Look, don’t get me wrong. I love winning games like Dockyard 2 Courtyard 4, and we were certainly well worth our three points.
But christ, how bizzare did this game get at times?
Not joking here either. To go 2-0 up after about 20 minutes when you could have easily been 2-0 down is one thing. To then let slip that two goal cushion a minute after half time is something else. But to have two penalties in the game (both scored), and to then pick ourselves up and not only get ahead again, but to absolutely rip their arsehole apart with our attacking prowess is just, well….
Put it this way, if Setanta was still around and put this match live, the blonde presenter would still be gushing with excitement for matters on the pitch this time.
OK, there are a few caveats to this win. Grays are down the bottom for a reason, and we were clearly suffering a bit with the heat/post-Oxford comedown. This was in many ways our worst performance of the season, defensive wise anyway. Personally, I blame TB’s post-Oxford comments on BBC London saying how strong our back line was.
Had we played anyone a bit better, we’d be moaning about our second defeat in three days. Obviously, TB felt the need to rotate the squad and we didn’t quite look like I imagined we were against Oxford. It thankfully paid off though in the end. But at times, there was a sense that things could – and almost should – have caught up with us. Ask anyone there today how they felt when it went 2-2 and you will probably hear descriptions of eye rollings, tut-tutting and rehearsed justifications of how we didn’t win this.
Thankfully though, it didn’t. When we went 3-2 up, I think it would have been oneÂ helluva serious injustice had we not won. I guess that proves a few more things about this Great AFCW Learning Curveâ„¢, including a very important one – when we’re not playing well at a difficult venue, we can still get the three points.
Yes, it puts us third, assuming that Luton don’t have 5000 fans smashing up Kenilworth Road and commiting at least four homicides on their playing staff after failing to win again get the three points next time they play. Personally, I still don’t think we’ll be third come the season’s end – in fact, I’m still sticking with my between-9th-and-14th prediction, even though it will now feel a bit of a comedown. But if we’re still lacking a bit of nouse, you can’tÂ have a go at our determination.
Anyway, it was good to see DK scoring right at the end. You just knew he wanted a hat-trick today….
Plus points: We won. Quite well in the end. James Pullen. Our attack in the second half. Sam Hatton as sub. Steven Gregory. Kennedy’s first game of the season. Not actually giving up and going up the required gear when needed. Creating chances.
Minus points: Losing a 2-0 lead. Our defence. Looking tired. JM still lacking a bit of confidence. Switching off at times.
The referee’s a…: Hmm, yes. Actually managed to miss the most blatant penalty of the lot. Oh, and the lino should have been out in the sun even less than your editor.
Them: Grays have always managed to stay in the Conference, despite the size of support and the guy who runs them. They were quite quick and with a bit more quality would have caused our defence even more grief. Then they went a man down and it did start to show why they’ll probably end up in the BSS in the next couple of seasons.
Mind you, sacking their previous manager before he’s even had one game hasn’t helped matters. And to be honest, you can understand why DK couldn’t wait to get out of that club.
As for Grays itself, all I can say is – Jesuz Christ. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been through a town/shopping centre that is derelict beyond repair. Think of the Arndale at Wandsworth before they tarted it up and rebranded it Southside and you’re a bit of the way there. Even the Wimpy was closed. Of course, everyone can now be found at Lakeside or at the Morrisons, although it has to be said, if people want the high streets to be vibrant places again, they have to ask exactly why people prefer supermarkets…
Point to ponder: Just how many penalties have we had this season? Six, isn’t it? And we’ve only missed one of them too. Remember this time last season when we were the kings of the last minute winner? On second thoughts, Axewounds and the Champions Elect took that further than we ever did.
Anyway, not that I’m complaining about the amount of spot kicks we’re getting right now. It is the only way that JM can get on the scoresheet at the moment…
Three’s a crowd: 1762, of which 1000 were probably us. It definitely felt a bit BSS like anyway. In all fairness to Grays, their ground is quite tidy and there’s been little complaint about queues for food, toilets facilities etc. Perhaps BSP clubs really are better run after all?
Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) The blonde with her hubby/partner on the housing balcony overlooking the ground, getting increasingly pissed off with her being asked to show the world her tits. Presumably because she charges members to her webcam Â£5.99 a night to do exactly that. Which does at least explain why blonde andÂ hubby kept disappearing during the game – by 4.45pm they made enough money to pay for their next Las Vegas trip. (2) Grays fan with bell. Thankfully silenced through our play, and not through violent means. (3) Grays’ multi storey car park. Shuts at 6pm, or rather the entrance does. Meaning you have to walk up the exit ramp to get out. Thank fuck it’s still summer.
Anything else? Yes. Do you realise that barring cup games this will be our only trip to Essex this season? Cue FAT games with Billy Rickay, Heybridge and Chelmsford, whilst the FAC will see us at Maldon Town, Braintree, Grays again, Colchester and Southend.
Actually, when you think about that little stat, it only was a mere couple of years ago that your editor practically lived at Clackett Lane services. I know we tend to harp back to pre-2002, in the WFC era, and tend to use the CCL as the yardstick of how far we’ve come, but it was a mere 24 months ago that we were having to go to places like Heybridge Swifts. Remember them? Exactly. It does seem that it’s taken just a month in the BSP to realise just how far we’d fallen…
So, was it worth it? What, a bank holiday in the sun at some of Essex’s finest dockyards? Although I’m told Tilbury is even worse. Anyway, I suppose it was…
In a nutshell: Who said bank holidays were relaxing?