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Fancy a Brew?

Another game at KM, and another win? Whatever happened to the good old days (sic) of Theme Park KM : The place where all visitors go home happy…?

Anyway, while your editor was watching Chesterfield further prove why they’ll probably win the title this season at the Kassam, Jampot was at KM making notes. We’re all getting giddy…

Normal service resumed.

After the promising display but ultimately disappointing result at Chesterfield (I did not go), the question was would this be a ‘resumption of normal service’ at Fortress KM?

In the end it was, but our collective nervousness still remains from last season and is, I am sure, reflected in the muted atmosphere both before and during the early part of our games.

It is like we do not know how to react anymore. It was only after we equalised that the crowd came to life; admittedly the class of the goal pretty much had everyone bar Brewers’ fans on their feet. Thereafter we actually sounded and acted like a football crowd.

We seem to have lost our mojo a bit in this respect. I wonder if it’s still the culmination of all the stress, trials and tribulations of the last couple of seasons?

Anyway on a more positive note we won quite convincingly in the end; and aid to rest a ghost of not playing well against 10 men. We seem to suffer a pang of guilt or disbelief we are a man up, whilst the opposition roll up their shirtsleeves and get stuck in. But in the end, in truth, Frampton Helmet* 3 Rene Howe’s Arse 1 should have been a more convincing win.

* – from a tweet on the official AFC Wimbledon account.. how can they get away with it? LOL. Thank ‘M’ for spotting that

Perhaps I am being greedy. Hell no! We’d done OK for around the first 15 minutes with a couple of half-chances but it was the first foul given by the ref on 17 minutes that totally changed the game.

Their 21 decided to do a move they would have been proud of in the WWE, pushing with his hands Sammy Moore up and off his feet. A straight red for who looked their most accomplished, mobile defender.

Surprisingly that seemed to totally disorientate us and shortly after noting we seemed to have lost our momentum, our way, our concentration…. they scored from a ricochet off a blocking boot from their ‘short corner’ routine direct to a player around the penalty spot.

Cue murmurings of discontent in the stands. Despite a few efforts, including a long range Pell thunderbolt, the 10 men of Burton held firm reasonably easily.

Almost exactly a year on from TB’s end of tenure, a characteristic difference has been NA’s willingness to make changes as he did at halftime. Significantly, Francombe and Kennedy, who’d replaced Porter and Fenlon respectively, were replaced by Porter and Arthur on the wings and the impact was immediate. We turned from a defensive-looking formation of 4-4-2 into an attacking 3-5-2 that stretched and tired Burton.

In the end the goal when it came was a beauty, scored by Smith (though at the time I and Phillo thought it was Pell) and it is one well worth watching over again on the FLS show.

Thereafter there was only one team going to win it. The second turned into an early Christmas gift for Midson, but you have to play to the whistle and be there.

A cross by Arthur seemed to strike a Burton hand and as everyone appealed the keeper, having seemed to gather the ball, contrived to drop it on Midson’s foot and was in the net before you finished shouting ‘Penalty.’

You could physically feel Midson’s relief as he got tangled in the goal netting. Finally, Andy Frampton – supporting a ‘Rooney’ protective helmet – powered home. Game over.

So it’s back to nose bleed time as we are propelled again back up the table to third. Nice ‘something for the weekend, sir!’

Plus points: Midson’s goal (at last); Arthur and Porter. Patience (unlike some people in the crowd). NA’s tactical nous. 2nd half performance. Scoring direct from a corner.

Minus points: Muted crowd. A lack of penetration at times when going forward. Only 3-1

The referee’s a… different kettle of fish. Overall not too bad, he seemed adamant to want to play the advantage rule. The result was sometime the whistle for a foul would come fully 5 seconds after the event; however perhaps that style might have contributed in part to the sending off ruckus. But at least he did send the guy off!

Them: I was quite surprised how ‘petite’ they were for a Burton side. But a lot of their players did seem a little ‘wide’ shall we say.

The No 7 tried most of the second half to act like a narky little fly, firstly at Smith and then at Sammy M who seemed to be targeted. Like all good sides, we just ignored him.

No long throw special Delap in the starting line up, nor a certain Chris Hussey who did make the bench after injury. Overall they looked a bit like Fleetwood – reasonable to the final third and then lacking.

Points to ponder: From my last SW19 report I asked: “Was the selection of Fenlon and Francombe part of a squad rotation policy by NA?” Yesterday was it Kennedy and Francombe to give Porter and Fenlon the rest?

If it was, Porter was quite charged up when he came on and had a good run at MotM for me. The choice though made us quite defensive I thought – perhaps that combo should be for away games?

Midson’s ‘Banjo-esque’ goal – how crucial will that proved to be this season for us, and perhaps more for him? When Byron H scored from a foot out it brought about a pretty reasonable run. Wonder if this will ignite Midson’s season?

