Slow march. Army. Aldershot. Geddit? Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.
Lame pun aside, I guess you could put us winning at Aldershot down as yet another big step towards survival. While your editor was at Pride Park, it seems that over 1000 of us witnessed a side that is currently fulfilling its side of the bargain.
Anyway, I have a full and descriptive contributionÂ from David G, who clearly took a lot of time, effort and thinking power to come up with this.
Get the fuck in !!!!!
Thankfully, I’ve got a longer one (an article, you little filth hounds) from George Lear. His scribings come after the dotted line, my unconsidered thoughts afterwards..
So, Shit Shots 0 Hot-Shots 1. One of those raucous away days that are great fun…..if you win.
The fact was, when the singing and euphoria after the goal are taken away, this was a poor match between two poor sides with the ball being headed backwards and forwards across midfield for what seemed like minutes at the time.
The goal was our only clear cut chance where as they missed a sitter in the first half (it was obvious how bad the miss was, even from the other end) and Sully made two good saves in front of us in the second half.
Despite this, was it just me or did it never really feel in doubt? We controlled this match and, I guess, this is what successful League Two sides do a lot.
They have someone who can take chances while not letting the opposition score â€“ simple really! The most impressive thing for Dons fans was the extent to which we dominated midfield in the first half. In my humble opinion, the midfield has been as much of a problem as our defence and yesterday it seemed to be strong.
Plus points: We won. Again. Our midfield in the first half and defence in the second. Benno was immense but Mat-Mystery King matched him inch for inch and didnâ€™t put a foot wrong. They were two battled hardened warriors. The biggest compliment I can pay is that when the inevitable Shots onslaught occurred in the last 10 minutes it was dealt with calmly. Harry Pell â€“ a driving force. Sully Mark 2 (Would Sully Mark 1 have got down to save both of those Aldershot chances in the second half?) Jackâ€™s goal, which nobody in the away end saw clearly, looked good on the Football League Show.
Minus points: KSL faded badly after 10 or 15 mins of coming on and seemed to have been â€˜worked outâ€™. Toks was poor in the first half. Only being five points clear because of Plymouth and Accrington winning.
The refereeâ€™s aâ€¦: He was alright.
Them: There is no doubt that the Rec was a gloom filled place at full time for home fans.
They are in trouble.
Teams tend to get relegated from League Two either because of grossÂ mismanagement (take a bow Luton, Stockport, Wrexham etc) or because they are too small to compete (Macclesfield, Kidderminster, possibly Accrington this season) crowds wise at this level for a sustained period of time.
Aldershot (who got 1, 500 in midweek) must fall into the latter category. There is a feeling amongst a couple of fans I spoke to that the board almost want to get relegated so they can go back part time and become financially solvent. From a personally selfish point of view, I hope they stay up. Itâ€™s a great away trip to a good old fashioned stadium.
Point to ponder: Viva Erik Samuelson? Andy Scott could have been ours, if they rumour mill is to be believed. Aldershot (and York) are an example of hanging on for too long. We had to get the timing of TBâ€™s departure perfect to avoid tearing the club apart and Erik pretty much did.
Anyone who says he should have quit after the Shrewsbury win on the last day of last season needs to read his interview in the Aldershot match day programme. He sees himself as taking one more club up to the promised land and we couldnâ€™t have sacked a manager whoâ€™d taken us to 16th in our first season back in league football. At the same time, any longer and Ardley would have struggled to change the squad too much if heâ€™d come in any later.
Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) My dadâ€™s first match since Cheltenham at home and heâ€™d only seen five of the players in yellow and blue before, one of whom was Chris Hussey who heâ€™d last seen in the Conference South. Shows the extent of the Ardley revolution (2) The guard on the train north offering counselling â€˜in the guards office between coaches three and fourâ€™ to any Aldershot fans over the tannoy on the train. (3) Singing â€˜Terry Brownâ€™s yellow and Blue Armyâ€™ again at full voice. I thought weâ€™d done that for the last time a Wycombe. A nice, genuinely warm reception from both sets of fans but will he get that club he desires and feels he deserves?
Anything else? What is in the League Two water this year? Why wonâ€™t a team or two just bugger off and collapse!!??. Last year, Hereford went down with 44 points, Macclesfield with 37. Last year, we would ALREADY BE SAFE. Anyone Dons fans feeling smug better watch out. The mythical 50 is not going to be enough this year. Hold onto your pants.
So, was it worth it? You bet!
In a nutshell: Mark Lee Molyneux on Tuesday!!
Practically nobody has said it was a good game, but everyone has said what a fantastic – and vital – three points it turned out to be. We may have only had one chance, but sometimes that’s all you need…
I was following it on iPloughLane, and it sounded like a horrible game as a spectacle. As bad, perhaps, as the same clash at KM, though with a better result. No, it won’t guarantee our safety, but it’s another step forward.
And it’s a good reminder that we’re still in a slog.
Certainly the attitude seems good – there has been precious little triumphalism about the three points. Both Jack Midson and Harry Pell have pretty much twigged there’s still a lot to do, and that does sound like the NA work ethic in full swing. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to hear they were in training today watching DVDs of t’Stanley and focusing on what is likely to be yet another horrible game to watch.
