… and hopefully we won’t go back down again this time.
SW19 wasn’t at the York game, but Jampot was. And here’s what he wrote…
I guess the interactive BBC League 2 table was fun to watch Saturday afternoon* as the results fed through, but probably not as much fun as being tortured by having your blood pressure going up and down like a whoreâ€™s knickers until it finally ended â€˜hArd(le)yâ€™s Ale 3 Worthington 2.
* – SW19 note: I was doing exactly that at Selhurst. It wasn’t.
Twice we were pegged back and yet again we managed to score. Thatâ€™s the first 3 goals at home since we played York in the Cup back in November, and then that wasnâ€™t in normal time; in fact, we have not scored 3 at home in the League since Bristol Rovers at home in October. Scary. But is that the change coming?
Must admit I was a bit fearful when I saw the team sheet. Sully (Neil) back to Doncaster, no Chris Hussey at left back and MMK still in the RB slot. And against York, here was a scripted disaster waiting to happen.
But it didnâ€™t.
Whilst at times we were poor â€“ too reliant on hoofing it forward and not trying occasionally to keep it on the ground and play football we know we can – York were poorer. Though they were quick of foot, apart from their well-constructed first goal after Sammy M didnâ€™t for once hoof it away up the pitch, they barely constructed much at all and always looked vulnerable in their own box.
It was just our inability to finish them off each time after scoring that made the match closer than it should have been. Oh, and giving away stupid dangerous free kicks (though I think Meades just fell over, but took the player down in a grabbing reaction that you do when you fall).
Still, 3pts and a move up of 3 places up the table helps. But did the most significant part of yesterday actually occur elsewhere? At Gillingham, Northampton and Torquay? That is, Plymouth sunk to the bottom â€“ again (how many times can you take that?); and both Accrington and Torquay went lower in the league than they have all season, amidst terrible runs of form. How psychological is that?
OK, we have a bit of a nemesis to face in Southend on Tuesday and their win at Port Vale wonâ€™t help our cause but if form counts, theirs is W2 D1 L3 whereas ours is W3 D2 L1; and comparing their home to our away form we get W2 D1 L3 against W3 D0 L3. Hmmmnâ€¦. well we were just slightly better on form than York today.
The saving grace for Tuesday is none of our near competitors have it easy either! And it might always get snowed or frozen off. Perhaps that would be useful in preparation forâ€¦.
Aldershot, resplendent with Paul McCallum, ex of this parish in their ranks; letâ€™s hope heâ€™s another â€˜old boyâ€™ who doesnâ€™t come good against us. Apparently, I heard, he really wanted to come back to us but after his injury recall that was not possible; of course, Andy Scott had spent so many hours in our Main Stand he knew what he was getting straight away without having to see him play after injury. .
Also on the grapevine, John Sullivan â€“ there is no rumour we signed him to save on printing on the team shirts â€“ almost came to us at the turn of the year but it didnâ€™t quite come off. Might explain why he seemed to fit in so well, so quickly, and seemed to really want to do well. No fault on the goals BTW.
So where do we go from here? Another defender coming in on loan is rumoured and given the physical nature of the last few games he will be needed. We still lack the belief at times to play football. You got the feeling if we could have yesterday we might have won more easily.
Of course, balance in the team helps that and Yussef â€“ who did ok yesterday â€“ is not the player to have in front of MMK, being left-footed. Still confidence comes from winning and if I were NA Iâ€™d nail our form since the turn of the year up on the wall for all to see:
Goals For 18
Goals Against 19
Points Gained 20
Keep that percentage up over the last 10 games, winning 15 points and we will undoubtedly be safe. And by the way, 5 of those conceded goals came in the defeats at Port Vale and Chesterfield alone!
Football is a simple game.
Plus points: John Sullivanâ€™s foghorn of a voice. Meades return. MMKâ€™s volley. Harry Pellâ€™s awareness where to put the ball for the winner. We, the players and crowd, for once never gave up. Big yourself up!
Minus points: Sammy M not adopting the KISS philosophy when defending. Going too deep at set pieces. Relaxing after we score goals, thinking job done, allowing the opposition to get back in. Midsonâ€™s form, bar his header for our second goal.
The refereeâ€™s aâ€¦ idiosyncrasy. How do you explain a drop ball that no player knew what it was for and then, right at the death asking them to retake a free kick into our box because, it seemed he had not blown his whistle? Petty or what? Again it became a bit of a rugby match at times, particularly when we got on top, though the couple for forearms went unpunished suggested wrestling was more descriptive.
