OK, getting used to BST and speaking English again, so here’s a few thoughts about what I missed last weekend – together with a couple of match reports from Saturday.
Firstly, looks like I didn’t miss much on Saturday. Reading back, it seems like we were quite poor in the first half and Ricky Wellard got a bit of a bashing. At least the boo-boys didn’t attack Sam Hatton for once.
Anyway, that was then and this is now – tonight’s prize is a nice trip across Sahf Lundun to the New Den, aka Millwall. If that’s not a motivation, I don’t know what is. From what I’ve read people aren’t getting too giddy just yet – the replay at KM could well go into extra time and maybe even penalties. We seem a bit more wary at the moment of planning much beyond tonight…
Which does suggest a slight loss of confidence, certainly amongst the support. Traditionally we always seem a bit ropey at this time of year, for some reason. Our home form right now is shit, and unlike Dover last year we’ll be tested again in the replay. Our success tonight will depend really on how much we really want to be playing at the New Den.
Plenty of bitching about Crawley’s prices last Saturday, and by the sounds of it tonight ain’t going to be cheap too. Obviously, our opponents are obviously so hard up that they’re trying to get every penny they can get. Naturally, they see us as a cash cow, and when neutrals and even home fans are, ahem, expressing concern about attendance figures, you know what you’re dealing with.
Lest we forget who their manager is tonight, after all.
If we lose tonight, at least we’ve got Chester to look forward to. Yes, the Conference once again decide not to take any action by deferring their decision to kick them out of the Conference. Let’s be honest here, in three weeks time Chester will have either paid off a little bit (but enough) of the debt to keep going, or the Conf will bottle out of making the decision again. Chester know it, which is why they keep playing fastball.
It’s no trade secret that leagues always try and prop up their members – Franchise would be dead in 2003 if that wasn’t the case – but it’s become ridiculous now. I don’t know the ins-outs of life at the Deva, but if they’re constantly in this sort of shit weekly then the Conf should finally grow a pair of testicles and kick them out.
Imagine if we get three points on Saturday only to find them anulled later on in the season? Remember the Fisher fiasco at the end of last season? Although they too were a basket case, at least they (somehow) finished the season. You don’t need me telling you how amateurish and tinpot it would make the Conference…
By the way, my above comments are not down to me potentially missing Saturday full stop (for the first time since 1993 I could well find myself without a Dons game to go to despite me not working and/or being in the country). You would not believe what a bad mood that would put me in.
Finally observation before I publish the Crawley report(s) from Saturday. There was a bit of a hoohar about the OS publishing Franchise’s trade name as part of the “who can we draw?” article. I’ve got to admit, I was surprised myself to see it up there, although it eventually got removed.
It does illustrate the growing pains of AFCW and its fanbase though. Let’s get a few things straight : firstly, most fans who don’t go on messageboards would have been interested in what Franchise’s number was. AFCW were right to highlight them out, because deep down most of us wanted to know. Whether we wanted them or wanted to avoid them is irrelevant.
Secondly, at some point we are going to have to growÂ up about dealing with them. No, I don’t particularly like it when they use “Dons” either, and this site will try as much as possible never to refer them as such. But then, I’m not the OS. Official communications from clubs have to be “proper”. If AFCW wants to refer to them, it can’t call them Franchise Cunts. FWIW when we do feel the need to mention them, I’d rather we’d use “MK of Bucks”. Factually accurate and making a subtle point.
“But I don’t care what people from outside think of us” you may retort. OK, fair enough. Anyone remember when Ramsgutter wrote a rather snarky match report from one of our games against them? Can’t believe I didn’t keep it, but it would have proved how tacky and tainted it makes a club look when it puts its own prejudices on full display. We’re better than that.
“But we’re different” you’d probably continue. Are we? Look, at some point we will have to deal with them directly. And I’m starting to become of the opinion that the sooner that happens the better. This site has often argued that the most important meeting with the cunts will be the second one, because the major psychological barrier on meeting them will have been lifted. It may not be popular to suggest this, but our rivalry with them could actually turn out to be quite “normal”, relatively speaking. Especially if/when Wankie eventually goes in a decade.
It might also stop us getting wound up so much by no-mark fans like Tamworth singing it to us. It’s the highlight of their season when they sing it, and nothing would hurt them more than it not getting any reaction whatsoever.
In other words, maybe the Conference aren’t the only ones who need to grow a set of balls?
Enough of that, two reports from Saturday below for you. The first one is from 911 Womble and the other is from Dan. Enjoy, they’ve waited long enough for me to put them up 😉
The romance of the FA cup â€¦. Yea right â€“ a trip to Crawley on a wet Saturday in October â€“ you get more romance in the Robert Peel on a warm Tuesday. Nothing romantic about the tie or the game. However at least we are in the drawÂ – by the time this gets posted REPD will have done a note on the draw and we will be discussing whether Elliot or Kennedy starts in the middle on Tuesday night.
Anyway to today â€“ Newtown 1 , Newdons 1 â€“ rather predictable and in fact it looked as though both sides were settled in for a draw from 75 mins onwards. The game was nothing special, slippery pitch, tense atmosphere and frankly a slightly pre season feel to it rather than a full blooded cup tie. The first half performance was rubbishÂ – no one linked up wellÂ – Wellard let his chance pass him by ( that loan now looks his best option ) Duncan got better as the game wore on but it was left to Kedwell and Inns to show the fighting spirit that was needed to keep us in the hat tomorrow.
