We all got a bit too cocky this week didn’t we? Looking ahead to Torquay, even talking about when, not if, we’d be in the Conference. Well, the evil forces that call themselves the Football Gods have, yet again, done their usual. Channel Tunnel 3 Fudge Tunnel 2 really doesn’t read too good, does it? AFC Wimbledon, may I introduce you to Planet Earth again? Just try not to bump too hard….
OK, we were all guilty this week of getting ahead of ourselves, myself included. The amount of people before (and even during) who said “we’ll win this” was in hindsight asking for trouble. It was the fayre seen too often this season at times – lots of possession, no real cutting edge in front of goal, and for once we paid the ultimate price.
Be honest – we rode our luck against Ramsgutter, Maidstone, Hendon to name but three, and today it finally bit us on the arse. Damn the weather gods for not sending their promised downpour over the Kent Coast, although in all honesty that would have been delaying the inevitable. Passes just didn’t happen, Fergie and Finn for the most part were pretty lackluster, and our defence just creaked at the time it wasn’t supposed to.
Strange thing is, I’m pissed off yet not upset. I’m stung but I’m not looking for a scapegoat, or a high building, or TB’s head on a lampost. I saw how confident we looked before the game, and chances are we went into this game thinking it had been won already. As earlier comments prove, certainly many fans had turned up expecting a win. We never really learn, do we?
It was a must-win game, and we lost it. But if you want to be positive, this will probably prove to be a blip. Teams get blips, and we’re certainly not immune against that. What was this, our first loss since Chelmsford? It’s a good run and it did have to come to an end at some point – we are not a bad team, in fact we’re quite a good one. Another 10 minutes today and we would have had at least a point. You’ll see why I said that later, but I genuinely mean that. This wasn’t some of the crap that was served up for a few games in the past few years, nor was it some of the Premiership shite that passed itself off as professional football in eras past.
Chelmsford winning today sucked, but it was against Leyton (and even that was only one goal in it). What I hope today did was just make us realise that we do have a long way to go, in both senses of the word. We do have to learn to take our chances, we do have to kill teams off when we’re in the ascendancy. It should also make us realise what we can have (Torquay) and how quickly we can lose it (today). I can cope with losing if we learn from it and bounce back straight away. It’s unfortunate that while we can get this out of our system on Tuesday, it just so happens to be at Billy Rickay. A venue we’ve never even drawn at. Losing two games in a row is unthinkable, though it shouldn’t be. And what would be the fallout should that happen?
Mind you, I did hear a comment made tonight which interested me. Bascially, if we know that Chelmsford are out of sight, that would relieve the pressure on us a fair bit. While I think we’d be far better to learn how to deal with the pressure on us, it’s still a none-too-dissimilar approach to why we’re doing so well in the FAT. Remember, in that, we have been undefeated since last year….
Is the goal of automatic promotion over? No, and anyone who says otherwise is a dickwad. Will it be over if we don’t win at Rickay on Tuesday? Again, no, but that does make life that bit harder. It became that bit harder at 4.55pm today anyway, and I hope that everyone in that dressing room wants to get out there and get back on track ASAP. I hope this hurts – not in a sinking feeling type of hurt, the sort that happens when you get relegated, but a stinging kind of hurt. The kind of hurt that comes from realising you’ve blown a good chance to make up ground.
It is still only January, lest we forget. This league race still has a long way to run. And I know that sounds a bit like straw clutching on my part right now (aren’t we 14 points behind or something?) but if we were to have one more loss this season, I’ll take it on Tuesday. We can recover from today, and if we learn from it right this could be a blessing in disguise for us. Would we have won this fixture on another day? Probably. But it’s over now, and we have to take this on the chin. Losing this doesn’t make us a bad team overnight. Even at 3-1 down there was enough fight by us to suggest that we won’t slide out of the playoffs. I’ve seen enough games to know when something is majorly wrong and when a team just, well, loses.
I will say this about the game, apart from how much we miss the option of Danny Webb. Two words : Marcus Gayle. Before the game, he was shaking everyone’s hand as that kind of father figure. Had he come on about 10 minutes earlier, I think we would have drawn that game at least. Our crosses were shit before he came on, his crosses afterwards were the Premiership quality ones. We owe our second goal to him, and had Fergie put away that easier-to-score-than miss chance from about 3 yards out, after a cross by – guess who? Let’s hope MG remains fit enough for the rest of the season. We are really, really lucky to have him.
While you lick your wounds, here’s…..
Plus points: Did keep going. Marcus Gayle’s cameo
Minus points: We lost. Defence looked really iffy. Couldn’t score when we needed to. Fergie’s miss at the end. Bad day at the office.
The referee’s a……: Never let it be said he didn’t let the game flow at times. Even when one of our players was fouled rather painfully……
Them: Let’s hope they do the same to Chelmsford next time they meet, would certainly hate to think they just put in the effort against ourselves. Caught us at a vulnerable moment and I can’t say they didn’t deserve it. Their goalie deserved a smack at the end, as did our cock munchers who decided they couldn’t take losing so they threw their flimsy plastic beer glasses on the pitch. Bright idea, I don’t think.
Point to ponder: Have we suddenly got a bit louder off the field? Normally, when we go 3-1 down we go quieter than a Franchise fan at a police ID parade. Christ, we don’t get much louder at 3-1 up, and we’re certainly comatose at KM. Maybe as the team (generally) has gotten into life a bit so has the support? Would explain a lot…
Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) How many old people were in the Morrisons next door? And I don’t just mean shoppers. Can’t be too unkind, the store was not only selling Guinness in their throwout section but actually saved this match report from not getting done – I forgot my notepad. In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t found their stationery section (2) Seriously iffy 80s style music over the PA system. And Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” – the original version.
Anything else? I suppose really that it’s a good job we’ve got a game on Tuesday to get today out of our system. Bet most would have preferred it at KM though. Actually, I forgot about Tonbridge on Saturday as well – I bet they won’t roll over for us like they did in the FAT….
So, was it worth it? I’d rather be in a BA Boeing 777 aircraft landing at Heathrow than go through this again.
In a nutshell: I hate Kent.