Them: Still a candidate for the relegation scrap and perhaps the drop straight back down; forgot they came up via the playoffs. Thought they had some smart quick movement at times, but they relied on Rankine uniformly as the long route out of defence and at best he came off 40:60 with Pim.
At the back they look even more lightweight than we do at the back (how do people think we are a big physical side eh?). You just felt getting in amongst them, you could score. And we did. Three times!
Point(s) to ponder: Before this game, anyone from Chesterfield in about 15th could still go down if they hit a run like Macclesfield did last year (4pts from 12 games) and even after yesterdayâ€™s game anyone from 50 points down should still be looking downward.
However, the group from D&R down (on 45pts) are those that should be most concerned. In 3 out of the last 4 years, the highest relegated team has accrued 44 points on two occasions and on one, 47! So donâ€™t think we are out of the woods yet! I firmly believe we need to pretty much maintain our current above over the last 10 games to definitely stay up; at present only Barnet are in better form than us of those towards the bottom of the table with Torquay, York, Rochdale and Accrington the worst.
And Rochdale won yesterday too!
Was that one of the quietest debut by a goalkeeper who then had to pick the ball out of the net twice? Apart from their goals, did he have another serious shot to save? Loved the verbal barracking to the back line and a mean kick on him, if a strange action. Reminded me of Jack Turner and his characteristic peel away action in kicking.
A comment made by the guy next to me about refereeing this year: is it that this is the worst of the best (for the Football League) whereas in the Conference you get the best of the worse (Non-League)?
Following on from that, repairs made to the pitch, nailing down artificial turf where the linesman runs in front of the main stand. Some wag suggested the linesman might fall down the â€˜holeâ€™ that was apparently there. By the end of the match most of us wish he had. Twat.
Should we be considering playing MMK up front, or in midfield? OK, thatâ€™s not a dig on how he played today at the back which was generally good. Just he seems to have quite a mean finish on him given his goal this game and against Torquay. I have a faint recollection he has played there before.
Threeâ€™s a crowd: 4,349 with 520 from York. Given how quiet it seemed before the game, presume everyone turned up once theyâ€™d sorted out their Motherâ€™s day present. Thought we really did get behind the team yesterday when we scored and needed the help in the last 10 minutes. Mind you they didnâ€™t half put us through it again, didnâ€™t they?
Anything else? Is it just me, or does the Crossbar challenge belong in a different era?
It emphasises to me a lack of release of the past and movement to the future; the source of negativity coupled with an air of despondency and at times resignation that things will never change, both off and on the pitch.
I just wonder if it is time for a change at the top, if nothing more than for a different perspective.
Donâ€™t think I am not grateful for those who have been there, itâ€™s just that stagnation is just as dangerous as too much risk taking. But this lot still have some history of decision-making that they need to be made accountable for, even if it is only to accept comments from the members of the club.
SW19 note : for what it worth, if it’s possible to agree more than 100% than this comment, then sign me up. While I think on-the-pitch will start changing during the summer, there is a real need for something “fresh” off it – perhaps even more so than the squad.
After all, this season has shown that you can’t run a Football League club with an approach that sometimes barely reaches out of the Ryman Premier.
Like JP though, I wonder if things will actually change off the field – not because I don’t think there will be enough people to make the change, but internal club politics holding it back. Or to put it another way – those who have been here for the last 11 years may think they deserve another 11 years at the helm…
Was it worth it? Well for â€˜entertainmentâ€™ it beats being mid-table with almost nothing to play for.
In a nutshell: We are going up one way, they are going down the other; long may that continue.
Just a very quick thought : yesterday was MASSIVE. It could have gone so wrong, and even a draw might have made this a more troublesome weekend.
We head to Roots Hall on Tuesday, and to be honest I’ll be happy with a draw from that. Although obviously the win will be something else. That’s assuming the snow doesn’t bugger things up (in March? Mind you, your editor was once in Washington DC in March when he had to deal with a good 12″. And it snowed, too).
There will be yet more twists and turns, and we’re certainly not out of the woods yet. But for once, we had an opportunity and we took it (even if we nearly threw it away twice). If we’re going to finally, finally kick on, now will be the best time to do it.
It does seem that we can at least fight back and perhaps get points we otherwise wouldn’t get, which we’re going to need from now until after the Fleetwood game. And when you consider how we were in the beginning of the season, it seems like we’ve come a long way just to get in that position.
I guess the old adage of taking it one game at a time really does come into play now….