Another Saturday home game, another inability to win.
I suppose Cocks 1 Bulls 1 is the kind of League Two fixture we’re going to have to get used to in the upcoming months and years. Us being perhaps a little bit too confident after a good couple of wins, an opposition whose play and league position are totally at odds with each other, and us shitting ourselves towards the end.
I love football. No, really.
If you want any match analysis, you’ll have to read the Sun, the Mirror and the Times reports tomorrow 😉 What came clear after yesterday was how, well, midtable we look. We’re decent enough in attack, dubious enough in defence and you can have your own discussions about midfield.
We still have ten days for TB to sort out whether he thinks our problems lie in attack, or midfield, or defence. And a smack in the mouth to whoever said “in the manager’s office”.
Four games in, and it seems our forward line is ironically the least of our worries – especially considering the angst shown by a few in pre-season over it. Granted, when Jack Midson goes on a run of 5 games without scoring around September, and Charlie A spends a month out with a broken toenail, I’ll regret saying that…
There are questions to answer though. Is Jamie Stuart too slow? Is Brett Johnson showing why Brentford and Northampton released him? Should Ricky Wellard go back on loan to Cambridge? Why did we sign Max Porter if he’s already being benched? Is MMK the answer? And if so, what was the question?
Or are we quite simply doing something I don’t think has been an issue at a club called Wimbledon since 2000/01? Namely, just finding our feet and rebuilding to a new level?
TB comments yesterday seem to have an air of familiarity about them, and one wonders if there could be a switch in transfer target emphasis. Somebody in midfield/defence would be more budget-friendly than another striker, and certainly won’t break the bank like Marcus Bent would. And it’s not like there won’t be any players available…
Whatever happens (or not) within the next ten days or so, it does seem that we’re coming to the hardest part of the Learning Curveâ„¢ that AFCW has been on for a fair old while now. The transformation into being “ordinary”.
The first four games this season are a microcosm of what L2 is all about : you get moments of abject awfulness (the first half of Brizzle Rovers), moments of frustration (first half of Plymouth), periods of unbridled cock-waving joy (second half of Plymouth) and a fair amount of outright averageness (everything else).
Yesterday, we proved how average we are.
That’s no crime, of course. It made a change (if not a particularly nice one) to be under the cosh in the closing stages, and legitimately wondering if we’d come away with even a point. We could of course have come away with a win ourselves, which just goes to show how even a contest it was.
Afterwards, their manager said what a good advert the game was for the division, which if you were a neutral it probably was. From our point of view though, it’s another game of re-adjustment. That we’re feeling both annoyed we didn’t win and relieved we didn’t lose is part of that Learning Curveâ„¢ again. And one day, we may finally get off it…
Plus points: We didn’t lose. Jack Midson’s goal. Some decent attacking. Seb Brown’s saves.
Minus points: We didn’t win. Their goal. Seem to be missing something in defence and midfield.
The referee’s a…: Again, didn’t really notice too much he did. Maybe League referees really are better than what we’ve had in the past? Either that or I’ve got so used to appalling officiating that anything short of a terrorist act gets ignored.Â Having said that, watch the official next week send off three of our players for farting.
Them: There’s no way they’ll find themselves down the bottom come the end of the season – if they are, then we’re in real shit ourselves. Again, you sense that while we’re no worse than them they have the advantage of some more League experience under their belts.
Their manager seems to appreciate what we do (perhaps letting them have their first goal this season helps), and Jamie Pitman is the sort of manager I expect AFCW would get in when TB finally hangs up his safari suit. Young, decent temperament, and has a particular philosophy not entirely opposite TB’s, though whether our fans will fully appreciate his accent…
Decent turnout from them, considering they’ve got Villa on Tuesday. Although like many clubs from the sticks, they have a sizeable London branch, which may boost a few more attendances this season above the 4k mark. Needless to say, they were quick to go under the roofed section at the beginning of the game…
Point to ponder: Sadly, DataCo prevents your editor from repeating Jack Midson’s post match comments about being weary, but why has the “tiredness” issue come up just four games into the new season?