We improved in the second half with kennedy adding some control to the midfield which allowed Moore to have some freedom. Main played his best game for a while and looked interested â€“ he won some headers and linked well with Taylor MooreÂ and Keds. Never a penalty when he went down ( unchallenged ) despite the travelling army giving it large ! Pullen 2 quality saves and a small dust up in injury time but did not have much to do all afternoon really .
Plus points: Still in the hat tomorrow*. Main looking up for it. Inns settling into this level. Keds determination
* SW19 note – I received this on Saturday evening.
Minus points: The first 40 minutes. Wellard . Dead ball delivery.
The referee’s a… Did ok actually bearing in mind the slippey conditions. Got the penalty decision correctÂ – if Main wants to get those he has to show a bit more rather than just tumbleÂ – the bloke hardly touched him. Booked 3 of their lot and Pullen at the end for the silly â€œafters â€œdust up. Lino got it wrong a couple of times in the first halfÂ – but overall they all did fine
Them: Passed the ball neatly but never really tested Pullen. The carling opta stats would probably show they slightly edged possession. We did well in the second half to recover and stifle their threat. They are a similar standard to us on the pitch although one suspects they donâ€™t harbour real league 2 ambitions. Neat ground with decent bar and good motorway access â€“ suspect it was a serious walk from the station though. Half time keepy uppy competition easily won by Afcw but the independent ref seemed to call it a draw
Point to ponder: Why was half time only 12 minutes ? strange to be kicking off the second half before 4.00.
Three’s a crowd: 2204â€“ complete rubbish statistic â€“ no tickets issued. From speaking to others and reading some of the posts it was clearly nearer 3000. No doubt there will also be a fiddle on the stewards costs so we wont actually make much out of it today. Â£3 for a reasonable proggy was also pricey. Food looked ok but did not risk it . ..
Anything else? Best tackle of the match was the Duncan v wellard flying tackle early in the second halfÂ – most aggressive thing Wellard did all day
Now that Huss has gone what are we doing about cornersÂ – need to stop all these easy to defend floaters and get someone who can whip in a few dangerous ballsÂ – surely someone in the squad is capable of doing it ?
So, was it worth it? Just about
In a nutshell: Happy to be in the draw
Creepy Crawley: 1 â€“ Not quite covered in glory: 1
A fairly physical side. Pretty well organised if not that exciting to look at â€“ much like the town they play for. I certainly wouldnâ€™t want to have to watch them every week. And they seemed pretty keen at shirt pulling too, especially their two baldy thugs in the middle of the pitch. Not that the referee seemed to notice.Â But they had a few decent players, Danny Forest in particular, and Pullen had to make a couple of good stops in the second half to keep us in the game.
If anyone had missed the first 40 minutes of this match theyâ€™d have missed nothing as far we were concerned. Mis-placed passes, runs not seen, very sloppy play from all 10 outfield players. We were genuinely poor â€“ as if we had bigger things to worry about than the Cup. Which we donâ€™t. The slippy, wet pitch probably had something to answer for, but then, these are semi-professional footballers, they must have played in conditions like this before.
It would be unfair to pick anyone out in particular (cough Hatton, cough Wellard) because, Inns apart, they were all making poor errors.Â And although Inns put in another really solid performance at cb, he does like to hoof it up the pitch when he gets it. And with our waifs up the other end it just gives it back to the opposition to have another go. Pullen seemed pretty secure, even seems to have sorted out his kicking, but then lets a goal in at his near post after some horrendous defending in the box which pretty much summed up our sleepy first half.
But then come the 43rd minute we go up the other end, hatton and wellard combine well and weâ€™re back in it. Actually, that doesnâ€™t give Hatton due respect for his goal. Heâ€™d had a horror of a first half and had no right to A, be that far up the pitch given he was playing right back, B, suddenly find his touch to combine so well with Wellard and C, take what looked like far too many touches, dink it past one defender before spanking it into the back of the net from the edge of the box, beating the keeper at his near post.
The second half was better, especially when Kenny came on for Wellard. His energy seemed to spread and soon we were slotting a few more passes together. Main hit the post and Kedwell had a chance but hit the side netting. If we can play like our second half performance in the replay then I reckon weâ€™ve got a pretty decent chance of entering the Lions den.
The Refereeâ€™s a:
Pretty average ref for this level. Not great. Didnâ€™t make any big calls, like when Main was pulled slowly to the ground in the box in the 77th minute, but didnâ€™t get anything horrifically wrong either. Linos were pretty good though i.e. they didnâ€™t make any absolute howlers.
Threeâ€™s a crowd:
2204. Apparently. Seemed a slightly conservative number, given that this is meant to be a 4,000 + ground and it was pretty much three quarters full. It almost seems too easy to suggest they might be cheating for tax purposes. Letâ€™s just hope we do the same come Tuesday.
Point to ponder:
Millwall next round (maybe) would be great. Iâ€™ve never been to the New Den before. Iâ€™m getting my stab vest fitted today.
Truth is stranger than fiction:
Was the mascot an old Man Utd hand me down? Looked like it. Makes you appreciate how brilliant it is to have a Womble.
Was it worth it:
Yes – if we beat them Tuesday today.