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Gentlemen and scholars

No acrobats* though.

* – for the clueless, regardez ici

So, what to say about Bash Street Kids 0 Footlights 0? Well, it was an entertaining enough game for starters. Open football, both sides could have won it etc etc. As the guy from the Cambridge website said afterwards, “if I lived round here I’d be here every week”. Though he might change his mind after a couple of Ks games…

Part of me is glad we got the point – it’s another game where we didn’t lose, and we’ve now only lost one of the ex-Leaguer games at this rather poxy set of fixtures at KM. In the first half we were OK, but the second half in the beginning was, well…… put it this way, if their strike right from kickoff had fooled Seb Brown, it would have summed a lot of it up.

But then, another part of me thinks that we could have won this. This was one of those games where we didn’t look quite so good up front. Don’t get me wrong here, we were pretty much putting them under pressure in the latter stages, but there wasn’t going to be a Tamworth or a Grays this time.

Mind you, when was the last time we had a 0-0? Let alone a game where you could genuinely say both teams were more or less equal? And I don’t mean equally crap. To save you looking, the last 0-0 at KM was the 9th October 2007, against Folkestone Invicta. A game so good that I didn’t even bother writing a match report for that day. The last scoreless draw full stop was at Havant last season, a contest following a run where we’d just won about eight games in a row.

And let’s face it, neither game was remotely as good or as promising as today’s was.

No, as I wrote earlier today, we didn’t win yet another “big” game, but today we looked a lot more likely to. That is probably the most important thing of all – we won’t go up, nor even get in the playoffs, but the list of things that are right are far longer than those which are wrong. We might need to show more up front at times, or our midfield needs to get its arse into gear, but they’re the two main complaints we have. And as my old nan used to say, if that’s all you’ve got to worry about then you’re doing well.

To give you an idea of our progression, if you said this time last month we’d draw 0-0 against Cambridge but still feel a tad disappointed, I would have looked at you like you were mental. I seem to be saying this sort of thing every week, but that’s a good thing. It means that we are improving weekly and without losing games too.

That said, at times we still seemed a bit nervy (see later on as for why), though not as nervous as Caster Semenya is when getting asked whether s/he uses the mens or the ladies. Again, another improvement from the Luton game which now seemed so long ago. Being skilled is one thing. Being mentally skilled is another.

It’s an old cliche at AFCW, but worth reprising. If we’d played this game a month ago, we would have lost it. Indeed, we may have won it instead had Chris Hussey decided not to trial for Harlequins* at a free kick right in injury time.

* – we’ve exhausted the Bloodgate jokes, but something relevant. Quins are quitting Richardson Evans, the pavillion and everything is up for sale/to let. Wonder if the 1889 Club we have any spare cash about?

One thing that did grab me that was mentioned a fair bit just a mere few weeks ago – it seems that we ourselves are learning to close sides down with pace. At least we’ve worked out what to do in this division now speed wise, and more importantly acted upon it. Bit of a shame though that the table says we’re tenth…..

Plus points: We didn’t lose. Clean sheet. Defence (mostly) played well. Some decent stuff when we got going. Not nearly as overawed as in previous games. Last 20 minutes.

Minus points: We didn’t win. Bit impotent up front. Still can’t beat “big” sides.

The referee’s a…: *checks notes*. No, can’t see many reasons to slag him off. Seemed to let the game flow, anyway. Though it was a bit of a nervy moment when the Cambridge goal was disallowed…

Them: Decent enough side – like us they seemed potent if inaccurate up front. At times you could see how they put seven past FGR last week. Worth remembering that they were last season’s playoff finalist losers. Didn’t seem as niggly as maybe Luton were (didn’t see Oxford so can’t comment), and most of their fans seemed decent enough. Though apparently some of their mongs were giving out pro-Franchise shit at us. Accounts suggest they tried it again at Clapham Junction, but with some of our fans within striking distance in close proximity this time they were suddenly reluctant to sing it. Can’t think why.

Oh, and their mascot (Marvin the Moose. Go figure). Seemed to enjoy playing with Tintin Haydon anyway. One disconcerting thing about him/it – the permanent smile on its face. Was it forcefully sodomised upon its creation? Though your editor is more inclined to think it’s gurning.

Point to ponder: Was it me or did the defence look un-nerved with Seb Brown in goal behind them? Certainly in the first half they seemed to try every attempt possible to get the ball away from his mitts. Can’t have done his own nerves any good, anyway. To be fair to the kid, he did make amends towards the end when he blocked a scrambled effort, and he certainly wasn’t any worse than most of the surplus keepers we’ve had in the past. Mind you, everyone seemed happier when TB admitted that Pullen is back next Saturday….

Meet the manager: And speaking of TB’s words of wisdom, here they are:

TB talks about Cambridge United – click here

Most of what he says speaks for itself. That said, it was a good job nobody asked him about his “attempt” at running off the pitch when the second half was about to start…

Three’s a crowd: 4128, and another attendance against the ex-Leaguers which maybe should have been higher. One interesting overheard conversation walking out afterwards with this Yank bird (sorry, no photos) talking – she enjoyed the experience but “shame about the view” (meaning she got stuck in the JS). TBH I really don’t know how the club deals with this now, bar the JS “suddenly” getting burnt down tonight. One wonders how many casuals we’re losing because of it – perhaps that might explain why we’re not getting the 4500s…

Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) Realising it’s been two seasons since there was a 0-0 game at KM. (2) Meeting the Indian-based branch of the SW19 readership. Who had booked a flight to watch us play against Cambridge and against Wrexham…. And I thought I was unlucky when I go to Germany/USA and end up missing games due to scheduling (3) Can’t remember such a warm round of applause afterwards after a non-winning game.

Anything else? Yeah, the two sides of the AFCW sales area was in perfect evidence today. On the plus side, the club shop was more than willing to take my blank copy of the 2008/09 roundup DVD (yes, blank) and exchange it with no fuss whatsoever – this despite me being  sans receipt and the fact I only watched it about two months after I purchased it. Kudos all round.

Alas, the same couldn’t be said for our catering. While £1 for a cup of tea is just about acceptable, £1-50 for a bottle of water isn’t. Let’s not call it price demand, or maximising revenue streams, or whatever spin you want to put on it. Let’s call it for what it really is – a fucking rip off. Especially as you can buy the same product at the grocery store next door to the chippy on Kingston Road for 60p.

Come to think of it, I think whoever is responsible for the pricing of food and drink needs taking to task a bit – at the FA Youth Cup game on Thursday, the bar was charging me £1.10 for a glass (not a pint) of orange juice. I was driving, before you say anything. And I don’t think soft drinks are affected by increased duty every budget somehow. Yes, I know the club wants to make as much money as possible, but it also has to learn the line between maximising profits and taking the piss out of its own supporters.

No, I don’t have to buy it, and increasingly I think I won’t. Especially if it’s a hot day and I would prefer a cooler drink (and unlike the miserable cow serving me at the Tea Pot today, the bloke at the grocery store smiles at me and doesn’t rip me off too). If even half the people who read this site tonight take the same attitude as me, that’s £200 the club will lose from its coffers at the next game. I know we’ve got designs on being a League side, but not all of what happens at higher levels is a good thing.

Oh, and if we’re being honest here – is the end of season DVD really worth £15?

So, was it worth it? Yeah, I suppose so

In a nutshell: Boat race this wasn’t…