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Barrow boys

Well, I slept on it and I still don’t feel any better.

Mind you, after Three Mile Island 0 Sellafield 2, should I be?

Right now, I’m trying to rack my brains for a similar performance of immense suckitude. Some of the Ryman Prem era games were horrible, but that was often down to the “style” that teams employed against us. Welling last year? Although that was off the back of a massive winning streak and our first defeat for a while back then, so they could be forgiven for that.

Windsor and Eton? My skin crawls just by the mere mention of that game again, and that wasn’t just down to Sucker AM turning up that day and turning us into a circus act.

I think though this might have been worse than any of them, simply because it just re-affirmed what’s been obvious this year : we are not good enough. If you haven’t seen last night’s Youtube clip below, I suggest you watch it. Sums up how I felt last night and more tellingly this morning too.

I suppose we should be glad that York got called off last Saturday, at least it will prepare us better for the inevitable defeat up there.

Wonder what the excuses will be for this latest “blip”? It wasn’t even a scratch side. If there were youngsters who came in and under-performed, you could at least shrug your shoulders and accept that it was a step too far for them. But we had James “Good enough to be a League goalkeeper” Pullen in goal – his mistake cost us the second goal which killed it off. Funny how he keeps making mistakes, isn’t it? Poor Seb Brown must be wondering what he did wrong.

I thought that Judge and Lorraine was our second strongest partnership at the club? Though I’m not too sure Brett Johnson would have made much difference last night. Yup, that’s how wretched it was.

When TB sits down in the near future and decide on next season, it’s clear we need two proper full backs. Both Conroy and Duncan are playing themselves in contention for a move to Welling next season. As for poor Sam Hatton…….. look, I don’t want to count myself amongst the haters, but he just hasn’t made that step up. He’s been given more chances than most, and it all appears too much for him. He hasn’t improved in the way that Ricky Wellard has, especially in the amount of time he’s received. Ask yourself why Stevenage got rid of him in the first place…

Midfield? Meh.

What was concerning was our forward line. It was the re-unification of the DK/JM partnership, which conventional AFCW wisdom suggests is not only the best Wimbledon partnership since 2002 but wouldn’t do so badly pre-2002 too. It looked as ineffective as DK and Elder. In fact, it looked as effective as David Swindlehurst and Belal Aiteouakrim.

Especially JM. This was one of his early season type performances, the sort that really put a question mark over whether he would even be here next season. Yeah, yeah, I know he hasn’t played for a while, but that doesn’t excuse his penalty miss. Or to be more accurate, his back-pass to their keeper from the penalty spot.

His head went down after that, and so did ours.

So, now what? Well, TB isn’t happy. Regardez:

“The performance overall wasn’t good enough. I have told a few players in there that they will not be needed on Saturday, they won’t be wearing the shirt.


“I’ve questioned in there if we’ve got enough leaders to step up. We have to bounce back on Saturday, that will show if we have the character one way or another. If we don’t, I’ll have to have a good look at this side.

“We will bring a loan midfielder in before Thursday who will shake things up a little bit as we desperately need that.


Anyone else getting flashbacks to TB’s first season with us? Can’t say I’m particularly excited by another loanee coming in, but after last night I can’t be arsed to argue against it. There’s a further comment from TB in the Surrey Herald too:

“We’ll be looking to bring one player in. He’s a little bundle of dynamite. He can tackle and we haven’t got too many tacklers.

That will please some people. Maybe. Whatever happens, I guess this is the last chance saloon on Saturday – lose, and the season ends there and then.

But it’s the “not be needed on Saturday” comment that jumps out at me. Wonder who he means? Guess those who have been injured (ie BJ, Hendry, Gregory) will return, if fit. Come to think of it, I’d put in Danny Blanchett and Seb Brown again.

Sod it, I’ll go further. If Matt Harmsworth, Ryan Jackson, Jack Stafford and James Stenning are fit enough, play them as well. Seriously, play them from now up until Gateshead. They need the experience, and it’s not like they could do any worse. If they fail, they fail. But at least they’ll give it a good shot – I can’t say the same about the so-called first eleven that is happily paying in their wages this morning…

Those four youngsters I mentioned were in the squad for Eastbourne, which we won. QED?

I don’t like to lose games, but I reckon Rushden beating us on Saturday will do us a big favour. It will force us to abandon the pretence that the playoffs are more than achievable. They aren’t, last night proved that. I’d like to see us plan for next season right now, see whether it’s worth putting in a couple of full timers with a talented if young squad. My comments about our budget for next season from earlier this week got a couple of interesting responses, I’ll leave it at that.

What we need to do most of all for this season is start building up a decent nucleus again. I can’t help think it’s the end of the road for a couple of players, especially those who were with us in the BSS days (which makes it sound like a long time ago – christ, it was only twelve months ago). TB himself seems to have had a re-education of life in the Conference – building a young (and cheap) squad is all very well providing you’ve got the youngsters to carry that out. A couple in particular are struggling, and look unlikely to make that necessary next step up.

With all due respect to Barrow, we shouldn’t be losing to them. Especially at home, and especially if we continue to convince ourselves about the playoffs. I can forgive the odd one-off performance like last night, but yet again I’m struggling to think of a decent game this year that wasn’t Mansfield. Even beating Luton was down to a bit of luck and it being our cup final.

Trying to write about us at the moment is a thankless task, because there’s only so many times you can say “kick up the arse”. That’s what makes last night so depressing – it’s not writing about playing badly, it’s realising you can’t write what you think because you’re just repeating old reports.

Still, I suppose I ought to look at the positives. This time last year, if you said to any of us that we’d be in a comfortable top ten position in the Conference, your arm would be snapped off before you could finish the sentence. I’m as guilty as anyone over this, but sometimes we forget how far we’ve come in such a short space of time (both in relative and actual terms). I apologise for using L******g C***eâ„¢ again, but we really are learning a lot more about ourselves – especially with “performances” like this.

Fair play to Barrow, they wanted it more and got the win. I don’t envy their 7+ hour journey back home from Theme Park KM (where all visitors go home happy) though.

And finally, the floodlights look nice. Shame it made it easier to see the game. Got to say, after standing around in different parts of the ground one thing is blindingly obvious – despite its recent improvements KM is definitely not going to be suitable for the Football League, at least in its current form.

Bit like the team, really.