Not for the first time in recent memory, your editor seemed to have got the better deal over the weekend. While he was at Reading v Watford, a fair few of us went down to the West Country and saw us lose.
Or perhaps more accurately, by the sound of the post-game analysis, failed to turn up until it was too late.
Helpfully, I got two contributions. Firstly, from somebody who wants to remain anonymous (though I am open to bribery….):
For the first 5 minutes, we were great for about 2 of them.Â Other than that, and a period during the second half when we tried to have a go, they were better than us all over the park.
We had no ooomph but should have known what was coming – us on an open terrace on a horrible rainy day, we know what that means.Â Though we weren’t as bad as at Macclesfield or Brizzle Rovers (season before last).
On and off the football pitch
Pissed all over us
Thirteen-hour round trip
And ear-piercing samba drums.
You can fuck right off.
Somehow, I get the impression I don’t need any more submissions…
As we continue our progression to mid table mediocrity, I guess we’ll have to accept we’ll get days like this. By all accounts, we pretty much lost the game in the first half, and never really recovered. We started off slowly, Exeter didn’t, and that was really that.
Needless to say, it highlights a few important issues. If nothing else, it proves we’re nowhere near being the finished article – or at least as good as we claim to be.
We should have seen it coming when people beforehand were nonchalantly predicting a draw at the very worst. Hardly any prediction for losses, and a real air of (over?) confidence that we simply had to turn up at SJP.
And by the looks of it, the players had the same idea, too.
This isn’t new, and it was often the case in the WFC era too. We were on a high from beating Wycombe the week before, and because of that we forgot our work ethic. You can bet training this week will be hell for the players, as it should be.
OK, our three games in the FL this season have been W1 D1 L1, which will put us comfortably in mid-table forever and a day. Two of our next four games are Fleetwood (h) and Chesterfield (a), so one suspects we’ll have to get back on track against Scunny.
Is it too early in the season to talk about “must win” games? Saturday isn’t must-win, in the actual sense of the word, but we don’t want to start getting into runs of losses at this stage of the season if we can avoid it.
It’s a nice feeling – even after a shit sandwich of a defeat – to be looking at the embryonic League Two table and see us not going up nor down. And I want us to keep it that way. Get into the habit of bouncing back after a poor performance and/or loss, and we’ll be OK.
There will be as many Torquay and Wycombe-type games as Exeter, and we have to make sure we take them when they come along. Or if we don’t, we’ll have to get a couple of scalps…
It did sound that we finally got some attacking prowess in the end, and apparently one of our shots went over the line. And there are some Luddites who still think technology in football is a bad thing.
But there are eunuchs who are more potent than our strike force right now. All of them – and I include Midson in this – are lucky at the moment that they’re in the unofficial grace period of roughly ten games.
They all need a goal, perhaps a couple, to really get going. And yes, those there at Exeter say that we did at least get into positions to score. But put it in the net they must do, otherwise they’re simply not doing their job.
Smith tries hard, though I remain thoroughly unconvinced by Teddy’s kid. With him, there’s something of the Ross Montague or, for those with longer memories, Gary Blissett. Sans tache, thankfully.
But Midson seems to be the concern here. He was started, which is what the bulk of our fans wanted to hear, and he failed to finish a game again. We know he’s capable of scoring, so why isn’t he?
Just a bad run of form? Every striker gets that, needless to say. But this will be his third season with us, and it’s not so unusual for a striker to go off the boil quite quickly after being the top scorer for the previous couple of campaigns.
The longer his drought continues, the more people will raise their eyebrows and snort at him. Currently, he is a good striker, but he can quickly turn into somebody who was a good forward.
And you don’t need to tell me the fallout from that. If you were to say which player we could sell who would make us the most money right now, Midson would still be top of the list.
But how long before somebody like Worner (who apparently seems to have got over his fuckups) replaces him? Keeping a proven goalscorer is good, but only if he’s putting it in the net.
The whole JM thing is an intriguing one. I assume his current deal runs out at the end of this season, so if we’re going to cash in on him we’ve either got until the end of this month or January to get the money.
Could the next couple of months decide his future? That may sound alarmist, but if we have to make a decision to cash in on him or tie him up for another year or two, then it’s not so far fetched.
If he’s scoring, then all well and good. We get the goals, which will mean we’re not losing the games, and the decision on whether to re-sign him or get the dough becomes a “nice” one to have.
If he’s not, then you won’t blame NA for going to under-21 games in October, looking at how Bamba and Beere are doing, and asking Shaun North if they’re ready enough to have a little gamble on them.
To be honest, I expect Midson will start scoring again (as will Smith). But equally I wouldn’t be surprised if this is his last season with us. Yes, he scored against Franchise, and we will always remember THAT penalty against Fleetwood.
But that was then and this is now. And he wouldn’t be the first or last to find that out.
Still, it’s nice to be openly questioning the future of your star player for the last two seasons after a crap defeat. Especially three League games in. Proper football supporting, how I have missed you.
Something else nice that did happen over the weekend was us drawing Brentford away in the JPT. I think they and Leyton Orient were the two fixtures we wanted, simply because it’s a good evening out.
We all know about Franchise, and drawing Crawley and Stevenage for the zillionth time. Even Millwall wasn’t nearly so exciting as getting Charlton would have been. Going to Griffin Park on the other hand is one of the fixtures you’ve always wanted us to have.
And not just because we’re their feeder club 😉
Considering we’ve never played a competitive game in the AFCW era against them (and we didn’t play too many more in WFC times), going there will always be poignant because of this game.
Leaving aside the very young looking Mikey T in that snapshot, I’m glad we’re going back there in happier, proper circumstances just twelve years later. OK, I know some think we should accept any crappy game at KM purely to get the bar takings in, but where’s the fun in that?
And this is why drawing this fixture is so good – it will be fun in sunny West London. OK, we might get stuffed, but a few drinks, a decent turnout in non-hostile territory, and that kind of buzz you get from playing London midweek games away that we’ve sorely missed is fun.
We haven’t really had too many fixtures like this in the AFCW era. True, winning titles and playoffs have more than made up for that over the last decade, but that people were genuinely up for it when the game was announced said it all.
We might even win. Hell, our strikers may even score a goal…..