Looks like our march towards mid table mediocrity continues, especially after Reds 2 Deads 1. This is quite a sobering experience, being pretty ordinary a side.
The worst thing is that we took the lead and just failed to make any sort of traction afterwards. You know how a team scores after about 1 minute then has to think of what to do for the next 89? That’s what happened to us. It was as though we geared ourselves up for a blistering start, got it, then stood looking at each other and shrugged “now what?”.
What grabbed me tonight wasn’t so much how shocking it was that we were shite again, but how predictable it was. Something has gone out of this team. Maybe the ride of the last seven years is coming to an end after all? Maybe we’re now suffering from something called team imbalance? Maybe, just maybe, we’ve found our level for now?
When you go 1-0 up after about a minute, you should at least expect some comeback from the opposition. But at the same time, I would have expected us to have some sort of attack at various stages of the game ourselves. The only time we looked like scoring again was in the last 10 minutes. LT and Elder were off with injuries, Poole was off because everyone had forgotten he was playing, and we had Moore, Wellard and Godfrey on.
I hate to say this, but I’m wondering with Elder if we’re now seeing why Shrewsbury were so keen to offload him to us. The Elder we saw ripping Mansfield’s tight little arsehole open has long disappeared, to be replaced by an Elder who seems to be going the same way as Kezie Ibe. Remember him? Your editor does, worryingly.
We should all know that we just cannot rely on DK and JM all the time, as we have been doing. I bet half of you have forgotten poor Ross Montague is even at the club (hint :Â he’s injured. Badly, too). And I can’t help but think that Luis Cumbers was either badly advised or a bit too desperate to return to Gillingham.
It cannot be denied though – something has changed. Where has Kennedy gone? And Brett Johnson? Why isn’t Blanchett playing and DD is? At least Luke Moore is playing some more games, and tellingly tonight and against Alty we looked better with him when he came on. And am I the only one who is glad to see Wellard is back?
Barring a fluke, we can now safely write off the playoffs. Yes, I know it’s still mathematically possible, but this team, this collection of players just isn’t good enough to do anything in them.
Not that he’d want my advice, nor should he take it. But if I could tell TB one thing about his job that he ought to do, it’s just get a team that knows how to play well together and let it play for contracts until the end of the season. Now would be a perfect time to confirm who can cut playing BSP football with AFC Wimbledon and who can’t. And some players can’t. They may not be bad players in themselves, but they’re liabilities for us. And by “liabilities”, I mean that they don’t really add too much.
I wouldn’t mind seeing the team that ended the game getting named as a starting XI (though I’d put Blanchett in for DD – yes, really. And BJ has to return and soon). Build a nucleus of a side that can play in the BSP next season for us, and add as necessary in the summer. In reality, it was always a fancyful notion expecting playoffs again this season. At least we’ve come up rather than down, and we do have a stability that a lot of clubs secretly envy.
In a way, Chester’s results getting expunged (and isn’t that a great word?) has done us a dis-service, because it still makes us look like legit playoff contenders. We’re not. If we were, we wouldn’t have played with such lackluster in 2010. In fact, I’m struggling to think of games where we have had that spark you need to challenge at the top. Again, Mansfield is the only game this year that remotely approaches that level.
Tonight has proved that our recent blip isn’t a blip but who we truly are. Capable of beating anything on a day when everything clicks but needs a lot more work to click in the first place.
A few other things from tonight. There was a decent turnout from us, about 750 odd. Maybe the official attendance of 1569 was right? If you consider that half the crowd were indeed us.
Their PA guy seemed to be in a 1970s mindset when it came to spinning the discs. When he played Life On Mars I half expected Gene Hunt to come out and give Steve Evans a big kicking. Who, by the way, seemed to make more noise than the entire Crawley support put together. Oh, and I’ve decided Evans is just an attention seeker, which explains his non-accountancy conduct. Just ignore him.
Simon Bassey got sent to the stands late on though. No idea what for.
I used to cover a fair few Crawley games, in the days when I was a cub reporter and the NLP did a midweek edition. Around that time, Frances Vines was their manager, and they were about to make the brave step into full time football. The rest is history. A lesson for us, maybe? IMO, we just need to get the team right first before embarking on something that will change the very modus operandi of the club.
What else of note? LT went off injured, in fact he looked in genuine discomfort when limping off. Guess we’ll wait and see whether it was the same leg that took him out for most of last season.
Other than that, I’m not sure what else I can really say. We were crap, end of. We’re just not good enough, and yes, that does hurt to write that. But it’s true.
Oh, and apparently their goalkeeper looked like a pervert…