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Out of the starting blocks

First game of the season, and typically I’m not there. Still, Gillingham’s press facilities were nice even if the parking wasn’t. Strange how even though I last went there a mere 5 years ago I have absolutely no recollection of the place. Mind you, what I do remember the last time I went there was a spewing Woking Womble (no, not Woking Jon of DO fame) laid out sparko on the pavement chundering after a few too many vodkas. No idea if his mum is still threatening to kill me.

Before I let Jampot take over the reins for this game, I wish to bring your attention to this. Now, this was for a good couple of hours the official Ramsgutter match report. Note the terminology used to describe us. Needless to say that it has since been slightly altered, but the fact that this was allowed to go up really won’t improve peoples’ perception of them.

The thing that gets me most is that the author was actually an independent sports journalist, which is exactly what I do. Now, as anyone who reads this site will gather, I don’t exactly hold back sometimes. But I always make it clear that this is a personal site. What I write professionally, be it for FourFourTwo, NOTW, Press Association, NLP, our OS or whoever, I do try and be as impartial as possible. I certainly wouldn’t pass off a piece of shit like this guy did, especially for an official club publication. I sincerely hope that the guy is regularly unemployed, although I get the feeling he writes a couple of articles for a website and pretends he’s a pro. His writing style is wank anyway.

Does it matter? Yes it does. You can imagine the outcry if our OS referred to Hornchurch as AFC Coldseal. You can imagine what grief we would get if we mentioned that Chelmsford were bribing the referee every single game – and before any of Essex’s finest get the hump, no you’re not bribing officials. Though you’ll obviously need to do anything to beat us 😉 We’re quick to get judged, often by some right unsavoury characters, so by fuck we should fight back at every opportunity we can.

I can’t pretend to like Ramsgutter at all, but even I would have written a less biased report for their website. And I certainly wouldn’t have come across like a drugged up chav when writing it.

Anyway, no idea if JP was under any influence when he wrote below, but he’s bound to be less inebriated than I usually am….

Unusually for here, lets start with a quote from our official hard copy mouthpiece (the programme):

“His side might not always play pretty football, warns new manager Terry Brown, but he and his squad are devoted to the cause of winning. You’d better believe it! “

Well I, and another 2700+ Wombles do too! This game perfectly echoed those sentiments.

If you were expecting Brazilian football on the back of the crest of the wave of enthusiasm for the new regime of Brown-Cash you would have been severely disappointed.

If you had wanted a clinical, professional performance to win the game; minimise the effort when winning; give the subs the opportunity for some match time; and still have time to work on a bit of shooting practice, then Brown Shirts 2 Green Shirts 0 was for you.

This game saw me lose my AFC Wimbledon © 2007-08 virginity and after a slightly nervy start, I liked what I got!

The defence was as solid as ever, with Goodliffe (who, after seeing his picture on the programme masthead page, I will think of as Voldermort – if you really don’t know who that is, ask your kids 😉 and Leberel forming as commanding a middle defence as last year. Garrard and Haswell just carried on where they had left off.

Midfield, was of course the revelation. It knew how to defend; it knew how to attack; hell, it knew what a midfield was meant to do, link defence to the attack, push on into the area to support the front two and drop back quick against the counter.

And the front two were full of running and mischief, if still a little impotent in front of goal, still looking perhaps a week or two behind the rest in readiness.

But hey, it didn’t really matter – midfield did the job with new boy Hatton, him of the Bjorn Borg hairstyle, slotting in two (both set up by Jolly). The first was a simple drive from the edge of the box with just the goalie to beat but the other looked like a poacher’s goal, something any striker would be proud of. Jolly laid what seemed a poor pass into the middle of the box for Hatton to quietly and quickly ghost in before the defender who thinking he was about to clear the ball, couldn’t then react faster. Sweet.

And that was enough. By ten minutes into the second half you knew the only way Ramsgutter were going to score was via a wind-assisted freak of a goal, and even that didn’t seem like coming.

So at the final whistle, off trotted a happy crowd: not totally overawed by the play but quietly satisfied; with enough issues still worthy of debate at home or in the bar; the first inklings of the front runners of the league filtering through; and questions like, how do you get to Wealdstone on a Tuesday night?

