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AFC Wimbledon beat t’Stanley

Wait. What?

You mean we’ve actually beaten Accrington? We got more than heroic (?) defeat against them? A bogey side has finally been de-bogeyed? And is that an actual phrase?

Apparently, it’s true and not a WUM of immense proportions. By the sounds of it, we weren’t even that bad – Martin Ware was present to witness history…

This match was a real Wimbledon Classic. Missed chances, defensive errors, and goals.

The team fought hard, and were rewarded for their efforts. 2:1 was a fair reflection on the game, which the Dons definitely edged.

I stood in my usual spot in the Chemflow end, with a visiting Chelsea fan talking to his mate behind me.

From the pre-match warmup, to the final whistle he had nothing but praise for what we have achieved here; the excellent support, being a fans’ team, and the match itself. I think he saw a typical Wimbledon performance.

It was great to hear the opinons from a true football fan, albeit of a Premiership team. Both realistic and complimentary; it confirms all that we are trying to achieve, and that people outside the club understand why we are trying to build a club run the right way.

Just need to keep doing what we are doing .. on and off the pitch.

I could say something snarky about that last sentence, but we won so I won’t.

Not only did we beat a team we have previously never done so (and I mean in both the AFCW and WFC eras) but just as importantly we’ve got some points in 2015 on the board.

Four games without a win (all competitions) could have bought the knives out again, but at least we can find the net again, and almost keep them out the other end.

And I’m glad we’re starting to do that, because this is what faces us in February:

  • Newport (h) – currently 6th
  • Burton (a) – currently 3rd
  • Shrewsbury (a) – currently 2nd
  • Luton (h) – currently 4th
  • Cambridge (a) – currently 13th
  • Hartlepool (a) – currently 24th, and rock bottom of the entire Football League

Doesn’t look a good month, does it? Although our past form suggests that we should fear the trip up to Co. Durham the most.

Back to Saturday, and it seems that young Will Nightingale and the slightly-older-but-not-by-much Craig Tanner got mentioned in despatches a lot. And not in a bad way either.

People seemed most pleased with our centre-back, primarily because he’s “ours” (as in, came through the youth system), but also he wasn’t completely shit.

In fact, comments like “assured”, “impressive debut” and “will become a fans favourite over time” were made. Now, one swallow may not make your summer, but I’d rather hear than than some of what we’ve heard over the years from debutants…

He is still young though, 19 I think, and as Ben Harrison showed earlier this season – NA isn’t shy in reeling them back in if he thinks he’s over-exposing them.

For this reason, we do need that experienced CB before the end of the window. Even if it’s only a Connolly-esque role, but with the dummy-sucking defenders.

Yes, I know we’ve got Benno and Phillips, but you can’t rely on them (a) being fit, and in the case of the latter especially (b) being any better than whom we’ve started recently.

So an interesting week ahead on that score. As for Tanner, he didn’t do himself any harm either – “pace aligned with skill” sounds better than what we’ve described Hylton/Sheringham in the past.

One wonders how the inclusion of Connolly is going to help things, both during game time and on the training pitch. He was pretty lively when he came on, by all accounts, and if he does get his first goal soon – he’s good enough to roll back the years…

Oh, and Azeez scored. And he also missed one. So that will keep both factions happy 😉

All in all, a result we needed at a time we needed. I know we’ve got a lovely (?) February ahead, but even a trip to Morecambe can go any way. A win there, and who knows?

As it stands, we’re two wins away from the playoffs and four losses away from the drop zone. The good thing that this season, so far, we’ve actually just come off one of our worst runs of the season.

True, it was worse at the end of August, where we picked up one point from 12, but this season has shown that we do pick up points where we are in a poor run.

A freefall is still possible, though the ability to win games like Saturday suggests it’s less likely to happen this season. And to be blunt, we should be where we are now.

We’re too inconsistent to be legitimate playoff contenders, but this is our fourth season in the FL as AFCW and we’re no longer the fresh-faced newbies.

If anything comes from this season on the field, it’s that we should no longer be grateful just to survive each season.

Right now, things seem, well, happier. We all accept that League One is some way away, although there are issues off the field that will affect things on that score.

And yes, that is a reference to #bringthedonshome – come on, sign it if you haven’t. You haven’t got long to go now.

But I don’t think as a fanbase we’re ready to accept yet another relegation fight any more. We’re not a Barnet, or an Aldershot, nor should we ever aspire to be.

We may not have the what-the-fuck-are-we-doing-down-here?-esque mindset of Pompey fans, but if we were three points off the abyss right now, don’t kid yourself that we wouldn’t be acting like they are at the moment.

I mention this, because it sounds like we picked up some new supporters from the Liverpool game, and they obviously decided to come back for second helpings.

Winning in front of them helps, needless to say, but if they come back a third time for some more then we’ve practically got them for life. And you don’t do that by constantly aiming low…