A win is obviously what we want, a draw won’t hurt and even a loss will sting a lot but won’t be fatal. Though if we did lose three points we’d need to bounce back reasonably quickly again.
And it does say something about L2 this season that a team with three straight wins on the bounce, top of the form table and with a gap is still looking over its shoulder.
Having a five point gap at this stage of the season is better than being five behind with eight games remaining, though. It’s still a small enough gap to warn against the complacency, but it’s also wide enough to have a bit of breathing space.
Effectively, we’re two wins away from probable safety, if not mathematical. Some neutral observers may think we’re already safe, although they don’t know us 😉
Two wins and a draw will be better, but we’re now getting into the stage of the season where games are running out. After Tuesday, regardless of what happens, we have seven games left.
As does everyone else below us.
Before I go on, here’s the list of the remaining fixtures of everyone between 19th and 24th:
Accrington: AFCW H, Gillingham A, Wycombe A, Burton H, York A, Morecambe H, Rovers A, Oxford H.
Aldershot: Port Vale A, Rochdale A, Oxford H, Wycombe A, Southend H, Dagenham H, Rotherham A.
Barnet: Fleetwood H, Cheltenham H, Daggers H, AFCW A, Chesterfield H, Torquay A, Wycombe H, Northampton A.
Plymouth: Southend A, Chesterfield A, Exeter H, York A, Cheltenham H, Burton A, Rotherham H, Rochdale A.
Torquay: Chesterfield H, York H, Northampton A, Bradford H, Gillingham A, Barnet H, Morecambe A, Rovers H.
York: Torquay A, Rovers A, Plymouth H, Accrington A, Northampton A, Southend H, Dagenham A.
A few things pop out. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly of all, everyone bar Plymouth and Aldershot play two of everyone else on this list. Except for York, who get to face three of them.
That means that when those sides clash, either one team drops all three points or both teams drop two. At a stage of the season when they can’t really afford to do either.
My own gut feeling, at least if I’m trying to be objective here, is that the bottom six will become the bottom four quite quickly. There is scope for at least one more team, possibly two, to have the run of form we’ve had in the last couple of weeks.
Should a team do that, they’ll probably be safe. And be praised for their exquisite timing.
Conversely, any team who loses three of their remaining games is likely to finish behind us. Any team who loses half of those is going to have a VERY nervous last day, and a team that loses five of them will have to find Alfreton on a map.
Come to think of it, though I haven’t bothered to do calculations, any team that loses games against its fellow strugglers is in shit, because they have to find another game to simply draw back level on points.
Look at York for example – they have to face Torquay, Plymouth and Stanley. Lose even two of those games, and they’ll be back in the Conference pretty much. In a nutshell, everyone has to win…
And everyone won’t.
Other factors come into play as well. You can’t say with us that we don’t have the work ethic and a team spirit that, should we have a blip, will go out on the training ground and work to put it right ASAP. What is the mental state of some of the teams down the bottom?
As the report above said, those who went to Aldershot have said that there was an air of resignation around when we went 1-0 up, and for a club fighting for its survival that’s not good. Somebody’s arse is about to go in just the bottom six alone, and judging by the mood music it could well be one of Aldershot, Torquay or York.
Of course, all of this is written with the worst of worse case scenarios, namely we now go on a run where we lose about five games of the last eight. Which is possible, but would pretty much be completely out of kilter for us since January. Even a run of draws will probably see us safe, and relatively comfortably too.
You would hope – and certainly expect – that if we did have a blip we would have enough within us to get over it. To have that doomsday run of form would effectively be December pre-rebuild, or at the very worst a throwback to the dying days of TB…
Speaking of our ex-manager, he was guest of honour there yesterday. Apparently, he did the half time raffle, and you editor has to hold back the snarky comment about that’s all he can manage these days 😉
He did seem to get a good reception though, and I’m sure that time will be a healer for everyone. The sad thing is that while the guy did take us from the poxy Ryman League to the Football League, he did also do a lot of damage that we’re only really sorting out now (though I think the club’s decision makers have to shoulder much of that blame).
I wonder what he was thinking as he was watching the game, though? There were about four of “his” players out there, if you don’t count Hussey. And Toks was apparently pretty piss poor. He watched a largely NA team, playing the way NA has been trying to get them to, with NA players generally getting the plaudits. And a NA side getting the three points and continuing to climb up the table.
I haven’t seen his programme notes, but I wonder if he’s telling himself that he can bring another club up to the FL because he wants – no, needs – to believe he can? Bit like how he tried to convince himself he could rebuild the side this pre-season in the Football League…
It’s interesting that he hasn’t been back in management since he got axed, tellingly even Handy didn’t take him on – and that was a slam dunk of a decision, you would have thought.
If he doesn’t get anything in the summer, he might have to go back drawing raffles at Aldershot. Although given their alleged financial issues, he might end up playing…
Anyway, we move onwards. To sunny Lancashire, no less. The finishing line for our survival this season seems closer than ever, but tantalisingly feels so far away.
We can do it, can we?