Optimism is still alive and well ….

Plus points: Winning, And relatively easily. Scoring. Not conceding. Improving our points total at this stage last year by 2. The team – in fact, a bit of a diversion here – as it’s first report of the season – giving you a ‘NoW’ stylee resume of each players performance:

Little: could have almost stayed in bed as he only had to make I think two saves all game and neither ever looked like beating him.

Garrard: Assured in the right back position loved getting forward when he could. A solid performance.

Haswell: This guy gets more like Dave Sargent each game, so dependable. Blistering shot second half saw the ball go through the keeper’s hands and bounce up safely into his hands off his head!

Quinn: The holding man in midfield, if it hadn’t been for the strapping on his knee I don’t think I’d have noticed him. I think that is the best compliment I can give him.

Goodliffe: Yes, Matt Everard II in the making. Took a little while to get to grips with their big No 10 but ultimately frustrated him. Not as vocal as I thought he would be but hey, didn’t need to be.

Leberel: Mmmm. Looks very assured on the ball but also looked ‘bored’ at the back. When Quinn went off, he went into midfield and looked a bit more interested.

Ferguson: Tried hard but didn’t quite have the space to operate in that Finn was afforded. However, his speed is awesome. On one occasion their No 3 thought he had plenty of time given how far Fergie was away – Fergie just took the ball and left him for dead.

Hatton: Two goals, another two chances for the hat trick, in and out of their box and ours, he caught the eye as a worthy man of the match winner. Just hope he has some legs left for Tuesday.

Webb: Tried hard and had a good chance second half which goalie saved point blank (thinking about the goalie’s portly frame, no way Webbie could have got it passed him) Will get better I am sure as season progresses.

Jolly: poor sod. Can’t buy a goal for love of money. Ran his little cotton socks off and set up the two goals. At least that was a valuable contribution. Here is where we can and will go up a gear.

Finn: the winger, raw and exciting, he had a really good afternoon running at Ramsgate. The only problem was the final ball, or seeing the pass. The excitement of the occasion probably got to him.

Howard: On for Quinn, took a little while to settle and then nearly relieved a load of fans that sponsor his goals of their first contribution, a sizzling volley just over the bar

Beckford: Replaced Fergie and looked just as potent but didn’t have too much time to do too much.

Butler R: Came on to welcoming roars of approval – did he touch the ball though?

Minus points: Ummmm. Criticism already heard in the crowd – Jesus, it’s the first game for fuck sake!

The refs a….: did ok for about 35 mins and then went all pedantic over a free kick to Ramsgutter. Oh god here we go. But after a wobble up to half time settled down again. Got the sending off spot on but should have sent at least another one (possible two) Ramsgutter players off for bad tackles just as bad as the sending off. Bottled it a bit. Oh, and include your linesmen in the game – please.

Them: Well, for about 55 minutes they were their usual physical, frustrating self. Their no 10 (Ball) was their main, only threat and a bit mouthy with it. But it all changed when their No5 decided to imitate Daniel Webb’s dad with the sort of tackle through the back of Jolly that he would have been proud off. Didn’t think the ref would do it but he did – straight red. After that they became a bit more niggly, bit more undisciplined and as I said could have lost a couple more players. Had a number of big buggers that made our side look small (and I think our average size has gone up now to nearly 6ft)

Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) Won our opening game of the season for the sixth time? (according to Mikey T on RadJack). How many times did we not achieve this feat as Wimbledon? 2) The ref blowing up for an off side and half the main stand going off to the bars thinking it was half-time. 3) Us doing a group hug before the game – thought only the opposition did that to psyche themselves up. Works for me though.

Anything else: Revamped programme I see. Sponsoring the manager’s words? Wow, that is getting money in for anything at this club. Oh, and quite like the built-in rubbish bins in front of the main stand, even if it’s difficult to get the lids up. Crowd of 2,829 – about what I expected given the potentially crap weather and holidays etc. Sunny day and we’d have cracked 3K. Good start though.

So was it worth it: Beats the shopping/DIY/dog sitting doesn’t it?

In a nutshell: Work in progress.