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End of the pier show

So, anyone wanting to still gloat about how we’ll only need three games then it’s all over bar the shouting?

If Super Mare 1 Nightmare 1 tells you one thing, it’s how complacency can kill. Forget the cunt of a referee with those two penalties. On Tuesday, too many people were bigging it up after Newport beat H&R. I expect this got through to the players, who probably felt they only had to turn up today and claim a result. Well, guess what? It doesn’t work like that, does it?

Make no mistake, we were poor after the initial burst. Actually, I’ll go one step further – this wasn’t Dorchester, this was Uxbridge. This was a team that took its eye off the ball. This was a team that thought it was promoted after Tuesday. This was a team that looked lethargic and needs one of the biggest kicks up the collective arse it’s ever had.

We don’t have three points because of ourselves. I’m really not joking – we fucking battered them in the first twenty minutes. Had it been 3-0 it really would have been justified. But we were 1-0 up and thinking we really were three points to the good. When WSM started putting a bit of play together and we stopped playing, I’ll be honest and admit that I feared the worse. The second half certainly confirmed that.

When they got their first penalty, that really was it wasn’t it? Sure, we made a comeback of sorts, but you can see the likes of Kedwell and Godfrey seriously out of sorts right now. And it clearly affects the team throughout. As for the second penalty………..

If we do go up, I think Jamie Pullen may have made himself POTY. His save may have proved the difference between keeping the title challenge going through a rough spell and H&R getting on top of us. Make no mistake – had we lost and they won, that would have been a major psychological blow for us. Don’t convince yourself that we could pull back from that without major damage. This week more than anything should have proved how quickly can change within the space of three days.

Maybe, just maybe, we could have gotten away with it. But we shouldn’t think like that, because it’s just papering over some real cracks right now. We urgently need a shot in the arm from somewhere – even Dwane Lee’s return didn’t quite have the desired effect. I’ve already mentioned about DK and now we’ve got Judge’s suspension to deal with. Not to mention Sambrook not even getting through the warmup, after getting tackled by A Divot.

Is it all starting to go wrong for us at the worst possible time? H&R are grinding out wins like title winners do. Also, we have form over this sort of thing, just look back to last season. And I think letting top spot go will kill us stone dead this season – momentum is hard to stop when it crashes down. I don’t think I can cope with two late-season implosions in a row, and last year we got away with it. We won’t be so lucky this time,

Are we choking? That question will be answered in the next two games. St Albans now is an absolutely, cast iron must-win. In fact, I’ll go further – if we don’t win on Tuesday then we’ve blown it. I really mean that. We have, totally un-necessarily, put too much pressure on ourselves. We should have had a seven point gap at time of writing : now, H&R only need two more wins to draw level, and they will have a game in hand on us until the last week of the season. They will not drop as many points as we think.

This situation is purely, purely our own fault. I can forgive the odd slip up, but something is wrong right now. And it’s been wrong for some time, but we scraped through. Since Chelmsford at KM, can you think of a game where we put in a just performance? Only the second half against Worcester, which is looking more and more like a blip. We are not playing like title winners. We are not convincing enough, or have the right attitude to play for the whole game, and not just periods of it when we feel like it. While I still believe we’re the best side in the division, we are not showing it. Something has gone, and I can’t think what the fuck it is.

Am I over-reacting? Maybe. But after the game, I really was saying to people that we’d blown it. On reflection after a 3h+ drive, I think we’re close to blowing it – two games worth, to be precise. I look at it this way – some people are now playing a very dangerous game relying on our home form to keep delivering win after win. We will inevitably drop points at home, too. But if we start doing that, and continuing our current away form, we’ll be off the top by the end of the month. And for all our talk about the opposition running out of games – hell, we’ll be the ones running out of games. Should H&R get on top, they’ll stay there. You know it. I know it. And I expect our players do.

If that did happen, it would be an absolute humiliation for us. We would just reveal ourselves to be bottle jobs, with big mouths and big ideas. How many people today were smugly thinking warm thoughts of Mansfield and Oxford next season when we were 1-0 up and cruising? On and off the pitch? I hope everyone who was feels like a fucking idiot right now. Also, I hope they’re hurting too. Bit like everyone who did the 260 mile round trip today and who came away watching us throw it away against,in truth, pretty poor opponents.

