Now that’s better.
If Oliver Reed 2 Emlyn Hughes 0 is indicative of how the next six/seven weeks are going to go, maybe we could have a good end-of-season after all. Form is a fickle beast, after all, and it hasn’t exactly been in evidence.
We shouldn’t get carried away, of course. We still have a few games to go, and………… ah, bollocks to it : when we win the playoffs, where should we have the civic reception? Crown House? Manchester Town Hall? Both? If our livers can stand it, that is. I for one am planning a headbanging metalfest in the Grand Central pub on Oxford Road after the game.
Luton are fucked because of Brabin, Wrexham are run by Flossie Saunders, and the rest? Pah. They might as well give us the playoff trophy now. I suppose we’d be forced to actually play the final, but as it’s such a foregone conclusion we might as well give MG’s youngsters a sniff. Kiernan and Dos Santos can get used to the bigger pitches, and Jack Turner needs some games.
When we do the open bus tour around Wimbledon, I hope we do it a bit slower next time. After all……………….
You can’t deny though that the mood has changed a little bit from this one result. It was certainly the kind of contest we needed to have, because we have lost our way in 2011 so far. Today, there’s no real “well, we won but…” vibe about. OK, we had a couple of moments where we couldn’t pass water, but it should have been about 3 or 4. It could have been five.
What has become clear is that to have any realistic chance in the playoffs, we need to start showing the form of a team in that position. Winning 2-0 against Barrow is what one should expect at this stage of the season, with the respective league positions. Whether it’s a flash-in-the-pan result against a side knackered from drawing at Kenilworth Road or not remains unclear, but for the first time in a while, we took proper advantage.
So, what went right? I think it was a case of things finally starting to click, which is something you just can’t put a tangible price on. In previous games, we’ve had periods of being quite good – even at Crawley – but we could never carry it out for the whole 90 minutes. We didn’t quite manage the entire game today (we were a bit nervy after our first goal), but it’s a start.
BJ’s goal was pretty decent, and even when balls weren’t quite coming off in the second half, we looked a bit more like the AFCW we can be.Â We can put on a bit of a run. Tok’s goal from the free kick was a cheeky little one, but you can’t deny we were good for it.
OK, it won’t win us the playoffs. That will be three cup finals, and we will need to play as well as we did today in each one of them. But given this, and with other results, suddenly it doesn’t seem so daunting…
Plus points: We won. Comfortable. Clean sheet. Nobody played poorly. Great BJ goal. Kept pressing forward. Starting to show a bit more of the swashbucking swagger we’ve lost in recent months.
Minus points: Should have been more.
The referee’s a…: He started off OK, as in you hardly noticed him. Then he suddenly realised he was an official, and had some kind of breakdown on the field. He started to blow up for small infringements, developed an over-fussy attitude to locations of free kicks and finally got the recognition he wanted when we all applauded him sarcastically for a free kick.
Them: I like Barrow, and I hope they end up staying up. Even if it does feel like travelling to another timezone in getting there. Still, 125 of them left Barrow Savings Time for British Summer Time (although half of them probably live in t’smoke), one of them carrying some banner called “Ultras Barrovia”. Right…
As for their team, their keeper wasn’t half iffy. And wasn’t one of their players over 40? No, he did NOT do Steven Gregory for pace. I can’t recall them having much of a shot on target though. Or much else.
Point to ponder? Is timing everything? I note that DK is finally working out somebody else to play with, Nokkers is back and looked hungry. BJ and Yaks look injury free finally. And Toks is already player of the month.
Meanwhile, at the risk of tempting fate, Luton threw a wobbly by getting rid of Richard Money and putting in Gary Brabin. With hilarious consequences. Already, it seems like they’ve just compounded their instabilty. Wrexham lost to Handy, which is something even we couldn’t quite manage this season. Kiddie and the rest seem to be taking points of each other.
OK, when it really matters is this time next month. But we can almost (I said almost) afford to relax a little bit – realistically speaking, we should be in the playoffs now. And unlike the RP days, it doesn’t really matter if you finish second or third – we will be at KM in the second leg, the final is on a neutral turf anyway, and it’s not like any other team in the playoff is going to be any easier than the other.
There’s an argument, and a good one at that, for not finishing any lower than third, insofar as it means we have to do the second leg away. However, this begs another question – could we see the best football of the season coming up this month?
We seemed more relaxed today, and because of that we played better. There’s pressure on us, but perhaps not as much as anyone else. Luton and Wrexham suffer from expectation overload, and the others have to keep winning. Whereas we can give DK and others much needed rest periods, and we can go out and enjoy our football.
A run may or may not be forthcoming, but we’re due one…
Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) Obviously, it was 80s Retro Theme Tune day, with both Phil Lynott’s TOTP theme tune and the little-heard ITV “The Match” (note, not “The Big Match”) one from the era when Ray Harford took over as manager. As an aside, I wonder if Mikey T could find the old Midweek Sports Special one? And I don’t mean this version. (2) Your editor doing that free health checkup, where it was found out that he really is 5 ft 5, he needs to do a bit more exercise, and has blood pressure of 153/97 mmHg. All three are directly related to doing this site. (3) Speaking of which, your editor was also just two numbers away from winning the free carvery meal. Not sure if a further comment is necessary. (4) Sam Hatton shooting and damaging a Blue Square ad hoarding. For christ sake, don’t tell their Crawley-loving over-sensitive PR department.
Anything else? Apart from an SW19 reader asking the GB Deaf team who they were? And no, I’m not making that up. Oh, and could we please sort out the bloody roving mic over the PA? Either invest in a new one or shut it off altogether – it gets .ery difficult to li.ten to .t when it k.ps c.tting ou. every three or .our sec.nds and .oesn’t m.ke us soun. .ood in b.th sense. .f the w.rd…
So, was it worth it? I would guess so.
In a nutshell: More of the same, please?