I hate being ill. Especially as I’m currently in that rather strange “nah-I-feel-all-right-really-in-fact-I-think-I-will-go-and-THWACK-zzzz” mode right now. Judging by Wealdstone’s defending though, I think they had it worse than I did.
Couple of things while the tablets are still doing their stuff. I did make it in the end – I watched the game from my first ever foray into the Main Stand and I think it does have the best view of the four sides. It does put into perspective just what will need to be done to the JS/WB ends sooner or later.
I was impressed at how we had a sticky first half in places but were able to just go up that gear when needed. OK, conceding late on was pretty dumb but I suppose Wealdstone deserved it out of sheer pity alone. I still think we have far, far too much ground to catch up on Chelmsford even after games like this. But I guess this was one of the most ruthless and efficient performances in the AFCW era.
What it does prove to everyone now (including hopefully our own players) is that our biggest opponents this season are ourselves. Get the attitude right, get our own house in order, and who knows what will fall into place.
Anyway, the SW19 Bureau has come up trumps again. Just hope Saturday ain’t a big fuck up now…..
Well! That was a pleasant surprise for a cold Tuesday night. Bet the odd 300 who didnâ€™t bother to come tonight after Saturday feel suitably pissed off with themselves!
Donâ€™t think anyone expected Belt 6 Wealds 1 at the beginning, or at half time. As erstwhile WUP guest bookers Surrey Bob and Barnsley Dave agreed it was a good competitive game, the sort that decides whether you are champions; playoff hopefuls; or also-rans. As I went back to my seat after half time I wondered â€“ â€œAnother Leyton (though I didnâ€™t expect six goals) or Tonbridge Angels?â€ None of us knew, but boy was the question answered.
Undoubtedly something has changed with the team since the Trophy exit. Whereas that was the escape from the pressure of the league now it seems losing in it has removed the pressure which was building up for us to go all the way to Wembley (perhaps in hindsight too high an expectation given our patchy form at times). Maybe they are happy with the appearance there on April 13 now.
And with Saturday, though slightly unreal as REPD said, we were expected to win but still had nagging doubts we might fuck up and not put them to the sword. And again, tonight â€“ for 15 minutes â€“ it looked like we really didnâ€™t want to be out there in the cold but then, perhaps fortunately we scored. After that did we seriously get put under any concerted defensive pressure, i.e. did Pullen have to make a save of note? I think not.
At any level, confidence is the key to a performance. As you keep winning your mind doesnâ€™t consciously consider the alternative. After our sticky patch we seemed to have again found our feet, our passion, our belief we really can play football.
As someone said, Horsham away was the best football we have played this season â€“ hell, I missed it, but if it surpassed Chelmo at home in the Trophy it must have been good. Tonight perhaps confirmed that you can play football to get out of this league. You just have to win the first half battles to earn that right. It just needs the correct mindset and encouragement from the management team to succeed (Â© Surrey Bob).
And now is the time we need to perform. In this game and the last I think we have shown a cold professionalism that needs praising. At 4-0 up, ten minutes into the second half, we could have easily shut up shop and conserved. But we didnâ€™t. We went on looking for more, reducing the goal difference margin between Chelmsford and us (which is now down to 11 from about 26 in 3 games) but perhaps, more importantly, increasing it over our playoff rivals. For though we are doing what we should keep doing â€“ winning to keep the pressure on the leaders â€“ there doesnâ€™t seem to be that pressure on us at the moment to chase that prospect.
Some how we need to keep that slightly laid-back, relaxed feel to the club at the moment.
