Skip to content

A Valiant Effort

It only took nine years? Only took nine lives, more like…

Those looking for a comparison between Stainless Steel 3 Potteries 2 and any other game where we should have lost could do worse than Wrexham away last season. Then, as today, it was a case of being on the back foot, doing defensive clearances more akin to the last ten minutes of games rather than the first ten, and somehow scraping something that should have been lost ages ago.

Or to put it in another way, the Met Police have joined the Heddlu from last season in searching for a stolen three points.

Contractual negativity out of the way first. The first half was awful. Actually, it was more than that. At times I really did think that as a squad, as a team and maybe even as a club, we looked out of our depth. Our midfield especially looked like it was hoping the nightmare would end and we could return to Forest Green Rovers and look semi-impressive.

Poor Ricky Wellard was getting so much abuse that I think some people on the TE were genuinely starting to feel sorry for him. And while it was a better defensive performance than has been seen at various points this season, it still wandered around at times like a bunch of ants who had been given LSD.

But that’s what made the victory such a great one. Once again, we come out of a half time “discussion” a totally different side, although you have to admit that, deep down, when we let it in a minute after the restart, you feared the worse. That we didn’t collapse is one thing. That we went up that gear is another.

You can watch GG’s goal yourself on the highlights, but even when it got back to 2-2 you had that sense in the back of your mind that we could have still done something. As we proved five minutes into injury time…

Seriously, the way Jolley came on and made their left back his own personal bitch deserved something. Him and KD (who also had a fine debut, one of the best we can remember for a long while) will put the fear of Satan into a few defensive lines this season if they keep it up.

But that goal could be bigger than it appears on this late summer Saturday evening. Getting the first win of the season at KM is always going to be a psychological hurdle, the longer you leave it. We’ve now done that, and we did it in the most entertaining way possible.

There is more though. Since Macclesfield this time last week, we’ve not only hurt but one senses we lost a bit of belief in ourselves. Talking beforehand about being up for this game and righting a few wrongs is all very well, but you’ve got to do it. And while I thankfully missed the trip to Moss Rose, I expect the first half today was the same as back then.

While we would have accepted the tie, to have that much, well, character to go into six minutes of stoppage time – no, I don’t know why it was that long either, not that I’m complaining – and grab the winner in such a manner should now give us that buzz we’ve been lacking all campaign.

Remember that we let the lead slip twice too. We all know we’ve got problems in defense and defensive midfield. According to TB afterwards, we’re now down to Stuart and BJ as our only centre backs fit. And until the loan window opens, or MMK finds a voodoo priest from Benin, there’s absolutely jack shit we can do about it.

I think we have to be honest with ourselves, even in the glow of the three points, that certain players will need to buck their ideas up if they don’t want to be loaned out in January – the sure sign that they’ll be elsewhere come the summer. We’re not nearly where we want to be yet, and some still have to settle to life in a higher level.

But for today at least, enough did that. And for that, we should thank them. After all, it’s a nice evening outside…

Plus points: We won. At home, finally. Great debut by KD. Jolley. Midson. GG’s goal. Keeping going in the way we did. Our character. Second half.

Minus points: The first half. Ricky Wellard. Conceding. Luke Moore’s penalty.

The referee’s a…: Oh dear. Remember earlier comments about how officials in the Football League seemed better? This penis breath today obviously didn’t know what the advantage rule was. Or offside. Or handballs. Or the concept of ten yards. There is no truth to the rumour that he had to get lessons to know how to blow his whistle.

Them: Right now, they must be heading back to the Stoke metropolitan area wondering how the fuck they don’t have three points. Big bastards, and knew how to cross the ball in. A typical League Two outfit, if you will.

At times in the first half they really did make us look Conference, but like so many teams in this division, they just can’t score to save their lives. Remember when it was 2-2, they put that cross in and their forward fell over the ball?

Still, they turned up in numbers – 446 of them – although perhaps not as noisy as one may have thought. Mind you, we weren’t exactly loud either…

Point to ponder: Do we have a fear of losing? Not in the uber-negative Giovanni Trappatoni manner (and christ, was RoI vs Slovakia painful to watch) but in the we-dare-not-leave-here-without-a-result manner.

As the team are (according to Twatter) going on a mass pissup team bonding session tonight, they do seem to have this ability, or knack, to have a poor performance followed by a much better one. We don’t seem to let something slide for too long, and touch wood there’s been little sign of a loss becoming two losses, then three…

I think there’s an inbuilt fear, for lack of a better expression, that a poor run could see us sucked down the bottom quite quickly. Right now, we’re five points away from second bottom – granted, it’s earlier in the season but it does illustrate what a poor run of form can do. We’ve now played six games as a FL club again and there’s no way this particular bunch wants to be remembered for tasting League football and spitting it out.

Again, this last week has felt quite painful because of how we “performed” at Macclesfield. We didn’t have a Carling Cup or JPT game to get out of our system, and those sort of games nibble away at you during the week afterwards. And considering that players do want to play competitive games, that may go some way to explaining why we played for 51 minutes in the second half.

We will need to sharpen up as the season goes along, we need more League experience and I remain unconvinced that we’ve made the necessary steps forward since Bristol Rovers. But we fought back then and we fought back today. And somehow, that may just be enough…

Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) Why is there an ad hoarding on the JS side that says “The Football Conference Community Club Development – AFCW helping their local community”, complete with Conference logo? An omen for the end of this season?* Mind you, there’s still a Ryman one up** (2) Harry Bassett seen walking from the carvery to the posh bit before the game. Sometimes I think that he only 75% “gets it”, although he did leave WFC under a big cloud, but he still seems keen to turn up to us on occasions. As much as I welcome their support, have Fash and Vinny Jones ever been seen at KM? (3) Rumours that Robbie “Take That” Williams was going to be at KM today didn’t seem to transpire. Mind you, neither did REMBE… (4) Stevenage at KM in the JPT. Meh.

* – I since got a communication from Clive (aka Fleydon, he of flag fame) about this. Quoteth below:

I hope not.

The fact is that last year the Premier League gave the Conference up to £12K each to fund grass roots community projects in all Conference clubs. We submitted a bid for funding for a set of 4 projects (whilst still a Conference club) which can be seen on the Community blog [Link] and were succesful in our application.

I was given a cheque on the pitch during the Watford PSF but part of the condition attached to the grant is that we show the board pitch-side for as long as we receive the money. We will hopefully only receive it for one year so the hoarding will be gone next season

Unless of course … (fill in nightmare scenario here) …

So, there you go.

** – something to do with Kingstonian, apparently.

Anything else? Things seemed a bit more relaxed at KM today off the pitch, and I think sorting out the bars, smoking etc a bit better helped. Previous diktats about taking bottle tops off did seem a bit extreme, so it’s good that that particular ruling has been put in the proverbial recycling bin.

I don’t doubt this has been a hard transition for an organisation like ours that hasn’t had to deal with such a level of organisation required before. Today didn’t feel like 4404 was in the crowd, and by that I mean it didn’t have the sheer overwhelming vibe that the Brizzle Rovers game had. OK, it was full, but it seems like we’ve finally learnt how to cope with it.

Speaking of attendances, I note that ours was the fourth biggest crowd in the division and we were higher than three in League One. Our turnouts this season have been impressive thus far, and even if you knock off 500 in future when the novelty wears off, that’s still a healthy set of statistics.

Looking at this division we’re in, the turnout for many a club seems to be what we were getting in the Conference South. And I think it proves one thing : we don’t need to worry “belonging” in this division…

So, was it worth it?  The fact your editor is so drained he can barely type this proves how good it was.

In a nutshell: Jolly good…