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Come on you, er, Dons

It’s OK everyone, you can come out now. It really did finish Dons 3 Pretend Dons 2. We really did get the three points, despite our best efforts for the last 15 minutes. Hell, I’ve only just recovered enough to start writing this up, hence the delay.

Where to start? Well, people were saying to me at the end “I’ll like to see you write up that”, and I like a challenge. So here goes. Had Hendon managed to net that final goal, we would have kissed goodbye to any hopes of promotion whatsoever. Not just automatic promotion, but playoff victory as well. Why? Because that sort of horrible defensive indiscipline will lose playoff games. We saw it at Bromley last season, and I’m sorry to say I think we’ll be disappointed yet again come late April/early May unless we really sharpen our ideas up..

Teams who are genuine promotion contenders don’t do that sort of thing we almost did at the end. If you’re 3-0 up, you kill the game off. If they get a consolation goal, make sure it remains that way. What the fuck were we doing for their second? Did their guy smell or something? Did we have a bet on us winning 3-2? If, if if this is a once off, then maybe I can share other people’s view that it was exciting. Although let’s be honest, being three goals to the good then almost throwing it away at the last is not exciting when it’s your team. It’s stroke-enducing.

I hope that it really is down to a flu virus going around the AFCW camp right now. If true, we are probably the luckiest team in the division right now – 10 points out of 12, and the two dropped points could have easily been all three had it not been for a last minute double block by the Gutter keeper. If not, we are definitely the luckiest team right now. Unbeaten without actually playing that well? I know the theory goes that it’s the mark of a championship winning team, but that normally applies to games in March and April, not December and January.

I don’t know who it was who cleared off the line right in the dying seconds (a good 6 mins of injury time, apparently), but there are plenty of male AFCW fans right now who are considering changing their sexuality right now because of him. If you caught our heroic defender in bed with your missus tonight, you’d kick her out.

But I’m annoyed because I don’t want to be writing about such a narrow squeak. I wanted to write about a good, solid 3-0 victory against a team higher than us. I wanted to write how comfortable it was in the end, even when we didn’t have the strongest team out. Because for 75 minutes, we weren’t too bad. Not special, but I thought we were good enough for a 2-0 lead certainly, and 3-0 was the icing on the leftover Xmas cake. Winning by such a scoreline would have said to the rest of the league again that maybe, just maybe, this division ain’t settled yet. While I reckon in all honestly that Chelmsford should win the league by about early April, it doesn’t hurt to put a few doubts in other peoples’ minds.

We just can’t keep on like this though. We just can’t keep making life difficult for ourselves. We just can’t keep getting a briefcase with £1m in used notes and throwing it into the river. Yes, we’ve done bloody well to get the points we did with a depleted squad. But even before that, I’ve still remained unconvinced that we have quite the sufficient killer instinct to get us the next stage further. Yesterday, we should have ensured we won 3-0 (or 3-1 at a push), not 3-2. No matter if we’ve got flu, the lurgey, irritable bowel syndrome, impotence, the clap, or even worse than all that put together, Ben Symons in goal.

“But hey” you’ll now be saying “stop being such a miserable bastard so early in 2008.” And yeah, I know I should be a bit more grateful really. As said earlier, we were 3-0 up without playing that well. Certainly wasn’t really a full strength side, especially when Main went off. And especially when we were playing hangover football for much of the first half. You know, misplaced passes, Finn looking totally out of sorts etc etc. But we got the penalty (which was weird because it felt like absolutely nothing had happened) and sure enough we were 1-0 up. Not racing away with it, but not exactly against the run of play either.

When we got the second and third in quick succession, we were actually playing like a team possessed. Again, no Main or Fergie or MG, though why Jolly didn’t come on I don’t know, and I really did think that it would be another 4 or 5 niler. We all know the rest.

I’m not too sure what I’d be doing if I was TB right now. Probably downing a bottle of scotch if truth be told, although his comments on the OS did seem disturbingly positive. My guess is that he’s hoping this flu bug clears up enough to get the team back to full whack. And I would honestly consider maybe looking at an extra defender, either from outside or from the reserves. But whatever he decides to do, he really needs to figure out how to get our players to kill games off. Otherwise, we’ll be the ones getting put to the sword.

Anyway, if that’s what 2008 is going to bring us, don’t expect the SW19 editor to be alive come 1 January 2009.

Plus points: We won. Taking chances finally. Not really threatened for 75 minutes. Getting to 3-0 without really going at full pelt

Minus points: Last 15 minutes. Defence.

The referee’s a……: I do wonder if Care In The Community closes down during Xmas, because we’ve had some outright retards doing our officiating recently. Yesterday, the ref had it in for poor DW so much that if he was a door, he wouldn’t even give our striker a bang. Especially when he booked Webb when even the goalie said that he wasn’t touched. Managed to miss a handball by their goalkeeper right at the end (not a typo). And most telling incident of all was them getting a free kick when a player of theirs fell over – this despite no AFCW player within 500 yards of him. Reportedly, the lino told TB “You know he fell over, and I know he fell over…”

Them: Fair play to them, they capitalised on our weaknesses and maybe should have snatched a point at the death. Just goes to show that a 3 goal deficit can be overturned. I can see why they’re up the top end of the table, and they are a better side than Staines. Maybe not quite on Chelmsford/our level, but still the sort of side who’ll beat us in the playoffs. Not too bad a turnout by them either, although I was a bit perturbed by that “Hendon Loyal” union flag. Oh, and as for the Franchise loanee players? Fuck them both. At least they gave our usually Old Traffordesque Silent Army something to get into for once. Reportedly they were standing outside the players bar afterwards not joining in as they didn’t fancy it……

Point to ponder: Wasn’t yesterday just odd? You can normally tell how odd a game is going to be by the amount of people about just driving around Kaiserfeld – and it was the emptiest I’ve seen it for a long while. I know it’s NYD but surely the shops are open? Mind you, even the local decent kebab shop wasn’t open. Even stranger, there was 2700 odd when it really didn’t seem like there were many people about at the ground.

Truth is stranger than fiction: Did TB get a new scarf for Xmas? At least he didn’t get a new Dunnes and Co brown shirt

Anything else? Looks like Danny “Tony” Knowles will be going elsewhere now. Shame really, as he steadied our goalkeeping ship when one keeper got injured and the other one looked like he’d just discovered strong skunk. While AL will always be our first choice, it just goes to show how much you need a decent shotstopper – I found it no co-incidence that when AL got injured our performances weren’t quite as sharp as they had been. Everyone is wishing Knowles well, and justifiably so, although I won’t miss his heartstopping runs to the edge of the box. As for our new backup keeper, he’s from a “premier league club” (lifted verbatim from the OS, lack of drop caps not mine). Hmm. Don’t you think Jens Lehmann is a bit too old for RP football…?

So, was it worth it? Yes, if you’re testing a new strain of valium or blood pressure tablets..

In a nutshell: The game lasts 90 minutes, not 75.