Its now 9 pts behind with 12 games to go -weâ€™ve used up the games in hand and itâ€™s a level playing field. And with us, them and the other playoff hopefuls all having tricky ties still to play, both home and away, anything could still happen in the next two and bit months. I think itâ€™s gonna be fun 😉
Plus points: The win. Professionalism of the team. Finn getting a bit of form back after Saturday (I was keeping a special eye on him on the night). The goals coming from 6 different players â€“ shows we can score from anywhere. Both Cumbers and De Bolla realising the value in assuming the defender going for the ball will fuck it up and give them a chance. Played football not hoofball (though that can work down the channels for Fergie and Finn to run on too). The young blood like Hussey – awesome consistency for a first season debutant. Hatton playing 1-2s with Cumbers trying to break through – didnâ€™t work this time but cannot remember the last time an AFCW shirt tried that.
Minus points: Their goal â€“ hope it doesnâ€™t matter at the end of the season. Feeling the team is still in the dressing room for the first 10 minutes of each and every half. Not sure about the pensionersâ€™ party in the middle of our defence tonight 😉 Bloody cold again.
The refereeâ€™s a â€¦.: Pretty good by the standards of most Ryman refs (isnâ€™t that really an insult?) Allowed a good advantage in the first half, which lead to Cumbers almost adding a 3rd but then, calling back play when Garrard was crudely taken out by their 14 (I didnâ€™t see it by the way) as we were through on goal, only not to send the 14 off (others around me reckoned it was a red). Still, tried to let the game flow and that suited us on the night.
Them: Well, for about 15 minutes at the beginning they looked very strong, big and organised. Were giving Goodwife and Gayle quite a physical battering and were coming up trumps. But then we had the Webb dummy. Think it was Hussey played the ball to him. Instead of holding the ball he dummied it so it passed him and the two Wealdstone players near by. As it ran on towards the keeper another Wealdstone player aimed to shepherd it back, but confusion between him and the keeper allowed Cumbers to steal in for a tap in. And so the tone was set for the night for their keeper.
Some were suggesting he was worse than some CCL goalkeepers. Iâ€™ll let you try to name anyone worse on the night. Poor guyâ€™s confidence must have been totally shot after errors on Saturday and tonight. Mind you, as MikeyT said in his Radio Jackie match report slot, he didnâ€™t have much chance with the last 3 goals.
So as shots rained on in on him, his handling became more and more erratic and slowly the confidence in the Stones defence evaporated. By the end, frustration was leading to one or two â€˜overzealousâ€™ tackles.
Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) The hand of god â€“ their No 10 protesting his innocence of doing a Maradonna impersonation. I know the cheat was over recently slumming up the publicity with Chelski butâ€¦â€¦(2) How come considering how crap their goalie was at dealing with shots, he seemed generally ok on crosses when near to him? Couldnâ€™t understand that. Thankfully though our corners seem to have improved (3) A â€˜brainlessâ€™ WUP was on sale last night though I think you might have missed it. Guess who asked a seller if it had been offered to a particular Club director, just as he walked past? How do these coincidences always happen? It must be the Gods playing chess or something (4) Cumbers is shit â€“ heâ€™s no good. No, not my comment but oneâ€™s circulating the guest book. Those in the know believe it will prevent an inform Cumbers being recalled to Gillingham, them thinking the management there read our guest book. Oh the swollen heads at times. Of course this causes great consternation with Maidstone fans or any independent voices not in the â€˜knowâ€™ (5) Wondered where the Rose was tonight, not being on the bench. Apparently played for QPR youth on Monday night and got them through into a semi-final or something with a goalâ€¦. and got injured. Thought taking players on loan and getting them injured was AFCWâ€™s job. Perhaps our luck is turning.
Franchise watch (lest we forget): A touch of disappointment here – apparently if one of the Division 4 games had gone ahead tonight, and the result went the right way, they would have been off the top of the table. Damn the frosts ;-(
Play off victimâ€™s watch: The other tie of interest tonight was AFC Coldseal v Horsham Cloggers. Horsham seem to have held on for the 2-1 win. Puts them 4th just behind Staines (whoâ€™s game last night was postponed) with, technically enough games in hand to go above us if they win them all, by 1 pt. But they have Chelmsford away Saturday.
So was it worth it? Are you kidding? Bit of a beating if you ask me â€¦.