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Well, that was better after Northampton. Then again, I think being doused in acid would have been more preferable than Tuesday…

So, Wise 1 Morecambe 1. A result that managed to be both two points dropped and one gained. Dropped because we played a lot better than I’ve seen us of late, even during our three game winning run (and doesn’t that seem a long time ago?), but a point earned because, well, you just weren’t confident of us equalising.

Had we lost this, I would have come on here and said that we were going to go down – if you play well, get fired up yet still lose, you’re doomed. And I really did write in my notes, five minutes before we scored, the following words:

“REALLY horrible feeling we won’t get anything. These sort of games are the ones that can relegate you – don’t play bad but still lose”.

Shame the SW19 reader who I showed the notes to after we scored shook his head in what I assume was disgust 😉

As it stands though, we got through this must-not-lose game by, er, not losing. Yes, it should have been a win, but we took just a little bit of pressure off ourselves when Toks netted, especially as most other results helped us.

Two extra points would have helped us make a bigger step towards Operation Survival’s completion, of course, but we did at least stop our run of form slumping again very quickly. Although Cheltenham stuffed Daggers 5-0 today, so no doubt we’ll be finding our ropes and heading to Bridgend on Wednesday morning.

I saw the goal on SSN, and it did seem like the usual lapse of concentration that a Conference level defence has in the Football League. Basically, their player got inbetween JS and MMK in much the same manner as many other goals have been scored against us this season. As a result, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that we will get very few clean sheets this season and it will crawl to the season’s end.

Still, credit where it’s due, it did look a bit more solid than most other times during the campaign, although we nearly threw it away at the end.  In fact, we played like we had a point to prove after the last two performances. Hatton and the returning Chris Bush (mostly) played reasonably decent as it goes – obviously one got the message and the other one realises he has very few opportunities to escape the cull come the summer (assuming TB stays). Obviously Billy Knott makes a world of difference, and thank fuck we’ve got him for another month.

I don’t understand why Midson is being shunted out wide, and more on Byron Harrison later. I wasn’t impressed with Jolley, who seems to have gone off the boil a bit, and Jason Euell looks unfit. Although he was dishing out instructions without threatening them in the process. Jamie Stuart, take note…

Should I be getting excited about this result and performance? I suppose I’m more relieved more than anything, although finding out we’ve now got three away games on the spin gives out mixed emotions. They’re on the road, so they should be a lot harder. Yet we haven’t won a Saturday game at KM since Gillingham, and quite simply our record at home is pathetic.

If we can go away from Cheltenham, Crewe and Hereford with just one defeat, that will help us a lot right now. Needless to say, an unexpected win will be a good bit of stimulation for the ego. Play like we did for (most) of today, and we stand a good chance of doing that.

But what makes me think we won’t?

Still, at least we won’t have to endure another weekend stewing over yet another loss. The league table looks a little bit healthier with the points gap between us and the second bottom side now twelve points. Although given that Northampton still need to play a game on us (which they’ll no doubt win), we will assume it’s nine points.

The teams below us do still have to play each other, as we do of them. We could do ourselves a MASSIVE favour by disposing them, as we should do. But then we said that before Northampton. And Accrington. And Barnet…

Plus points: We didn’t lose. Came back. Should have won it. Bush and Hatton taking their opportunities. Tok’s goal. Billy Knott.

Minus points: We didn’t win. Usual defensive lapse for their goal. Unsure about how fit JE really is. Feels like two points dropped.

The referee’s a…: Nobody calling for his blood, so I suppose he did all right.

Them: Hmm. Sort of a bit like Aldershot but without the physicality. To be honest, I’m pretty sure we could have done the double over them and with perhaps ten more minutes we would have. Still, they’ve been comfortably in the FL for a while, and they’re not a bad marker in the short term to match up with.

159 of them turned up, but when you consider that it was a 500+ mile round trip, that’s pretty impressive.

That said though, their team needed somewhere to train, and it just so happened to be at Franchise. So they deserved to lose 4-1 for that alone. Did they do it to piss us off, or was it just an unhappy co-incidence for us? To be honest, I think it was the latter. Teams borrow each others’ training facilties all the time – we’ve used Stoke and Sheffield United ourselves. So as try as I might, I can’t get upset by that, especially when you remind yourself that for all bar one club in the Football League, Franchise are an irrelevance…

Point to ponder: Whither Byron Harrison? For our record signing, he hasn’t seemed to have set the place alight as of yet. Some people point out how poor his first touch is, while others seem to think he’s lazy. He could be the sort of player that will start getting 10 goals once he gets the first one, but it won’t be a fun time for him until he does.

He got subbed for the second time in a week, and you suspect if and when Kieran D and/or Prior are fit he might find himself benched for some games. If this is the case, why did we sign him?  Unless it was to link up with Ricky Wellard.

Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) Note in the programme that Chris Slavin is our new Comms Exec guy. He used to be with the Surrey Herald, he’s a Scouser and supports Liverpool, and your editor once sat next to him in a freezing press box at Handy’s old ground. He’s a decent bloke, and hopefully he will bring the club’s comms up to the level it needs to be. (2) “Good defending Wimbledon, well done” – the bloke behind me not once, but twice in quick succession. I hope somebody taped that rare comment, if only to prove it has been uttered at the ground this season.

Anything else? Yeah. A couple of people said how odd the buildup felt – as though we were expecting the worse. After too many “performances” this season, including last Tuesday, it’s understandable. But even so, there was that Dave Anderson era feel before the game that it would be shite and we’d lose.

OK, neither happened today, and for that we’re thankful. But I wonder if part of that was down to the way we fucked up against Aldershot in the last game at KM? Lest we forget how buzzing people were beforehand, and that game kicked the enthusiasm out of the support.

Others have mentioned since the game finished today about the negativity around, especially in the TE. It was certainly as flat as I remember it after they scored, eerily so too. True, it picked up and we went home frustrated (not so much a bad thing), but there’s not as much vibrancy around right now – it’s almost as if the confidence to push on has gone and we’re just waiting for the end of the season.

Are AFCW fans becoming more cynical? Or at the very least, less deferential? Are we now looking at the players – and manager – and thinking that we could and should be doing better? I’ve certainly noticed there’s more criticism of TB now, although he gets a lot less stick than DA did. It wasn’t so long ago that the average fan would have given him as long as he wanted should he get us up…

It might all change with just a couple of good wins, but there’s certainly a difference in the support right now. It might be losing its naivity, which is of course no bad thing whatsoever. Alternatively, it could be that because we had five promotions in nine years we have set ourselves some pretty high standards, and we’re currently falling short on them.

So, was it worth it? Sort of.

In a nutshell: Could be better, could be worse…