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Our cup final and we lose it Go on, let it out. Let out what you need to, whether it be a massive fart of disappointment, a sigh of exhasperation or a yell of outrage. Give yourselves about five or so minutes to do it, preferably in a darkened room away from household pets or sharp objects.

Done that? Be brave……. Champions-Elect 3 Runners Up-Elect 2. I won’t bullshit anyone – this fucking hurt. We lost out not only on the field, but the Ryman attendance record for this season is now at Melbourne Park instead of KM. To compound that further, we no longer have the biggest FAT turnout as well. And to finish it all off – the vermin cunts cheated 4-0 and are now squatting at the top of the old fourth division. Your editor is currently locating a high building to jump off.

Funnily enough, it’s not the result (as much as that hurts) or even one of our worst performances for a while, it’s seeing our season flash in front of our eyes in a five-minute spell in the second half. You see, when we went 2-1 up, it was real smash and grab, win ugly stuff. We hadn’t really played that well, if we’re being honest. But we got the slight bit of good fortune and by fuck did Luke Garrard handle that pressure brilliantly. Shame he then decided to wind up the home bench straight after that penalty and rub it in their faces, because they then did to us what we’ve struggled to do ourselves this season. Was it a penalty for them? Dunno, but sometimes things are inevitable. Five minutes of madness on our part, and that’s how quickly it took to end our slim-but-still-possible chances of automatic promotion.

Well, actually it hadn’t. If truth be told, we threw away our chances of automatic promotion when we threw away leads against Tonbridge, when we fucked up twice against Boreham Wood, and that four-game run just before the Torquay game. In hindsight, we came into today with too much to do, and as we all know, we can’t always perform. Had it been a point or two difference coming into today, we’d be absolutely fuming yet still with enough time to rectify it. If indeed we had lost in the first place….

And really, I think we could have seen today coming. Those who saw the second half against Hendon last week would have twigged that defensive-wise we look pretty creaky again. Those with long memories may remember H&R last season at their place – I think we’ve improved since then, but we still bottle it when we need to win. And yes, I’m afraid that TB made a couple of mistakes today. Hussey didn’t deserve to be dropped, and changing your routine to catch the opposition out backfired on us today. TB gambled and we lost. We seemed disrupted because of it – certainly didn’t play to our capabilities. Maybe there was a bit of that old fear/self-doubt creeping in again? And you wonder why I’m shitting myself over the playoffs? That said, I don’t think TB made a mistake by not playing Frankie. I’ll explain why later.

Anyway, I suppose we ought to congratulate Chelmsford. They were better than us today, and had that right amount of mettle/discipline we lack right now. We can certainly learn something from them, and it’s this : we are this season what Chelmsford were last season. Up there but not quite there yet. If the inevitable worst happens in the playoffs (come on, we can’t throw that away, surely?) then it just takes a bit of hard work, stability in the management side of things and a bit of time to go that next stage up. I’d like to think we could do what they did today over the whole of next season, when we lose on penalties to Staines in the playoff final. What I hope we don’t do now is switch off. We need to secure that second place, just to test the theory that teams who finish second do do better in the playoffs. One of the fears I had about losing today was how we’ll react should we get defeated. I would like to think we’ll pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down, take on board what we’ve learnt today (and with AFCW, it is one big learning curve) and keep building up wins together with our new aim of two cup finals at the end of the season. We’d help ourselves by blooding people like Shroot, Alfie Potter, and hopefully a new CB all the while we keep momentum and victories up. What makes me think we won’t though?

Plus points: We scored twice. Minus points: Losing automatic promotion is a bit of a bummer.