Has Neal A told his defenders not too shoot? I ask this question as twice near the end of the game Fuller was played into quite good shooting positions but chose to cross instead. It might have been poor decision making on his behalf, but I am not sure. It’s like NA has said you defend, you attack.

Talking of attack from the back, didn’t Chris Arthur produce the goods? And he acquitted himself quite well in defence. Apparently it is rumoured that his Dad has said he is enjoying at AFCW but he will feel a lot better when he really settles in. Gulp!

When we went 0-1 down not only did it knock us back as a team it seemed to physically affect the players in terms of posture. Numerous times they were caught out on their heels rather than toes and were not on the front foot to attack the ball, to get there first. An old problem of a general lack of moment on the pitch and absolutely static at throw-ins!

Three’s a crowd: 4005. Phew that was close, Thanks to the 167 Burton fans for coming but it is obvious we really have not gained anything from the early start in August, crowd wise. With schools now back and normality returned, so it seems have the crowds. But has this compensated for evening games in the week in deepest winter?

Anything else? Am I the only one slightly pissed off that against 10 men with about 10 minutes to go we decided to start closing out time rather than improving our goal difference? That was a disappointment. We all saw how disadvantageous a goal difference against was; why not try for the opposite this time around – a goal difference advantage?

Was it worth it? Ice is free. I can cope with nosebleeds

In a nutshell: File under job done. Who’s next?

That would be away to Cheltenham, and the meetup again with one Banjo…

So, we’re third again and the nosebleeds and giddyness are starting again. Let’s see how long that last this time 😉 To be fair, as said in the last SW19 update, this was a game we could have easily lost as won, and so it proved.

The main focus is on our ability to change games right now. Which is both a good thing and a bad thing as well. Obviously, it’s great that if things aren’t going too well, we can put on game changers like Chris Arthur.

That said, it does make me wonder why we can’t start off well and kill a game off by half time. Maybe that’s just the next step of our continued development as a squad? We’ve got Cheltenham, Northampton and Accrington next up, and looking at the league table, all three of them should be immensely winnable.

It doesn’t always work like that, of course, and we always lose to t’Stanley. But we could do ourselves a massive favour in the next three games. Not just for points/league position, but to finally flush last season out of our collective systems.

Did you instinctively look at the bottom of the table as soon as it got updated? Me too, and it proves old habits still die hard. Logically, there’s no reason to – the division generally isn’t good enough to exploit our weaknesses week in, week out.

We’re able to change things if going badly, and while we may not quite have the strength in depth for a legitimate playoff push (IMO anyway) – our transfer dealings from January this year suggest we are quite canny in the market.

And as last season (sorry) showed, teams that are down the bottom at this stage of the season generally tend to struggle throughout the campaign. I’m certainly not suggesting our current form is a lie, and that we’re really a bottom three side that is currently getting lucky.

We’re not lucky, we’re actually quite good.

How good is “quite good” remains to be seen, but when your editor got back to SW19 Towers last night, he got to catch our goals on SSN. And the Burton one too, which in previous campaigns would have mentally floored us.

OK, Midson’s goal was a bit of luck (and by god didn’t he love scoring it?), but he needed that bit of luck after a frustrating season. The other two weren’t too shabby though. Proper actually-we-might-not-be-too-bad-really type goals. There was something traditional about Framo’s effort, anyway.

Could we have had more? That’s for those there to decide, but it’s still a damn good feeling anyway. And while it’s taking longer than perhaps what it should be, it’s even better to know we’re looking upwards rather than wondering how the fuck we’re going to get out of a deep hole…

Anyway, it seems this week that our moves back home start picking up pace. On the LBM website there’s the submission from us, and I have to say that all emotion/bias aside, it does look a very good and well thought out proposal.

In a previous life, your editor worked for a few engineering firms and one big architect firm (this one) doing the then-modern day equivalent of a drawing room tracer. So I’ve seen enough proposals in my time, and it’s fair to say – we seem to know what we’re doing.

You can put the names of our partners and architects into Google yourself, but these people don’t fuck about. And while we’ll need to do the letter writing and the PR stuff next, you can see exactly why the club are determined to focus on our proposal rather than anyone else’s.

There really isn’t any point into getting into a slanging match with certain other parties, because that’s their main tactic. And perhaps their only one, if their own initial proposals are anything to go by. Not to mention the obvious commercial and other superior aspects our own bid has.

Flexibility being one of them. After all, our brief was to include a rugby club in any proposals too, and there does seem enough room to take any further actions in our proposals.

Energised over it? Yes. Nervous about the likelyhood of LBM being grade A fuckwits? Definitely. But one senses our time is now…