Pinch me. Seriously, pinch me. Did I really witness British Army 1 Insurgents 2? Did I really see our team finally click into place in the second half, with passing skill, flair and movement that would even have a Spurz fan purring?
The answer of course, is yes. Make no mistake about any of this, yesterday was THE best performance of the AFCW era. No hyperbole or exaggeration needed. To almost literally piss on a Conference side in the second half, to look like the side higher up is something worth celebrating. And in a “proper” competition as well.
I’ll be honest. I’ve written in the past on occasions about how I haven’t had a certain feeling for some while about a game. Well, scrub all that : yesterday I really had the feeling I used to have whenever we won away at places like QPR. The camaraderie of the fans/players, the feeling of achievement, the way we played when we finally got going, hell even listening to Terry Christian on the way back home. It’s moments like this that makes being a football fan worthwhile.
It started off with apprehension though, especially considering the way we’ve played recently. Would we lose 5-0? Would we scrape through a brave 2-1 defeat a la Exeter? Could we even think the unthinkable and maybe, just maybe, scrape a replay?
We weren’t too bad in the first half hour, though you really can see the gap between a mid-table Conf side and a mid-table RP one. Especially an RP side with a bit of confidence missing.
Towards the end of the first half though, it all seemed to be turning a bit to shit. We kept giving the ball away a lot, so much so I was convinced the players had put money on them losing 5-0. I did think that if we could hold out until half time, we could regroup and maybe get going in the second half. Needless to say, our defence thought HT had come, went in for a cuppa, and they scored.
I would now like to say that I just knew we were going to come back strong in the second half. The truth was, I didn’t. Well, actually I was more concerned with having a piss than anything else.
Mind you, I hope the players’ urine isn’t sampled because we came out and it was different. Well, almost. We looked more composed but Aldershot clearly wanted to wrap the game up and piss off home early. Five minutes of that, we pressed forward. We got a couple of corners in quick succession and the rest is Womble history…
If it takes three minutes for a nuclear bomb to destroy Aldershot army barracks, it took a couple more minutes for us to blitz Aldershot Town. When Chris Gell rose from the dead (literally) to blast home, I thought I was in shock (though I was convinced for a split second that it hit the bar and bounced out). When SF scrambled home for the second, I knew I was in shock. Everyone else was going fucking mental though, although in these situations you do have to be slightly careful lest the other side kick into life.
Strangely, they didn’t. Well, they sort of kicked into life, but tellingly so did we. If anything, we got better. Our control was good, and most importantly of all I can’t remember any fuckups. OK, they had a few opportunities to score, and AL justified the unofficial MoM award with some pretty good stops. This wasn’t us being shit, it was them being two divisions above us. And I won’t criticise the defence for that.
After four minutes of injury time (a figure that was “disputed”, shall we say), the final whistle blew. We all politely applauded, the players shook hands with each other and left the field in a calm and collected manner, reflecting on a jagged first half performance and how to improve on it for Heybridge. Probably.
Oh, all right, it still hasn’t quite sunk in yet. In the strange world of non-league football, we’ve played a zillion games in the FAT and are only in the second round. Please let it be national, and please let it be a real good long Northern away one. I want to go to a hovel that isn’t in Kent.
While you await the draw, and while you await DonsOnline to download, sit back and enjoy the following..
Plus points: Everything in the second half. Andy Little. Jermaine Darlington. Everyone else, come to think of it. Ability to keep the ball and draw the sting out of the game
Minus points: Periods of the first half were shite.Their goal.
The referee’s a…..: He gave what he saw, was a comment from yesterday. No mention that his guide dog was vehemently shaking its head in embarrassed disapproval half the time.
Them: OK, I admit it. I was disappointed in them both on and off the pitch. On the field, I thought they would have come back at us and put us lowly upstarts in our rightful step seven place. Not that I’m particuarly complaining though. Their fans on the other hand were pretty quiet. Seriously, of all the teams I would have expected a vocal battering from, it was them. I think I heard an MK song from them, but I can’t be sure on that. Hope not, that would be a bit out of character for them. That said, I got the impression they weren’t really up for it – be interesting to see an important league game against them.
Point to ponder: OK, we will continue to wonder just why we can’t do this in the league. But here’s a thought : how about just enjoying the win this week and not think about Heybridge? Who knows, maybe a more relaxed and less over-analytical approach might even help us long term….
Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) Walking through a park to get into the ground, to get through the turnstiles and being met by a row of portabogs. CCL or what? (2) Speaking of Aldershot, I went in the toilets where one of the two cubicles was out of action because of vandalism. No, not the ones in the ground but the ones in the newish shopping centre. Just what does army training consist of these days? (3) Quote of the day: “There’s no way DA will be able to motivate them at half time” – more than one Womble at 3.46pm yesterday.
Anything else? I’m not too sure if I can add much more to that. Bet we draw a crappy team at home and lose now.
So, was it worth it? Those replying in the negative must paint their front doors red and have “twat” tattooed on their foreheads for ever more.
In a nutshell: What a difference a week makes.