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Nine below zero

OK, I’ve had enough. After all the hype and good feeling that Monday gave us, I saw some of the most disgraceful scenes ever. I am totally ashamed to be an AFCW fan right now. We were told that things would be better. Well, they’re not. I feel embarrassed right now. Sick and tired as well. Yes, after Conformists 9 Rebels 0, I ask the question nobody has the guts to put forward: why didn’t we score ten?

Chelmsford would have scored 13. H&R would have netted 15. Us? Nine. Poxy nine. A piddling single figure scoreline that will be laughed at and used to mock us. Wear paper bags on your heads for the next week, and prepare to be jeered at Boreham Wood. All the players should hang their heads in shame. Footballers? Pah. They don’t know the meaning of the word. Failures, one and all. DA out…..

Oh OK, winning 9-0 wasn’t that bad. Actually, it was quite good. Let’s be honest, at some point a team was going to suffer a thumping at our hands. I just didn’t think it would be a joint AFCW-era record score. With recent events, this was the ultimate in getting it out of your system.

Once we went 4-0 up after 18 minutes, I think we took our foot off the pedal. And I mean, really off the pedal. I had visions of Slough getting one, then sneaking a second, and then….. you can guess the rest. But we steadied the ship, turned it around and basically laid siege to the goal. Watch Dons Online, especially Steve Wales’ effort. What I say won’t do it justice. Five on Tuesday, nine today. A bit different to the woeful shit that the games beforehand gave us.

If I have one concern right now, it’s complacency. I believe that Boreham Wood could spring a very nasty surprise on us, and I don’t mean in a back alley outside their ground either. The toughest task right now will be to get us focused again, make us realise that we still have a month of football left to play, and that it won’t be like this every week. This league is so unpredictable that the team with the best attitude will finish top. If we approach every game like we did today, we’ll be OK. We may not win every game, but we’ll have the best chance. We are capable of finishing top with six wins, it depends on whether we want to do it or not.

And yes, I did say finish top. Right at this moment, H&R are doing well (bastards). But their form can easily desert them as well – their last six games were 4 wins and 2 draws. Time will tell if they’ve peaked at the wrong time, they have previous for choking at the last. Chelmsford aren’t too solid either. The rest? Who can say? The team who will finish top will be the one who has the best April. Not the best March. Our March has generally been quite lousy. But we are the only team who doesn’t have to play anyone in the current top six. That is worth an extra game in itself.

If it comes to handling pressure, we do it most weeks. I think we are more scared of our own pressure than anything like a run-in. Can the others? We have two advantages in our favour. Firstly, and let’s be honest about it, the FA appeal came at the right time for us. With the right result, obviously. If that isn’t a shot in the arm, I don’t know what is. The team that was so shit last Saturday is unrecognisable from the one that stuffed Leyton on Tuesday and Slough today. That wheel clamp has been removed, and boy does it show. And if you’re going to put your best run together, with the momentum it brings, why not do it in the last few games of the season?

Second thing isn’t quite so blatantly obvious, but I believe it to be true. We’re best when we’re focusing on something. We focused on beating Aldershot and Gravesend and we did it. In the past, I have felt that we’ve gone into games not chasing anything and coming unstuck in the process. Now, we know that with five wins we could finish champions. True, it’ll mean that at least H&R will need to slip up, but they’ll effectively have to go 6 more games unbeaten. And as we know, nobody remains unbeaten for 12 in a row in this season.

The club is clearly serious about this push, giving DA money for Richard Jolly, and boy did he try hard today. A little bit too hard to score IMO, but that’s good. It will all be about scoring goals now, because if we concede 4 in a game but score five, it’s still a vital three points. Jolly looks a goodun, RB is back and looking sharp again, and suddenly RDS is under pressure to perform.

I’m not going to predict what’s going to happen, today was our easiest game of the season and it will be a lot harder from now on. But I expect playoffs at a bare minimum now – in fact 2nd or 3rd is well within our capabilities. And finishing top? Ask me in a months’ time if we should even dare to think that.


Plus points: Just about everything I suppose.

Minus points: Bit shit for last 25 minutes of first half.

The referee’s a…….: Wonder if his pencil run out eventually? He missed a tackle that was a par with LO’L’s last week, but other than that, can we really slag him off?

Them: I’d like to think that if we were ever bottom and losing 9-0 we’ll be like their support. Never gave up, and got a lot of deserved credit afterwards. Can’t help thinking they’ll do a Wealdstone though. As for their performance, the expression “CCL” came up a lot, and that’s what it was. They weren’t really dirty, they were just out of their depth.

Point to ponder: Was it me or was there a distinct lack of triumphalism about today? Not so much gobsmacked at winning 9-0 – though there was a bit of shock – but more a case of “that’s one step”. Hopefully, this bodes well. That said, I notice a couple of people seem a bit confident that we’ll finish top. And not in the usual we’re-the-best way either. More of a quiet confidence. Me, I’m saying nothing.

Song sung blue: Quite funny today. “We’re going to lose six-five” was just us being our realistic worst. But the best one was the very slow, male voice choir rendition of the Champagne Song, and done straight down the middle. Such was its delivery that I half expected Aled Jones to come on and recite a psalm afterwards. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a crowd go so quiet as to hear a chant before. Maybe it was just one of those days. Incidentally, Slough sang something about the Ryman League. Anyone know what it was about?

Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) Your editor saying “Richard Jolly so badly wants to score” 20 seconds before…… go on, have a guess. Should really have done better with that tap in though. (2) Loads of AFCW flyers tucked under windowscreen wipers on Coombe Lane. Bet the locals were right happy with that……. (3) Wombelles did their annual sponsorship, and I promise not to do my usual sexist comment. About 20 of them, which meant 20 starving husbands this evening…….

Anything else? I don’t know why, but you would think there’s masses to say about winning 9-0. The trouble is, there isn’t. Remember what I said about lack of triumphalism? I hope we can lay the JD saga to rest now, unless other people use it to beat us with, but I think it’s done us a world of good. While it’s relaunched the team/club/bought us together etc, it’s also made us realise that you should take nothing for granted. In the past, had we won 9-0 we’d be bigging it up on the rooftops. Now? The reason I’m quite cautious at the moment tells you a lot. We might not do it this year, but it would be a criminal waste to not take up all we’ve recently learnt next season….

So, was it worth it? Well, the Slough fans enjoyed it 😉

In a nutshell: Doesn’t 9-0 look good on the Sky Sports vidiprinter?

And finally: While I’m here – RIP Richard “Rickent” Bugg, Kent Womble and avid SW19 reader. Last time I saw him was at Horsham, where he was determined to give me a hug. Somehow, Frankie’s hat-trick today was a little more poignant than usual….