Skip to content

Any Old Iron

PLEASE NOTE: This is a temporary theme in use by SW19, as for some reason the other one decided to balls up during an update – and the reason I can’t re-upload it is the same reason as I cannot upload pictures right now.

I’ve no idea whether this works on a smartphone, but it will do for now…

Well, that was immense fun, wasn’t it? Three goals, all down the Tempest Ecohouse End, a comeback in a manner that we haven’t seen in a while, and something resembling a bit of team spirit to boot.

I’m just glad that not every game is like Grit 3 Steel 2

As an SW19 reader said to me afterwards, don’t be pessimistic this time. So I won’t. At least, not for all of it…

Let’s get the negativity out of the way first. Sheringham is already looking like the new Danny Webb, and that’s not a good sign (his old man was in the stands watching him. Or just as likely eyeing up some of the WAGs). His penalty could have kickstarted his career with us, and you already can’t help but think a major chance has gone.

We look a worse defensive unit without Bennett, and Weston needs to get up to speed with Framo. The strike force generally can’t seem to put it in the net when we have really good pressure (in the first half, anyway). And when we went 2-0 down, it was as though we put our heads down.

But right now, I suspect you don’t want to read that.

After the game, NA said that he was impressed by the team spirit and the way at half time he tried to get them through the adversity. Although he noticed (as your editor did as well) that some of the players did seem to turn on each other when we went 2-0 down.

When Smith scored (and by god did he look like a weight went off his shoulder afterwards), you got that feeling didn’t you? We’ll come onto the obvious substitution later, but I’m glad Chris Arthur started living up to his new nickname of Scud.

I guess we’ve been guilty of reading what Northampton fans said of him, but he hasn’t done much wrong. As the impact type player he certainly had an, erm, impact.

Indeed, when you think about it, never have substitutions been as effective as they were today for some while. Scunny were vulnerable after Smith scored, and when you’ve got Arthur and Midson going at you…

But then, everything around the pitch (OK, except for some defensive errors that looked too much like last season) went up a gear. After the Wycombe game, it was noted that if we could just have a shot on the goal, we might get something.

I guess that’s what Pell had in mind, anyway. I want to see that strike again (and Smith’s) because they were the sort of goals that really do win games. And yes, I know it was an equalising goal rather than a game winner, but by god did everyone lift themselves after that.

OK, Arthur’s goal had a deflection, but as he was apparently smiling as though Pippa Middleton had just noshed him off after the game I haven’t the heart to tell him. Not that it mattered anyway…

So, what? At least we show we can come back. Even if Scunny had equalised, at least we demonstrated enough character to put our fuckups behind us. And that’s a very important trait to have.

The reaction at the end said it all. Lots of fist pumping (especially with Midson), Ardley going round hugging all the players, and a sense that we’d actually achieved something today.

It’s important to point out here that for the first ten minutes we were pretty much on top. In fact, until they scored I would have said we were the better of the two sides. But there was that lack of a cutting edge up front that could have obviously been remedied but wasn’t.

And because of that, things like us going 2-0 down happen. Indeed, if Sheringham had scored that penalty, we might have won that a bit easier today.

There’s a lot to sort out still. To play like that for much of the game after the Exeter shambles is still a concern. One suspects that until we tighten up (at both ends of the pitch) Fleetwood will get their first ever win against us next Saturday.

But fuck it, that’s a week away. I’m going to enjoy the fact that we can actually come back these days and win games, and that we can play better. Hell, we’ve still only lost once at KM in 2013…

Plus points: We won. Fighting back. Jack Midson changing the game. Chris Arthur. Harry Pell’s shooting. Starting off well. Could have added a fourth.

Minus points: Going 2-0 down. Not enough cutting edge at times. Sheringham failing to kick on. Defence going back to old ways.

The referee’s a…: Started off well for us, then obviously the rain started to affect his electronic brain, causing it to rust. Would explain some decisions, anyway.

