A few thoughts from drawing against Northampton last night….
– Are we ever going to get the luck we need this season?
Another game at KM and another draw. At least we’ve stopped the rot at home and are coming away with a run of results that you should expect in this division. It’s better than losing yet another game, needless to say.
And annoyingly, it was one of our best performances for some time. For once, we actually looked like a League Two side – we defended properly without any stupid errors (for once), we knew how to battle and put our foot in, and had we got a second goal we would have been glowing this morning.
But we’re all sitting here and for once can fume at the “officiating” and not make it look like we’re covering up the cracks. While unfortunately it sounds like their penalty was a penalty, albeit soft, you still get the sense that not only do we have to battle the opponents and ourselves to stay up, but the cockstains in referee uniforms as well.
The tackle on Meades that could have literally done a lot of damage? Ended up being a drop ball, didn’t it? Mind you, that incident made us do something I haven’t seen from a Wimbledon side in ages – the majority of the players piled into the ref in a show of genuine anger.
That’s quite a significant thing that happened there, and here’s why : apparently, Southend United have a simple list of instructions for their players pinned to their dressing room wall (no pseudo-science “motivational quotes” bollocks here), and one of them is “bully the ref”.
No, that doesn’t mean you kidnap his mother, sever his car brakes, forcefeed horsemeat to his kids and forcefeed a horse’s penis into his wife. Although I’m sure plenty of our fans would have happily done that to last night’s ref.
What it means is that you put pressure on the officials to give you decisions you wouldn’t otherwise get. Cynical, yes, but it gets you the breaks. One of the major flaws of the team this season and before thatÂ is that we’ve been put together to be “nice” in our dealings*. I think that was one of TB’s major failings, that Corinthian Fair Play was somehow going to get us points against sides who were far more street savvy and wise to cope with.
* – I also think that this desire of the club to be a “nice” noble bunch of pious Quakers is directly responsible for our current plight, and for us to progress as a professional football outfit we need to stop living in a footballing mentality which hasn’t existed since 1908 – if it ever did. But that’s just me.
Last night we became more cynical and tried to bully the ref back. OK, it didn’t quite work out this time, but at least we piled in when Meades got
assaulted tackled, and that’s something I haven’t heard much about for the past few seasons.
Was it a sign of unity? GA seemed to hint about that in his post-match comments after Bradford, and perhaps finally – finally – we’re showing it? Perhaps they’ve finally realised that games are starting to run out, that the time for gobbing off on social media or telling fans what they want to hear in interviews is over, and they have to get results? If it’s genuine, then better late than never, I suppose.
– What is becoming clear is that this relegation scrap will go down to the wire. We have enough games to get out of it and secure our safety by the time we play Gillingham, maybe even around Easter, but we’re still going to miss more opportunities to do that between now and Fleetwood.
And that’s why I’m still sitting here uncomfortably about our chances of staying up. We’re going in the right direction but we’re still bottom and Aldershot won. OK, we’re bottom only because we let in two more goals than t’Stanley, and that can quickly change now, but I’m really hoping those defensive fuckups in January won’t ultimately cost us.
We may have put in something resembling L2 side type performances this calendar year, but should we go down it will still be our own fault. And that will make it VERY hard to swallow.
Those games against the other shit teams are going to be six pointers and a half. They won’t do your head/stomach/bowels much good, but that’s what this season has turned into and we need to knuckle down even more.
We will lose a couple more games between now and the end of the season, but we have to make sure they’re not against other teams battling the drop. We’re bound to lose at Rotherham and Southend, and to be honest I don’t fancy getting much from Cheltenham either. Even so, and this sort of illustrates the division this season, almost every game is winnable.
– Somebody made a good point last night – the fact that we’re bottom is the ultimate motivation tool for the players, and other sides above us who think they can do enough to stay up may find themselves in shit. We know we have to keep plugging away and battling, but even somebody like York isn’t totally safe this season.
One more bad run of losses will finish us off now, but you suspect we finally made have enough mental character to stop it before it becomes terminal. We know we can’t slip up too many more times now, but from our point of view, we need a couple of struggling teams to hit some absolute woeful bits of form. And one team definitely will, but we have to make sure the other one isn’t us…
– Fitness issues aside, we must pair Bennett and Pim together for the rest of the season. Apparently, they were a CB partnership at Brentford, and it shows. You felt confident with them being there, and I guess were largely responsible for Northampton having precious little joy up front.
I hate to rag on the guy personally, but it shows why if we’re serious about staying up we should not play MMK again. Think of how much more assured we were last night, in comparison to how you feel when you see him
running around getting in everyone’s way and draining our belief showing the world what a “character” he is. I just hope NA (and NC) really don’t have a blind spot for him and to play him regardless of the stakes at hand.
We’re better with GA and Midson playing together, and I expect for many if not most people, this starting XI would be the preferred one for the rest of this campaign. We stand a good chance of getting out of this if we repeat last night for most games remaining – and that includes formation.
– Had you offered me four points from the last two games on Friday, I would have taken them. I suppose if we weren’t in a relegation scrap I would have shrugged this game off barring the usual venom at the referee.
In fact, what was surprising – and why I’m going to be absolutely bitter if we go down – is that this looked every inch the League Two mid-table scrap. Yes, I used the word “mid-table”, and our form in 2013 is well within that sphere.
I don’t think there’s too much gap between the bottom six and all teams up to the playoffs. It was only really us pre-January who you could describe as legitimately dire, and even so we had been slowly getting better from the outright shit of the beginning.
There have been comments away from AFCW that this division is one of the closest in a long while, namely there are no truly outstandingly good sides and no outstandingly shite ones. There are no basket-case sides this season (which I expect the club was secretly basing its progress in the FL on), and we have to scrap for every point. But there’s been few games we’ve lost where it’s sounded we’ve been second best throughout.
The old adage of everything still to play for is well and truly the case this season, and it really is still in our own hands. We showed legitimate signs of taking it last night, perhaps for the first time.
But we still have to do it.
– Finally, Seb has gone on loan to Woking. Now, the guy has had a lousier season than most, and I think the change may do him good. The thing is, I’m not convinced this is just simply a get-your-confidence-back loan deal.
The rumour mill suggests that Seb is one of the highest earners at the club. I don’t know how true that is, but if it is we have a real problem with him – he was dropped full stop for too long for it to just be a blip with him, and he didn’t exactly convince when he played in that Senior Cup game at KM.
As we saw with C-Mac, we’re not going to be shy in cancelling deals with players, even if we have to take a bit of a financial hit short-term. There’s going to be a lot of, ahem, correctional actions taken during the summer, and poorly awarded contracts will need to be one of them.
In Seb’s case, if he’s going to remain unplayable for us, why should we be paying (apparently good) money for him? He needs to do well at Woking, because if he doesn’t it will make our decision on him this summer a lot easier.
Yes, he gave us moments at Eastlands, but so did TB. And nobody is irreplaceable, or at least nobody should be. He certainly isn’t – as pre-season should have highlighted, there are enough competent enough keepers about for (hopefully) a L2 side like us to take on.
NA is giving the usual kind words on the OS, and he could come back with his confidence growing again. Perhaps if we can secure our safety before the end of the season, he’ll get a run-out again? I imagine Sully is gearing up for a coaching role to replace Paul Priddy, so it would be in our interests to see Seb back match ready.
Although the question needs to be asked, if Seb really is one of the highest earners at the club, you have to wonder why……….