I honest, genuinely, hope that TB gave the team the absolute bollocking of their lives after that. But I also hope he told them this : forget the amount of games left, the next two could lose us the title. We are teetering on the edge of a slump in form right now : just as winning becomes a habit, so does not winning. By Tuesday evening, we could have got just three points out of a possible nine. Or, even worse, just two. You do the maths. But also, you do the psychology : we pulled back a nine-point gap ourselves to be nine points ahead, It’s now five. It could be eight after Tuesday, but it’s also possible it could be two come Saturday.

Now, if we’ve got that far but let it slip out of our hands, how difficult will it be to get that momentum back? As I said earlier, we need a shot in the arm, and I just don’t know where it’s going to come from right now. We thought we had it against Worcester, but if anything our performances have gotten worse since then. The results certainly have. We are also due losses, which would be absolutely disasterous for us, and that too will be a massive body blow. I’m really not joking here – we need the two games of the season this week. It might just save the title….

Plus points: We didn’t lose. First 20 minutes. Aldi with free parking on the way back home for a much needed re-stock of strong German lager.

Minus points: Everything else.

The referee’s a…..: Cuntstain. Complete, grade A+, 100% cuntstain. I’ve never seen people so incensed over a penalty decision, even normally mild mannered people. I think he gave virtually every decision he could get away with to WSM. Also, after their second penalty and with the handbags, he should have added on a couple more minutes. Though to be honest, he’s not the reason why we only have a point from this game.

Them: Crap, but deserved to beat us. Why? Because they dug in, exploited our complacency and in truth should have got the three points themselves. In short, they did to us what WFC did to the likes of Spurz, Yernited, Scousers etc. You’d think we’d learn by now. Got a little bit niggly with their management team apparently.

Point to ponder: Is the dreaded injury curse about to strike? Transpires that Sambrook’s going to be out for about three weeks. Wonderful. This is where we really need our squad, although I think we’re fortunate with our defence. Up front is scary though – Main is just about keeping going, poor DK is out on his feet and Godfrey and Finn just aren’t doing us – or themselves – any favours. Guess Belal and Sullivan are heading towards the glue factory. Are we in for another round of deadline-day signings?

Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) I guess it was going to be a bad day when, to put it politely, on the way down my body decided to get rid of something it didn’t like via oral means. No, it wasn’t alcohol related, in fact it was a bit more of something that you find in a petri dish in a science lab. Complete with a nice dash of blood to boot. There’s a metaphore or an omen attached to that, but I don’t know what it is yet (2) Seeing Braintree’s team at Leigh Delamere services on the way there. They were on their way to Newport County. Fortunately, they lost 2-1, saving me the jibe that they should have diverted their coach down the M5.

Anything else? Yeah, their terrace. Nice, isn’t it? I wonder what possessed them to have it, bearing in mind I doubt they even remotely fill it 99% of the season? Whatever, it was so popular that people actually stayed on it for the second half. Wonder if that made a difference to the performance? It was certainly dead in the second half though elsewhere. Have to say though, bouncing up and down on it and feeling it move was a bit disconcerting. Still, I expect a bid has already been made to transfer it to replace the West Bank. Probably as mobile as our midfield as well.

While I’m here, I feel the need to say this. I know standing on something like that terrace is a novelty, or at least a welcome step back in time. I think some people, when they come in drunk – or, to be more precise, wasted – perhaps need to come on them a little less intoxicated. Why? Because you may think that swaying about on a terrace is fun, but pushing people over in the process isn’t. Nor is it particularly safe. I know after the first goal I was shunted down about three steps worth, and it was only some kind soul grabbing me that prevented me from a broken neck or twisted ankle. All because a couple of people were trying to convince themselves they were being crazy. I’m fortunate because I can handle myself. I do however know others who can innocently get caught up in such “jollies” who can’t. To those people now nursing sore heads – grow up. Most grounds around the country you wouldn’t have been allowed on there in the first place.

If by some miracle we go up, and we go to away grounds next season with all seater stands, just ask yourself why they were put in to begin with…

So, was it worth it? No, I don’t like to be beside the seaside.

In a nutshell: Time for certain people to start earning their money….