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Blunt Dagger


Got there in the end…

First things first, and a bit of a clarification from the update on Wednesday – SW19 isn’t shutting up shop just yet. It still has a shelf life of a couple more seasons, maybe even longer than that, but unless something major happens you don’t need to rely on Twatter for now.

And anyway, you’ve put up with 3 week absences for about 3/4 years now, so you should be used to it by now 😉

Speaking of things lasting that length of time, it seems ages since we’ve had a game like South London 1 East London 0. At least, one I’ve seen. I think the expression was “grinding one out”, though “shite” would have been just an apt a term.

Make no mistake, this was three points and that’s all you can say about it. We scored – and boy, did Fuller love his first goal in eight years – but I think we did everything we could not to hold onto it.

Our ball retention at times was horrible. It was almost like we had a bet on to see if we could get below 40% possession half the time. That Daggers didn’t take advantage of any of it isn’t our problem though.

It wasn’t a surprise that the goal was a good, old fashioned scramble. It was that sort of game. What it does mean though, and this is far more important than what match rating it would have got, is that we have at least learned in one game how to dispose of a bottom feeder.

No, it won’t be pretty to watch. But I’d rather win ugly than lose to them in the usual fashion.

So, did we play well? I suppose we did what we had to do, really. When we look back on this, one thing we can say is that we did close the game out without incident. Although given the way D&R were finding it a tad too easy to get through our back line on occasions, you couldn’t even give us that…

Those at Ashton Gate on Tuesday would have been a bit deflated by the way this game went. Back then, our passing was crisp and we looked menacing ourselves on the odd occasion. Despite us losing that one, today was the complete opposite.

But today may have been more important than you realise. Drawing is one thing, although it does put more pressure on us. Losing this one would have got the knives out again, especially so (relatively) soon after Northampton and with the inevitable buttfucking at Oxford next week.

Actually, this might have simply been the sort of game a team who hasn’t won in five outings puts in to finally get those three points. And if you look at it like that, you could almost forgive those stray passes.

I said “almost”.

Still, we won, and that’s the only thing that actually matters. What more do you want? Apart from the rest of the report…

Plus points: We won. Clean sheet. Barry Fuller scoring. Failing to lose or draw this sort of fixture. A realisation that ugly wins are better than beautiful losses.

Minus points: Pretty shit.

The referee’s a…: He got in the way a couple of times. He failed to give free kicks to our flattened players. He gave four minutes of injury time and I wouldn’t have put it past him to call the game off because of the tiny bit of mist that was falling towards the end. Watch him be a Premiership ref before long.

Them: Apparently, they were pretty pissed off with the official for not giving penalties to them, although like Arsene Wenger I didn’t see them. Mind you, I wasn’t too sure that the ref did either.

Still, you can see why they’re down the bottom. I think it got summed up when they sprung our defence a couple of times then failed to even make Shea get up off his comfy chair.

They reminded me a bit of ourselves up front last season, although they did manage to get into positions to begin with. More than we did half the time, anyway.

Oh, and as for George Porter? His attempt to keep the ball in but ended up falling arse over tit was as notable as his performance got. Kept quiet, which is just as well for him. Here’s what SW19 wrote at Brizzle Rovers, about the stroppy tart, just under a year to the day:

Porter was embarrassing yesterday, and maybe it would have been best to keep him on and get the inevitable red card? No wonder the home fans were giving him abuse as he went off, he can’t say he didn’t deserve it.

His saving grace is that he’s young, still needs to mature and it won’t hurt him to find out the hard way that in professional football, you can’t act like the whining petulant teenager whose bird has just dumped him.

When he ran into the box when he had two different opportunities to shoot, and instead lost the ball and, ahem, tried for the penalty, it was like looking at a younger relative shitting its pants at a party…

Did he try and do the same for one of their alleged penalties? Would explain a lot if so.

