To be honest, the main feeling after Bristol Cities 2 James Hunts 1 is pride. A tad of annoyance, but not too much to call for the knives to be drawn out. At least for now.
For the last month or so, we haven’t sounded that special (and just about everyone from Northampton has almost got the bad taste out of their collective mouths), so last night will have acted like a major boost to the ego.
It’s a good sign that you go to the home venue of the tournament favourites, and come away disappointed. It could have been so different if only Azeez had taken his shot just before they scored.
If only we’d cleared it before their first, like we had done for the previous 74 minutes. If only Smith had been in position for their second goal. If only their goalscorer wasn’t a Franchise cunt.
If only Francomb had scored sooner. If only his free kick right at the end wasn’t saved by their keeper. If only we could have just put one final head on one final corner delivery.
Football generally, and especially cups, are full of “if only”. Fine margins, a bit of luck here, a loss of concentration there. One only has to look at Seb Brown against Coventry to show what I mean.
But last night, you couldn’t fault the players or the tactics we employed. Perhaps in a “proper” cup we would have started Sir Beast of Modeon, and when he came on he made the difference.
Tubbs was, well, read further down.
Still, we’re out of the JPT, and not only that we only get a limited supply of paint. And people used to mock this tournament. But we’ve had a good run – OK, Essex Police must still be working with Southend to find out how the hell we got away with beating them, and nailing Franchise needs absolutely no further comment.
But it has kickstarted us a couple of times, and we need to start doing that again starting Saturday.
See, it’s all very well being proud of playing so well against Brizzle City and knowing it was simply down to the difference of putting it in the back of the net. But that will mean absolutely jack shit when we kick off against Daggers.
Can we break that cycle of failure? We’ll see. Until then…
Plus points: We played very well. Could have snatched an equaliser at end. Actually took the game to them and not sit back for 90 minutes. Francomb’s goal.
Minus points: We’re out of the cup. Their first goal. Their second goal.
The referee’s a…: Didn’t really notice him, to be honest. Might have given a foul when he didn’t, here and there, but he did show the stark contrast between him and the ones we get in League Two, where I think half of them bought their qualifications in Poundland.
Them: Unbeaten all season, apparently, and unless they suffer from the Curse of the Wombles (ie a team that beats us then goes on a slump afterwards), don’t be surprised to see them in the JPT Final and getting back into the Championship.
Showed us the difference between an ordinary L2 side and a L1 high flyer on 74 and 77 minutes. On the plus side for them, really great to see Steve Cotterill applaud our fans before and after the game.
I still remember his goals against Liverpool. Fuck, I’m old.
Brizzle City are one of those sort of clubs that really should be bigger than they actually are, a bit like Palace or Preston. Their construction work shows that they have big plans, although I think they should extend them to staffing cubbyholes which sell beer at half time.
Mind you, Brizzle itself – and the whole West Country, come to think of it – underachieves when it comes to the game. Christ, Brizzle Rovers aren’t even in the Football League any more, something the red side of the city like to remind people on the odd occasion.
Their fans were quiet until 2-0 up, and a couple of them clearly have enjoyed years of happy marriage to their uncle Jim. But you could certainly tell the relief on their faces afterwards…
Point to ponder: Whither Matt Tubbs? The rumour mill suggested Brizzle Rovers were scouting him before the game, and they have been linked with him before. It wouldn’t exactly be a forward move, but it does hint that he’s not guaranteed to be ours after January.
How many games now since he’s scored? Don’t get me wrong here, all strikers go through droughts. The Beast had until the middle of September until he netted his first goal, so Tubbs is bound to find the net again.
But has his head been turned? You would hope not, and we will need another decent striker in ASAP if AFCB do decide to cash in on him. Although he was fine last night, Azeez is still a way off being at the level we need every week, and I would have put money on our Bournemouth loanee putting it away if it was him with that chance last night.
Come to think of it, considering we spent half the Smallest Budget In The World Ever (© AFC Wimbledon, since 2002) on the strike force, they’re not, erm, striking much. I’ll leave others to work out why, but it can’t all be down to our midfield not supplying them. Surely?
Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) 326 of us there last night, which is pretty decent. Quite loud, too. 2) Why did Brizzle City play the BBC 2012 Olympics theme tune before the game? I know Mikey T plays a varied selection of sporting theme tunes before the second half starts, but that is a trademark of his. I bet they didn’t think we’d notice… 3) Also played, after the game : the Wurzles. Nothing like living up (or down) to the stereotype.
Anything else? There’s a realisation that will hit us later in the week that we are quite likely to underachieve again on Saturday, when we have to do the bread and butter of League Two football.
Daggers are there for the taking, but it’s just as likely that we’ll be moaning about a point (or none) than the three we should be taking more regularly than we actually do.
Somebody came up with a good observation overnight – we try to play like a L1 side in L2. Yesterday, and against Franchise (JPT), and even last year against Coventry, we didn’t look too bad.
Yet that makes the crap against Northampton and other games even more bewildering. And more than a little aggravating.
It’s not entirely accurate that we play like a L1 side. There were plenty of moments last night where the default setting was to hoof it up to hope that somebody was on the end of it. Obviously, being brought up on the WFC of the 80s, this is the dream tactic, but I get the impression we’re neither one thing or the other.
And that comes down to the management team.
I still remain unconvinced that we should renew NA’s contract come June (which is when it apparently expires). Or at the very least, not automatically give him one without fully thinking about it, and where we really are with him.
If we continue to fail against the Daggers, the Northamptons, the other teams down the bottom, then there isn’t much point in keeping Ardley on for next season. They are the games that you need to win almost by default to push on, and in two full seasons he’s failed to do that.
We have a great opportunity to build on last night. What makes me think we won’t take it?
So, was it worth it? Despite the result, yes.
In a nutshell: Now, climb the table.
And finally…: Yes, SW19 is back. It should have been last Weds/Thurs/Friday, but I didn’t quite expect the amount of stuff that hid itself like an AFCW administration error.
I may well be at Daggers, and York, but to be honest, I need to rethink how to do SW19 from now on. I might start asking for one or two regular report writers, if only to keep the site looking fresh, but I’ve had un-necessary grief with that in the past, which has put me off it.
A big issue is that there hasn’t been much to write about. The last three weeks has been like previous three week spans for too many times in the last four years, and it really is difficult coming up with new angles for the same old shit.
If we start playing well, or massive – and genuine – movements on the ground front finally kick into life, I can always find time and the motivation for putting fingers to keyboard.
SW19 will continue, although to be honest, it’s starting to enter into the autumnal stage of its existence. If it’s not there already. Should things go well with the new ground, ending this place after the first ball has been kicked would be a fitting way to end it.
But that’s still a while off, if it ever happens, and it’s possible that even before then, I finally get fed up of doing it.
I think the thing to say now is don’t expect too much from the site for the foreseeable future. It’s for the best, and it might stop you moaning at me that I don’t update it any more 😉
Or in other words, just think of SW19 right now as the online literary version of AFCW in 2014. We’re failing to turn up when we should as well…