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Down to Lardyville

This will probably read a bit rushed and a little brief, as all that lovely sport is on telly today….

I didn’t do a report for the Folkestone game, but if I had I think it’ll read much like what Mark 0 Lard 0 will right now. Somehow I think that a forward line of Wayne Rooney, Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres would struggle to score if they were wearing AFCW shirts. Certainly the Royal Mail management were considering offering their postmen our kit, because let’s face it that would have stopped them striking. And I shudder to think the effect this current goal drought is having on Golden Goal sales.

Thing is, I don’t know whether it was the Boxing Day-esque kick off time, or the Boxing Day-esque flatness of the atmosphere, but I walked away from it this afternoon a bit underwhelmed. I’m not snarling, ripping people’s throats out etc, because if we’re being honest we did play well. It was just that final ball, that killer touch that is standing between us and a guaranteed spot in the last qualifying round. It feels like we’re determined to become the first ever winners of the Ryman, the FA Trophy and cause the biggest upset in the history of the FA Cup by not actually scoring any goals.

Yes, had RB not snatched at his shot when it was easier to score, or had the Horsham defender’s clearance found the other side of the post in the dying seconds, I wouldn’t be writing this. Instead I’ll be saying how relieved I am, and debating whether I want an easy tie in the next round or a death-or-glory fixture away to Oxford United. But I’m not. Instead, we face another very tricky fixture in Sussex this Tuesday, and let’s face it – Horsham have to beat us sometime….

Have we lost our best chance of winning this tie? We’ll find out after Tuesday, but it’s a shame that our goal drought is our main distraction right now. We look solid enough in defence, even our midfield looks OK (a few tackles as well, amazingly). But right now it’s like building the most majestic palace and then painting it in the same colour as the Elephant and Castle shopping centre.

Mind you, if we remember last year Eastleigh required a replay, and that kickstarted us off. Sadly, I don’t think we can get Scott Fitzgerald back (and boy, could we do with him around right now) so this time round we really will be needing that bit of forward line luck so painfully missing.

If truth be told, I’m struggling to write much else about this. There’s only so many times you can discuss up our impotence up front. As said, it is probably the main thing that is holding us back right now. I didn’t really think much of Horsham to be honest – granted, they’re riding high, but right now we’re talking about our deficiencies costing us the game, not their superior skills. But again, have they gone back home tonight thinking they’ve got out of jail?

While we wait and see, here’s…

Plus points: In the hat for the next round. Didn’t lose. Defence looked quite solid (and I can’t remember the last time I said that)

Minus points: Brothel. Barn door. Banjo. Cow’s arse. Can’t think of any other figures of speech, but you get my point.

The referee’s a……: Look up the advantage rules, you cockmuncher. And next time, don’t overcompensate your chronic lack of knowledge over this by blowing up for minor infringements.

Them: As stated above, I wasn’t that impressed by them – while they always had that bit about them that would have suckerpunched us, I don’t think in hindsight we’d let them get a sniff. Did resort to kicking us a bit. The Lardies are always fun though, and thanks to their turnout the game would have been even more flat. Not sure about the bananas though.

Point to ponder: Although this should really be under Three’s A Crowd. It was 1564, which to be honest is a little bit shit. Thing is, why? Yes, I know the kickoff time was always going to be arsey, though what we lost in support today we made back through the bar takings. Yes, a game against another RP side in the cup just doesn’t bring people out. And until we start scoring for fun people will look at the thought of spending £9 to watch a near-guaranteed 0-0 draw as a bit of a waste of time, money and effort. But even so, something just ain’t happening, and that was with a decent away turnout. I shudder to think of the FAT game next week – suddenly, the Jasper Carrott joke about Birmingham City’s crowd springs to mind.

Why don’t we have posters advertising our games any more? Sutton United do, and quite a few other clubs allow you to download and print your own displays, and with all due respect if they can do it why can’t we? It all stopped for some reason, which I never figured out why, and I’d be interested to see whether our crowds declined when we stopped. We’re letting in kids for free, yet the crowds have remained more or less static. Has the AFCW Brown bounce reflected the political one?

Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) Kneiß Rider coming on as sub then walking off with our physio at the end of the game. Great, another crocked striker. (2) The booing at the end. Why? Seriously, why? This wasn’t a crap performance, we all know one of those when we see it. There’s a difference between being sharp up the, er, sharp end and being shite. Today certainly wasn’t the latter. Don’t tell me we’re metamorphing into Man City fans. (3) The Big Match theme tunes from the 60s and 70s getting an airing, and even a rehashed Sham69 song. Somehow, Phillo has a lot to live up to when he returns….

Anything else? Yes, the new B&Q shed tea bar inbetween the TE and the Piss-Stained Stand was opened for the first time today. And apart from needing a separate table for the milk/sugar, I was actually quite impressed. Tea was hot, but actually tasted like tea rather than hot water with an artificial tea substitute. Definite 8/10, though I think 80p is steep. I’ve no idea if it reduced the queues at the other food outlets, though judging by the people using it at HT it might well do. Wonder if they do Bovril?

So, was it worth it? Yes, if you don’t think goals are a pivotal part of football

In a nutshell: Let’s hope for a decent draw in more ways than one….