stuff against Eastleigh was on show, but it’s worth jack shit if we just get one point. So, all you happy-clappy Kool Aid drinking apologists, stop pretending how wonderful this was. This was a worse result than Ashford a couple of weeks ago. And until we get that into our thick…..

(hold up, where’s my happy pills gone? Shit, I used them all up for the Eastleigh report on Wednesday. Need to pop out to get a new load. Give me five minutes….)

Ah, that’s better.

Actually, if truth be told, I walked away from der Volkstadion yesterday with mixed emotions – in fact, probably the most mixed I’ve had for some time. On the one hand, yes we played well. At times it was Eastleigh continued. Yes, we did that with 9 players or so out (is that telling us something?). And yes, if anyone deserved the MoM, it was their goalkeeper. As somebody said yesterday when leaving, if we’d scored we wouldn’t even be thinking about anything negative.

Yet on the other hand, it really is two points dropped at home. Football can be a right narky little bastard at times. But perhaps we really can’t be pessimistic? Case in point : the Horsham fans reaction at the end suggested they’d been promoted. They’re top, and yet they saw this as a big result. Not us. Whilst relieving myself in the bogs afterwards (and not in a George Michael style, either), I overhead a visting fan say that it was one of the best games he’d seen in a while.

Not only that, but our injuries are once again reaching NHS waiting list levels. The fact we couldn’t play Roscoe or indeed put DG on says it all. And we needed PB limping off just as much as I need my testicles scraped with barbed wire. Yet again, we’re talking about shots we made, saves that denied us and virtually nothing on the return of JT (snigger).

What really did surprise me was the reaction afterwards. There was precious little bloodletting, put it that way. I think I must have gotten so used to the hysterics after a loss/draw/bad peformance that the general positivity has come as a bit of a shock. Not that we deserved much spleen venting afterwards – this wasn’t a fuck-me-we’re-shit-and-we-got-away-with-that performance, this was more we-know-we’re-not-shit-why-didn’t-we-win-this. I think that is quite possibly a good sign.

What I hope doesn’t happen is that we start tensing up about how we play because we’re not getting the wins (even yesterday, there were still too many occasions of the long, slightly panicky ball, though they did happen towards the end and not after 20 minutes). Billericay will be a test of our new (?) found resolve, and might signify the season more than any other. It’s away from home (and how glad are you to be away from KM until after Xmas? I certainly am), the standard of play seems more assured and we’re due a really good win somewhere down the line.

Let’s wait and see over all this, this is after all only two games of decent football. I don’t fancy getting all excited and giddy this week, then play like the Frenzies come Billy Ricky. In the meantime, here’s…

Plus points: We didn’t lose. We kept a clean sheet. Continuing assured performance. First 20 minutes. Last 30 minutes. Look better with Chris Gell.

Minus points: We didn’t win. We didn’t score. 20 mins until half time period. Their goalie. Wes Daly’s shooting

The referee’s a…..: Actually, he wasn’t too bad. Not somebody who sticks out in my mind as getting his refereeing licence half-price at Woolworths. That said, he did seem to miss a crocked Horsham player right at the end, with said player being down for at least two minutes…

Them: The Lards came in force, biggest away turnout this year I think. Though for some reason they were pretty quiet (and I was standing near them for virtually the whole game). Come to think of it, I haven’t been quite so inspired by them for the last couple of visits. As for their team, apart from one disallowed goal I really couldn’t remember much about them. They went for the draw in the second half and got it. Their first ever point against us, apparently, and that might explain their celebrations at the end. Bless them.

Point to ponder: No disrespect to Horsham at all, but a comment that kept cropping up yesterday. If Horsham are top, how shit must the RP be? Seriously. Last season, Braintree were the clear class above, and were deserved champions. Fi$her weren’t too far behind when it came to the crunch. This season, who look obvious contenders? There isn’t really anyone as of yet. OK, it might prove that in truth the RP is a lot stronger, with teams of a generally equal standard, but the handful of RP clubs left in the FAT might prove otherwise…

Three’s a crowd: 2707, and in a way ever-so-slightly disappointing, considering the amount of marketing done beforehand. Actually, if it was an “ordinary” game (ie no incentives and a standard size away crowd) it would have been near 2107. While I’ve no doubt that many of the first timers will return, it does seem to me that these days we’ll only break 3000 if we’re in a vital league game at home. The big problem for AFCW is that the RP is a bit of a limbo league. The CCL novelty is long gone, and until we’re winning/challenging for honours the level of football just isn’t that interesting. Sometimes, attendances really are out of your hands.

Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) For some reason, the second half felt like it went on for ages. It wasn’t even down to the fact that it was a dull game. I knew something was up when I made a comment about it, waited, thought that we must be nearing the end, making the same comment again and getting told “You said that five minutes ago”. (2) Tintin Haydon’s “haka” before the second half started. Looked more like an acute case of constipation. (3) Eastleigh 0 Bognor Regis 4. No reason for mentioning it, just felt the need to give their goalkeeper some more perfectly warranted abuse. Curse of the Wombles…

Anything else? Um, dunno. Not really too sure if I can really add much more than what’s already been said. Oh yeah – Franchise lost. Stop laughing and hope that Blackpool get a really decent draw to a top Prem side.

So, was it worth it? Possibly.

In a nutshell: Play worse and win has never been a more apt expression right now.