We’ve had one game in the evening, we managed to go out of the Carling Cup before it even started, and already TB has made the first “leggy” comment of the new season. Although I have to admit, doing it before August is out is pretty impressive…
Question is, why? Perhaps it’s not so much physical but mental – the step up in how much more alert you have toÂ be in the FL (player wise) and the increased training is physically demanding in itself, but when you’re having to think more, it’s pretty draining.
If, like your editor, you found the Bristol Rovers
circus game mentally draining, then you’ll understand what I mean by that. I think we knew what a step up it would be, but we may have slightly underestimated how much harder you seem to work now.
And perhaps this is (yet) another good reason why our signings should be ones with more FL experience in future – by knowing the level more, they will know how fit they need to be mentally too. Perhaps this is why Max Porter was subbed at Daggers and was on the bench for the last two games – he needs to be prepared more for this level?
And for somebody who was England C last season, that’s not a good sign.
Sure, he’ll (probably) grow into the role we find for him, as all those players who are still on trial (so to speak) will be given a chance to do. But we do seem like the only club in the FL who goes on about being tired. Perhaps Steve Evans was right all along…
Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) The weather. Pissing down until they scored, then a bright summer’s day for the rest of it. Perhaps we can only play in fine weather? (2) Some bloke called Danny Kedwell scored two penalties for Gillingham (and boy, did he look happy when he did). It would be too snarky of SW19 to remind people that’s how Jon Main got most of his goals in the Conference. (3) Anyone else feel more comfortable with the team playing in the usual blue-and-yellow instead of the all-white strip in the last game? Guess it made things a little bit more relaxed. Only a little though, which leads on to…
Anything else? It certainly looked a bit cramped on the John Smith side of the ground, although the rain didn’t help.
No, I’m not going to turn this into another “KM is inadequate” comment, at least not indirectly. Though I was intrigued by Erik Samuelson’s comments in yesterday’s programme about the new KRE seating area. It doesn’t appear toÂ be definite…
Instead, it seems that a few grumbles about the safety side of things, and what stewards are (or aren’t) doing are cropping up a fair bit. A few “jobsworth” comments here and there, along with the odd “they’re volunteers” retort. That kind of thing.
Personally, I wouldn’t want to be a steward at AFCW, because it must be a nightmare even if everyone is on their best behaviour. Especially under the far stricter Football League rules for a ground. Although perhaps more accurately, because the more lax regulations are no longer in place…
Indeed,Â could things become even stricter at KM because of the operating conditions? The sanctions are not something I’d ever want to test – one suspects the club would rather not pay a significant fine if it can avoid it. Not to mention the fallout from possibly having its capacity reduced.
And when it comes to safety, whether you like some of what goes on now or not, the club isn’t in a position to flout the rules. That KM has always been crap if there’s been more than 3500 in the ground is beside the point, until something moves on the ground front, you’re going to have to put up with it.
It does also bring into focus about our modus operandi. Things like, if we have to bring in more paid stewards, then that is what it will have to be. We’re past the days of the “helping the club out” approach simply because of the fallout if we get it wrong. We’re looking for another admin assistant in the office now, paid position too – yes, that could be done by a volunteer, but the club’s workload (and subsequent responsibility) has become too big for that.
Sitting in the pressbox yesterday (again, expanded, which further highlights the point), the whole AFCW setup seemed to have many more responsibilities than even in the Conference. It seemed as though everyone who does something has one extra task they have to do than before. Even if they haven’t, it seemed busier and a bit more frantic.
It appears we’re about to watch the club have a spurt of growing, especially in previously cottage industry-esque areas such as comms. It will settle down of course, and yesterday felt less of a hassle than the BR game, but expect a couple more noses out of joint in the meantime…
So, was it worth it? We didn’t lose I suppose.
In a nutshell: If only Charlie A’s shot had crossed the line…