First game in the Conference now over. Don’t worry, it wasn’t so bad was it?
If you said to me earlier today that it would be Anne Diamond 1 Nick Owen 1 I would have snapped my own arm off and used it to fist Wankie. Yet this evening, I feel not only happy but a bit disappointed.
Happy because this could have been a lot worse. Disappointed because really, we could have won it.
We started off all right, but once they scored, we lost our discipline. Really, lost it in a lower league side collapsing in confidence and ability to even do simple passes. Poor Hussey was getting skinned to the point of torture, and only Quiche and BJ were showing anything approaching BSP quality.
One quote I heard at half time was that we were “rabbits in headlights”. I would go a step further than that – we absolutely cacked ourselves. In his interview (below), TB said that we were “nervous” in the first half. Me, I thought that this was going to be the start of a very long and painful season – see, we started off all right, but when they got their penalty (was it one?) it just seemed like the stuffing went out of us.
You know how the Wycombe game was (or the Torquay game if you prefer) when they netted first. It was that obvious step too far, though today I was thinking more along the lines of, if we want to stay up we need to learn how to play these games, and quick. You can always tell how we’re doing when your watch feels like it’s measuring years and not seconds.
Of course, the second half started and we all know what happened then. Obviously TB gave them a right bollocking, which is something I’m a bit worried is de rigeur – a crap first half, a good second. Happened plenty of times last season – christ, happened enough times in the PSFs too.
But let’s not be quite so churlish. This was a comeback, WFC style. Whether it was us getting our arse into gear, or Luton suffering from the classic play-well-and-fail-to-score syndrome is irrelevant. We did batter them at some points in the game – yeah yeah, there may have been some doubts about our penalty, but I don’t think it was any worse than their spot kick. I believe it’s called balancing things out.
I had a go in the PSF campaign at JM and DK, and obviously they had a point to prove to me 😉 Was surprised that JM was on the bench, but he certainly put the shits up their defence when he came on. Looked a bit stronger too, so all those protein bars during the summer paid off. But then, the whole unit seemed to suddenly stop playing silly buggers and justify why they’re in the Conference.
Anyway, we now have Eastbourne on Tuesday (don’t expect a report at all for that one). If there was classic WFC in the second half today, let’s hope we don’t do the classic WFC thing of following it up with an absolute pile of shite…
Plus points: We didn’t lose. Decent second half. Picking ourselves up after pisspoor first half. DK. JM. Our defence (yes, really). Lewis Taylor. Reducing them to hardly any attempts in the second half. Ricky Wellard (yes, really).
Minus points: We didn’t win. First half. Sam Hatton. Their penalty.
The referee’s a… : Bet he got his signed pic of Nick Owen afterwards.
Them: OK, they should have been 2 to 3 goals ahead of us by half time. Yes, we know it’s not their fault they’re down here etc etc. But by fuck are they going to lose popularity contests this season. Some of the more, ahem, agricultural teams aren’t going to take quite so kindly to the arrogant swagger they delighted in showing. Expect their players to have a few injuries/red cards this season when they play the “we’re Luton Town and who the fuck are you?” card.
We saw it when they scored, with the shushing gesture towards us (didn’t work, needless to say). “Look at us”, it was trying to say. “We’re Luton Town. We are better than you. Bow down to us”. Funny, the Luton Town I saw instead were a group who just didn’t fancy it when the chips were down. And a group whose attitude stinks of shit, which will keep it down in the Conference like so many other ex-League sides.
Plucky, part time AFCW reducing them to one or two efforts in the second half, eh? What a comedown for them. Welcome to non-league, Luton Town. Get used to it. After all we had to, and in far worse circumstances too. You may be down here a while.
Well, unless they merge with Franchise before then.
As for the little special needs case who decided to assault Tintin Haydon, whose identity seems to be hinted at here, I can only assume said cum guzzler thought our mascot was a Muslim. Different coloured skin, you see…
Point to ponder (1) : It really wasn’t Sam Hatton’s day, was it? Firstly, he arrived late, about 2pm. Secondly, he seemed to suffer more than most from the footballing equivalent of the yips. He got yanked off and suffered a fair amount of abuse to boot*. Bet he’ll be looking both ways before crossing the road tonight
* – I see Anon Don has railed against this type of thing a couple of days ago. While I agree with what he’s saying, I think it is a bit naive to assume that everyone is going to offer encouraging, constructive applause at games. Ever since the first kick of a football there’s always been some gobshite who thinks he can do it better. Best way to shut them up is to score or make a few goals…
Meet the manager: Now we’re in a proper league again, I’m going to have to get used to things like the local BBC affiliate station doing interviews with TB. Here’s BBC London.
Not that this will scupper this semi-regular feature. Here’s a longer interview with our thankfully suitably attired boss. No safari suits today…
Got all that? Good. One thing I haven’t seen anyone pick up on thus far is what TB says early on – Luton closed us down to the point where we couldn’t play. Now, is that a compliment to us?
Point to ponder (2): As with these sorts of occasions, the club learns things all the time. If it’s true that the Old Man Penis Sucker who did over Tintin Haydon managed to get back in unchallenged, then that’s a flaw in our security. We seemed to have more police than I can ever remember at KM, yet apparently the numbers there were quite low for these sorts of fixtures. I expect there’s going to be a fairly long list of things to tighten up on upon Erik’s desk come Monday.
That said, I did hear of an incident where some grandad eventually took his grandkids home from the game “because they’re frightened”. To be honest, even in these prawn sandwiched times football grounds are not for the prudish. Anyone who complains about the language you get at football grounds affecting their kids is not only an idiot, but somebody that is actually quite dangerous to their kids welfare. If your kids really can’t cope with loud noise etc, don’t go anywhere near a ground. Don’t ruin it for other people because you need to wrap them in cotton wool. You wouldn’t have lasted five seconds in the 1980s when I first started going…
Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) The pre-match vibe. First time I can remember it being business-like in the way it was. (2) First time I can remember cop cars outside the Peel. This was after the game. (3) Listening to the half time scores and wondering why we were hearing Barrow and Wrexham rather than Axewounds and Chelmsford. For a split second, anyway.Â (4) Seeing the TV backdrop (as in, the board with the collection of adverts that managers stand in front of when they’re being interviewed) getting carried out for a Sky Sports interview. Thankfully, the Blue Square South and Setanta adverts were spotted before filming started.
Anything else? I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I didn’t think today was as, well, special as it could have been. At times it seemed a bit like an ordinary league game against highly fancied opponents rather than a genuinely big game. I do think that both Wycombe and Chelmsford last season had more to it than this one.
But then, that’s a good thing. I know this is where we’ve wanted to be (back) at since 2002, and perhaps the best thing is that we’ve now got here and not treat it like a cup final. It’s likely that we’ll get a Luton type fixture at least once a season now, and once the novelty of big games wear off we won’t have that fear factor like we did in the first half.
I think teams like Luton are beatable. They’re on a different level to us at the moment, skill wise, but there’s no reason to be in awe of them, especially at KM. And we’ll get our best results when we don’t treat it like the biggest thing to ever happen to us. Today, we went out in the second half and saw some chinks in their armour. We got a point. It may have been the first time in the AFCW era that we’ve taken such an opponent like this, but it won’t be the last….
So, was it worth it? Well, we got a point and we’re ninth. Shame we were top this morning.
In a nutshell: It’s a marathon, not a sprint…