Skip to content

The Dog Days of Summer

I guess we should have seen Eleven Men 2 Twelve Men 2 coming when, at 3.02pm, I turned to the bloke next to me and stated that this was going to be a long afternoon.

OK, we’re no longer top (although that’s only because Mansfield have scored more goals than us), and after a performance like that it’s a bit of a psychological kick in the proverial nads. I’m not too sure who was more inept though – us or the referee.

In our case, we’re still blowing a bit hot and cold (usually cold when I turn up), and 6 games in 16 days is inevitably going to have its toll. If I’m being honest I don’t think we’re really title contenders, because we’ve now had two quite so-so performances in a week. I don’t doubt we’re better than last year, but it’s still playoffs at best for us.

But despite this, how fucking bad was that official? Backpasses not given, bookings for us but none for them (including one potentially nasty one on JM), penalties etc etc. Considering there was no games in higher levels today, it’s just our luck we got the guy doing it for a hobby. Even a Pakistani bowler would have called him a dodgy bastard.

Slagging off refs isn’t something I do out of habit – it’s not the easiest job in the world, and they only have a split second to make a decision. But really, when you lose control of the game in that manner you really have to question whether the old wives tale about excessive wanking is true.

I really do think we would have won today had we had a decent official, because we didn’t have enough energy to get through a twelfth opposition player too. Yes, today was dire, and proving that a 2-2 draw doesn’t always mean it was a good game. If Shoot were still around, they would have given this an entertainment rating in minus figures.

Yes, only Dr Dre and DK came out with full credit. Yes, I think there was fatigue there, and BJ going off (at the one time we don’t put a centre-back on the bench) didn’t help. But put it this way : when we scored, we found virtually every decision going against us afterwards. Whether it was a penalty for us I don’t know (although on balance of play we deserved the lead), but when you get that bit of luck, you need to hold onto it. Newport equalising really was inevitable, on both occasions, because you just felt if we could hold them off long enough the ref would have given a goal to them anyway.

I’m not really sure if there’s much more to add, really. The whole contest had a massive air of “meh” about it. Whether we were mentally drained from Saturday I don’t know, although they are professional footballers now, and it’s not like we’re the only side to have played twice in three days.

What this does prove is the need to get that two-goal cushion on more than the odd occasion. OK, Eastbourne proved even that isn’t enough with our lot, but when we were 2-1 up a third goal would have ensured we were still top right now. As our defence proved, it really does take a second to score a goal.

I will endeavour to find some energy to complete the rest of this write-up. Wish me luck…

Plus points: We didn’t lose. DK finding his penalty taking boots. Jolley’s goal.

Minus points: We didn’t win. Sloppy defending for second. Hardly flowing. BJ’s injury.

The referee’s a…: See first seven paragraphs. Quote of the day came from The Bloke Beside Me – when the PA announcer asked for somebody from the Newport team bus to go to a gate, TBBM shouted “He’s busy, he’s refereeing”…

Them: On cool reflection, I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised they came away from Theme Park KM with a point – they did the same to Luton at Kenilworth Road, don’t forget. Their keeper was timewasting from about the 15th minute onwards, although that might have been down to him having to steady himself for his goal kicks.

Bit like we were last season, especially if we were full time. Not really playoff material but likely to go to somewhere like Crawley and nick a point or three, that kind of outfit. That said, they were beatable.

Have to say, I do have a bit of a secret soft spot for them, even if Judas Holdsworth is their manager. Their background is very similar to ours, though their original club did actually properly die in the process. Which is why I can’t understand why their fans of all people are happy to give us the pro-Franchise shit.

Why? Two words : Jerry Sherman. Although I expect most of those singing shit at us don’t even know who he is…

Point to ponder: No, not another Jon Main piece, though once again he was as effective as a used condom. Though I can’t quite understand why Luke Moore came on for him either – he made Main look like the Conference’s top goalscorer. It’s more about Andre Blackman – does anyone else think that he’s far too good for this squad?

There were times when he did runs and finding passes that nobody else had the wit to latch onto. Maybe he tries to beat every opposition player because he feels that the others aren’t good enough? I wouldn’t get too attached to him, because if he keeps this up he’ll be at Millwall come the next transfer window.

Mind you, for all his reputation of a bad bwoy, he certainly looked like a pig in shit signing autographs for the little kids afterwards….

Meet the Manager: And here’s TB…

TB on Newport draw

Not great news about BJ, is it? Mind you, doesn’t that prove what a good idea it was to over-spend to get two more centre backs in? All of a sudden, it looks money well spent. And also shows how lucky we were not to rely on the loanees from Charlton. Remember them?

Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) What happened to that bloke down the TE at half time who got stretchered out with an oxygen mask on him? (2) Got to say, the new segregation bit seems to work well. It is football tradition for the away fans to get the shittiest bit of the ground anyway, so we can safely ignore all complaints that it’s impossible to see from there. (3) Bottles of water apparently reduced from £1-60 to £1-50. Bargain, I’m sure you’ll agree. Still going to shop before/after the game at the Spar next door to the chippy, as they sell their bottled H20 at 60p…

Anything else? Yeah. Aren’t Bank Holiday Mondays just outright weird for games? How many of you are thinking of going out on the bladder tonight, usual post-match stuff, only to remember you’re back at work tomorrow? I guess this is another reason why it was so placid today.

Actually, I’m making it sound like KM is usually a thumping cauldron of noise and that today was a hangover. The truth is, it isn’t. I can’t remember a (day) game when we could justifiably call KM intimidating – perhaps Mansfield at home last season, in recent memory. Night games seem better anyway, people seem more relaxed (or less uptight) but when you consider that we were top up until 3pm today and it all seems even more odd.

Or perhaps it isn’t unusual? I think it’s another symptom of the 2002-09 AFC Wimbledon that will take a while to shake off. Sometimes I wonder if we’re turning up to games in the same frame of mind as the Ryman/CCL days, where you would have expected us to win  by about 2 or 3 goals without breaking too much sweat?

I hope people really weren’t turning up today expecting us to win 3-0 against Newport again, like in the BSS, because they and us are in a higher level now. Maybe, just maybe, the fans suffer a bit of complacency themselves…?

So, was it worth it? Even the Notting Hill Carnival sounded more enticing today.

In a nutshell: We aren’t top of the league.