No, I wasn’t at Morecambe, which is why you’re reading this now. None the less, after basking in the fact we’re now third, a few initial thoughts…
Perhaps what it proves most of all is that confidence really does breed confidence. And no, that’s not a mistype. That we managed to turn it around after not only going a goal down but Luke Moore having a penalty saved proves that maybe we’re good enough after all.
Even listening to it on WDON (and the sound quality now is pretty good, even if I miss the 80s Eastern European landline vibe) and chatting bollocks on iPloughLane, there was always that sense that something was going to happen. Don’t get me wrong, I would have taken a draw at 2.59pm, much as I would have accepted a draw at Bradford and before Gillingham. But as Christian Jolley said last week, the confidence is there and it shows.
Perhaps TB’s job is now safe after all? 😉
Seriously, this is a turnaround and a half from about a month ago, where we left Aldershot looking like a team going back into the Conference. But just as losing can become a habit, so can winning. The team is, at the moment at least, showing the kind of fuck-you-we’re-going-to-win-this attitude that I don’t think we saw until the end of last season.
For those with long memories, it was around this time last year where we went to Wrexham and stole all the points in the way we did. Did you know the heddlu are still looking for us to cross the border to arrest us for it? Fast forward twelve months, and the most notable thing is that our victories aren’t flukes.
Initial reports from the Morecambe side of things suggest that we were the best passing team seen at their place this season. The BBC’s Juliette Ferrington covered the game and described us on Twatter as “impressive”. No doubt in the next 24-48 hours, the returning 413 (and yes, I’m jealous you got up there and I didn’t) will be waxing lyrical about it. After they get over their hangovers, that is…
So, how long can we keep this run going? When will it all go pear-shaped? Will it go wrong? At some point, we have to hit a(nother) sticky patch, and it might come around the Crawley game, if not before. What has changed in the last month was that the next time we start losing games, we have enough in us to dig deep, start playing properly again and start another winning run again.
Before this run, we did have that bit of a feeling that we would get the odd win, then a draw, before reality bit us again. That’s changed now, and the strange thing that is apparent right now, you look at us being third in the table and you don’t get the nosebleed.
Which does force us to readjust the expectations game. TB still wants us to look down the bottom – in every pre-game interview (and no doubt post-game ones too), he constantly re-iterates that we’re more concerned with Plymouth and Hereford and Barnet rather than Southend and Crawley.
That’s starting to become a bit harder to do (for the record, and to stop you looking it up, we’re now 16 points ahead of the bottom two), and if – as one may reasonably expect – we dispose of Crewe next Saturday, it almost becomes too pessimistic to do. The 50 point target is one to aim at, and we’re nearly halfway there already, but I think it’s now harder to go down than for us to go up. Not saying we still can’t manage to do something cataclysmic, but when even your editor says it’s unlikely we’ll go down now, something must be going well.
And now watch us lose seven games in a row.
In true barstooler/armchair fan style, your editor got to watch Northampton v Crawley, and to be honest it was crap. The second half stats at one stage suggested the ball spent 5% in the middle of the park, which gives you an idea of what styles of play were on display. It was hardly an advert for the division, put it that way.
What struck me though was this – Crawley have spent a lot of money, and they’re above us (plus ca change), but they’ve bought a team where they are capable of getting one attempt and taking it. Otherwise, they don’t look head and shoulders above everyone else. I think we might be starting to develop that ourselves, which if we can do it to such effect won’t see us do too badly.
Nobody bar the most idiotic will complain about signing Jack Midson for nowt now (for the record, Danny Kedwell netted a spot kick again today), although I still think we’re a bit short up front. Something for January, perhaps. But maybe for the first time in the AFCW era we have a player who can do nothing (seemingly) yet get that goal from absolute nowhere. His first goal today was a bit like that, apparently…
So all in all, we can afford to be a bit giddy today, and indeed for the rest of the week. It may not last, in fact it probably won’t, but being in an automatic promotion spot is always a good feeling. Especially when there’s no pressure on us – at least, in comparison to the likes of Oxford, Crawley and Swindon. It’s not like anyone predicted it, least of all ourselves.
So, put your money on Crewe winning next Saturday……..