Them: If I was one of their fans right now, I’d be looking at buying a house upon their return up North. You know, one of those two-up, three-down ones…

Until it was 2-1 they were doing the basics better than we were, and they had a couple of decent chances to make it 3-0 and really ruin our collective weekends. But they weren’t miles better than we were, and I think we deserved to win on the way we played after Midson came on by itself.

Scunny did prove something about this division that we’re still learning – they know how to put themselves about a bit and push on. Literally, as it goes. That we got success when we started matching them on that score is no co-incidence. I imagine like ourselves, they’ll be mid-table come May.

Oh, and for the second home game in a row – just what the fuck is it about visiting sides and their change strip this season? This was something that Newport County would have rejected. Still, at least if the floodlights had failed we could still make them out…

Point to ponder: Just what does NA see in Sheringham that he doesn’t see in Midson? Look, I feel a bit sorry for Teddy’s kid, because getting off to an, ahem, “ordinary” start isn’t going to do the confidence much good.

His penalty got saved, and he’s got to have damn strong character to keep pushing on and getting that elusive goal that might – might – give his career with us a boost.

I’ve no doubt he would be a good player at Conference level, but this is League Two and so far he hasn’t shown what Smith has already demonstrated. Unlike Midson, he’s got to start getting on the scoresheet very quickly now to silence the doubters.

That may be unfair – or premature – to say that, but already it looks like he’s going to take a long while to score. Which needless to say isn’t a good sign. As said in the opening section of this report he’s already starting to be likened to Danny Webb.

I’ll be honest and admit I wasn’t particularly overwhelmed by him signing (or indeed for NA to come out and say we were pursuing him), because from what we’ve seen pre-season and actual proper games, he’s no better than Prior.

He played against Millwall in one of the most ineffective attacking performances for some while, and you can’t help but think he should have remained at Dartford.

Can he improve? Yes. Does he urgently need a goal? Absolutely. Is he already being written off? In one or two instances, he is. But you’ve got to say, he doesn’t exactly inspire confidence right now.

And then there’s our man who makes Kedwell look like dog plop. But I’ll come onto him later…

Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) Some of our players arriving at 1330 because of the M25 traffic. At least we didn’t need to use that as an excuse. 2) The weather. Horrible, and gave a rather strange vibe to things for a while – a bit like a manky League Two game in the middle of January. At least it wasn’t cold. 3) All five goals at the Ecohouse End. Sorry all you Noodle Stand dwellers, but you’ve had more than your fair share of action this last year. 4) Crowd below 4000. Although it is August Bank Holiday…

Anything else? OK, Midson.

Seriously, why does he never play 90 minutes these days? I can understand it if we decide for the odd away game we play one up front and bring him on. And if he starts and gets pulled off, that’s football.

But we know the guy is capable of at least making a difference. As he proved today. So what is NA’s issue with him? Is Midson carrying an injury that might mean he can’t play as much as we’d like him to?

Is there some hush-hush transfer deal happening? Although that would be awful timing on our part and JM isn’t exactly playing like he’s distracted.

Do NA and JM still have some issues that makes our boss not start him? If there are, then it’s time to put it behind them. The need to score goals is a vital one, especially with the others either just finding their feet (Smith) or underperforming (Sheringham).

And I’m sure some kind soul can tell me whether I wrote exactly the same stuff a little while ago.

It wasn’t exactly rocket science to see us play better when we had a go, and Midson as sure as hell does that. True, we haven’t won every time he’s played, but at this level strikers who score and/or make a difference are pretty valuable.

I do wonder if NA is a bit miffed that he doesn’t have Gary Alexander this season. He always seemed more of a favourite for our boss, perhaps even ahead of the man with the long hair. If so, he does need to realise he doesn’t have him (and nor will he have Smith come January).

So we really need to sort out the issues with Midson being benched for so many games. If it’s injury related, there’s not a lot we can do. If it’s anything that can be remedied, then get it sorted.

Because I doubt if we would have got all three points today without him…

So, was it worth it? Eventually.

In a nutshell: Three points off automatic promotion…