The referee’s a………..: Only gave us a penalty because there weren’t enough notes in his brown envelope. Surprised he even let our first goal stand, considering there was an infringement of the ball crossing the line against the home side. Them: Actually pretty gracious in winning the title today. Seems like a lot of them are wishing us luck in the playoffs and hoping we join them in the CS next season, although they probably think it’ll be six points for them next season. I think I know who Chelmsford remind me of – Grays Athletic. Bankrolled outfit with a fair bit of potential and enough real support to make it less like an AFC Coldseal type venture. If they get a couple of decent breaks they’ll be in the Conference in a couple of years time but would probably ultimately punch above their weight. If you’ve ever been to Grays, you’ll know that the success of their team has outgrown their stadium (sound familiar?), and IMO Chelmsford could find themselves in that position quicker than they realise. God help anyone in our end today who needed a seat, certainly. Still wouldn’t swap their long-term future for ours though. Oh, and their #11 was a cock.

Point to ponder: Remember what I said earlier about TB not making a mistake by not playing Frankie? Here’s my thinking. How disruptive is playing a player who ain’t going to be with you for much longer? Especially one who I’m told has been a bit “emotional” recently and presumably unfocused? Yes, JG and MG are far too slow, and today proved that once and for all. But at least their minds are focused – I’m not so sure whether Frankie would have been as effective as some believe he would have today. Can you imagine what would have happened had he played today and did a defensive mistake? We certainly need at least one young, talented centre back before the season’s out if only to give MG a break. And certainly one who will stick around until the end of the season.

There is also something else as well I want to mention. I made light of it a couple of weeks ago, but it cropped up again today, and it involves TB’s relationship with the players. When we lose, tales like TB having problems with some players that bring on extra significance (even though the Nuts TV thing suggests something different and (deliberately?) more positive). I’ll say this : last season, there were quite a few strong rumours about that DA was having issues with some players. I don’t expect a manager to be 100% brilliant in dealing with his team all the time, and our managers can and do get it wrong from time to time. But if both stories are correct, isn’t there a little flashing light somewhere? To have one manager falling out with his team is one thing. But the successive manager apparently having similar problems? I wasn’t born yesterday.

A couple of years ago, I remember somebody commenting that our players at the time had gotten too big for their boots, they were too happy to revel in the glory at AFCW and generally throw their weight about. Might have been the first RP season, or maybe the R1 campaign. Now, I’m not suggesting that of our current crop. But if there’s one thing we can say about TB, he doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Perhaps more so than ever now. I won’t delve into why (suffice to say, his off-field circumstances may have a lot to do with it), but maybe there’s some more upset people upcoming….

Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) Reminding myself just how shit football and life can be when you’ve lost, you’re stuck in a traffic jam in enemy territory and it’s pissing down. One thing about AFCW is certain – we’ve done a lot, but there’s still a helluva lot we need to rediscover. (2) Getting in the wrong lane and getting an unscheduled view of Essex’s cricket ground. As it goes, it looks quite tidy and unlike the Oval has permanent floodlights. Aren’t they going to hold an England match or two there this year? (3) West Ham/Spurz/Arse flags on the burger vans. Apparently, it’s the teams that the burger van stall owners support. Presume any flags with Chelski would have been burnt down. (4) Felt really, really odd in entering a Ryman Premier game an hour before kickoff to guarantee some sort of vantage point.

Anything else? Yeah, that fat retarded cunt giving it the big one in front of us in the first half. You can imagine him acting like that on one of those £10 Sun holiday deals in Benidorm or whether they go to, at 4am after about 150 pints down his West Ham shirt and singing “No Surrender” to a bunch of pissed off Spanish waiters. At least before somebody twats him. OK, it was pretty funny to see him escorted away for his own safety (had somebody run after him he would have died of a heart attack after five yards), but I’m definitely convinced coppers/clubs should come down harder on incitement by people in front of crowds. Face it, he wouldn’t do it if he knew he didn’t have any barriers protecting him. Believe the expression is called “chickenshit”. Anyway, if the thought of him celebrating tonight at our expense pisses you off, console yourself with this – his job as a scaffolder has been taken away from him by a Pole…

So, was it worth it? Fuck off

In a nutshell: Playoff hell awaits….