I know they’re not the biggest club around, but I still would have expected more than 300 or so from them today. I wonder how they found the “Can you hear the West Ham sing?” chant…

Point to ponder: So, where is KSL? More to the point, when does he go on loan to Woking/Aldershot/Grimsby for him never to be seen again? It’s a bit of a strange one, although if Arthur can head down to Kingfield to presumably be there full time, obviously NA has finally got fed up with him running around a lot and not doing much else.

Indeed, it’s this time of the season when plans for January are made. The rumours about Tubbs still won’t go away, although one senses AFCB will only want him back to sell on. One would expect – and indeed, hope – that contingency plans to replace him are there already, if it comes to it. We all remember what happened when Michael Smith returned back to Charlton.

But perhaps what we really need in January is another midfielder, or two, and a centre back who isn’t about to collect his pension. Our lack of pace really caught us out, and we can thank Dagenham for being horseshit.

Benno isn’t going to last much of the season, Barrett isn’t ours (though I expect he will be come the transfer window), and Frampton just keeps getting injured a bit too much these days.

It’s too soon for Will Nightingale, so we will probably have to go down the promising youngster from a Championship club route. Which is fine, if you can get him for the rest of the season and he’s decent enough.

And as we know already, the strike forces in this division aren’t so devastating that anyone properly scouted will be out of their depth.

People have mentioned the midfield, and I can’t quite put my finger on it. It gave the ball away far too often, but then the likes of Francomb and Bulman aren’t too shabby. Maybe Pell will return and look the player he was at the beginning of last season? Although if Grimsby put some money down the back of the sofa and decide to go in for him, we’ll be stupid to turn them down.

Whatever happens by February 1 2015, I don’t think we’ll see a mass rebuilding operation going on for the fourth season in a row. And to be honest, I hope we don’t, as I don’t think we need one – just one or two fresh faces and a bit more tactical nous.

We have had the likes of Harrison come on, at least for cameos, and towards the end of the season I’d like to see him, Beere and Oakley get more than the odd runout. Assuming we’re nowhere near going down (or playoff bound), needless to say…

Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) The golf-swing analysers there today, although YGT were sponsoring the game. Guess they could have picked better weather for it. 2) NA going absolutely apeshit at… well, just about everyone. To be fair, you couldn’t blame him this time round. 3) The name of the new beer is Plough Lane Ale. Rumours that it tastes like the Wandle pre-sanitation are unfounded, although given that half our support are like Viz’s Real Ale Twats, they’ll probably think it tastes “rustic”.

Anything else? I could mention the planning application going in, but it will take a few weeks to process, and I get the impression it’s going to be a big – big – submission. Still, it’s been over 23 years in the pipeline, so a few weeks more won’t hurt. Better to get it right.

I could mention the odd comment here and there that some people “hate League Two football” (their words, not mine). Yes, today was pretty shit to watch on occasions, but what do they mean by that comment?

Do they mean they will only be happy if we get into League One, where the style of play is different? We all want to get promoted, although that will put a strain on wages that the club will finally have to address. Indeed, I still think it was unprepared for the wages it has to shell out now.

And while we played well against Brizzle City, with this side we would probably lose most weeks, which will stop getting enjoyable very quickly.

Or do they mean that the Conference was better? While it did have some decent games, that was just as dire a lot of the time as League Two is. Actually, a lot worse, and I would take the crappiest game as a League Two side over a decent game as a Conference side any day.

I may mention York on Tuesday. That’s another banana skin waiting for us, and I think we’ll need to up our game somewhat. Yes, they’re down the bottom too, but it’s the cup and anything can happen.

The carrot of Wycombe at Adams Park may be one that for many is one that previously got stuck up an old man’s anal passage for cheap thrills, but it’s still a good motivation for us for next week. If only because if we get over that it will be just one game from the moneyspinning third round.

You know, where we get all excited and end up with Millwall away.

Or maybe I’ll mention that for once, we actually saw the game out in the way we should have done? Although that might be a bit too obvious…

So, was it worth it? It’s three points, stop whinging.

In a nutshell: Upwards. Again.