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Mr Spirite

And after the horror show of Stevenage, and people having absolutely little faith in us for the campaign…. a win.

I wasn’t there, I was at Selhurst (which still hasn’t changed that much from when we were there) but Jampot was. His article below the line.

Only 47 more points to go …

There’s a lot of football still to be played. But come next April if we survive in this division, then we will look back even more fondly on Pixies* 1 Spirites 0.

How we were not 0-4 down after 30 minutes no one in KM knows. OK, Seb redeemed his reputation with a breath taking save to prevent one chance but come on, how did we win this?

I suppose by, in the end, grit and determination. And a touch of fortune, Jack Midson’s lethal eye and simply we scored, they didn’t!

McDonald – covering right back after Osano’s fitness failure – epitomised that. Given a torrid time to start with he stuck at it, getting better as the game went on, producing goal-saving clearances and the assist for the goal.

And what a goal! Being closed down he launched the ball downfield towards the desolate partial KRE stand and suddenly Jack M was stroking it pass the Chesterfield keeper who’d been pretty much a spectator for the whole game.

Wow, Route 1!

Direct football.

As someone said, who was more surprised by it? Them or us? I did worry ‘Terry ‘beautiful game’ Brown might have a coronary.

But such changes are significant. At all levels of professional sport, it’s as much about confidence as ability at times and suddenly ours, so fragile during the first 30, began to return such that passes went to colleagues; tackles were being made; and Chesterfield suddenly became a bit more ordinary.

I made a note at the beginning of the second half – first 10 mins will be important – as so often we seem to have a half-time kip and don’t wake up in time for the second half.

But having played a pretty crap 1st half, as is our way, lo and behold we actually competed from the start of the second half and despite them having a few half chances we probably had the best chances: Yussuff’s one on one and Jolly’s ‘going for glory’ effort when the pull back to Midson seemed so obvious.

And so we won: first disbelief and then surprised elation. Both on the pitch and terraces. Another win to make our opening day sequence: W9 D1 L1 in the AFCW era.

But let’s not get carried away. As my first game of this year, there were shocking déjà vu moments from last year – inability to pass to each other; midfield nowhere to be seen; and blind panic when players ran at the defence; and not picking up those second balls.

The only plus I could see was we didn’t play the diamond (at least I don’t think we did as Sammy M and Harris seemed to play most of the time side by side, getting in each others way).

This is still very much a work in progress, with some good individual efforts and others requiring more nurturing. For me, Brendan Kiernan, though not man of the match, showed he has accepted his transfer folly and has buckled down to produce a pleasing, trying performance. A few older heads could learn from that.

That said I hope TB doesn’t get too carried away with the result.

Plus points: A clean sheet and we scored so we won; Seb Brown; Jack Midson; improving as the game went on. Both teams for the effort they put in during totally unsuitable weather.

Minus points: First 30 minutes; the KRE not finished reducing capacity?

The referee’s a… totally inconsiderate bastard. Why could he have not allowed water-breaks? We had to await injuries for them to occur. Just because he’d forgotten his water bottle… Otherwise a pretty good game.

Them: Well, they certainly had the cutting edge up to the edge of our box but then couldn’t finish, which is why they lost. OK, we produced some excellent last ditch defending and saves but they had 3 chances slap bang in front of goal! It must have been a long way back for their fans who, truth be told, had expressed reservations about their team’s likely performance. They were almost as pessimistic as us!

Points to ponder: Many times yesterday we were second to the second ball. Was it that they were just quicker, more aware, essentially ex-League 1 footballers? Or were we trying to conserve energy? Looked that way at time.

We never rush to the ball when we can to make a clearance. Their player always seems to have time to close us down which leads to the rushed clearance. Watch others as they retrieve balls at tempo and push on the attack back at us. If we were trying to conserve, what does that say about our fitness levels, even now?

Secondly, Mike Richardson’s gift to the club [SW19 note: £250k] : thank you sir. But I wonder if it is a gift or conditions come attached? I hope so. If I’d won that £146 million on last Friday’s EuroMillions, the club would have got a sizeable helping hand but with conditions and goals attached. You sometimes forget and don’t appreciate stuff you get for free.

Three’s a crowd: Well with the KRE shut, making 4K was always going to be a struggle, coupled with holidays and a long journey for our opponents. Not that they failed in acquitting themselves well with 606 in the crowd of 3780, but can’t say I heard them from the Main Stand. Our lot appeared surprisingly supportive, despite seeing a lot of what did go wrong last year being executed again in front of us. I suppose people were forgiving for the first game of the season.

Anything else? Yea a few:

1) Pim watering the instep of his boot before the game. Why?

2) Comment made after the game about Stacy Long standing over the ball to prevent a quick free kick. Love the shout of ‘It only took 9 years’ to show experience might bring a few professional tricks to counter our naivety at times

3) Similarly was Jack’s head injury just on full time a ploy? Fash used to always go down injured, after we scored, in the old days to break up play.

4) Subs warming up on 13 minutes – presume TB was not happy.

5) Sprinkler in the far corner at the juncture of the JS/Tempest stands suddenly coming on. Surprised there wasn’t a player rush to get under it!

6) The PA getting Yussuff and Fenlon mixed up when Long was substituted. Suppose it confused them, as they were both here last year, and look so alike (P.S. the hair is the giveaway guys!)

In a nutshell: * Pixies play tricks like stealing [points] and appear childlike [like in defending]. Explains a lot doesn’t it?

I will think of a couple of musings later this week. Right now, the heat has frazzled my brain and I haven’t quite got into the swing of things yet. Besides, I have the inevitable fuck-up at Burton to write about…