Thank fuck for that.
At the end of it all, it finished Wandle 2 Exe 1, and that’s all that matters. Never mind that too much of it was pretty meh, that there wasn’t much in the way of a real spark until the end.
And we let in a goal only five minutes after going ahead.
But for once, the substitutions made actually did something positive, and may have highlighted something that many have secretly suspected for a while.
More on that a bit later. For now, at least we can bask in three points which the official match report would term as “hard won”. I’m not sure if we were in any genuine danger of losing, bar the usual fear of dozyness at the back, but I’m glad we saw it out.
In fact, we did something after Azeez and Taylor came on that I can’t recall for a good while – even in injury time, we had a go at them.
Doing that got our second goal, needless to say, and didn’t Azeez enjoy celebrating that? That’s a rhetorical question, by the way. Come to think of it, him and Taylor seemed to link up well and cause them issues.
But overall, it felt relieving to win rather than jubilation. This was different to Crawley, which had a bit of needle to it given the opponents anyway, and there was the whole hoolpa at half time, which gave that win an extra edge.
This one turned into the sort of victory we tend to get in a week where NA’s management style has been put under scrutiny again.
The comments of “not moving further forward from last season” have been made by quite a few people, and a win always helps to soothe matters. This weekend, for instance, our manager becomes the hero because he made the right subs at the right time.
Which is why he should enjoy this weekend, because the ride is definitely going to get harder for him this season – he’s not getting the benefit of the doubt so much these days, if and especially when we refer to type.
That particular line of bitching can wait, however. It’s a good weekend, especially as Franchise lost.
The game? Not a classic, Francomb took his goal well, we were soft for theirs. Azeez’s header was decent, they had a goal disallowed and that’s really all you need to know.
It makes the league table look better, anyway (12th in case you can’t be arsed to check), and you are allowed to get giddy when you realise we’re only two points off the playoffs……..
Plus points: We won. Two goals. First win at home since 21st March. Azeez scoring. Francomb’s effort.
Minus points: Letting one in. Osbourne still unimpressive.
The referee’s a…: Did he do much wrong? Disallowed their goal for a push and apparently didn’t give them a couple of penalties, so he can enjoy his bank holiday.
Them: Not much better than we were, to be honest, though their trip to Sunderland in the week seemed to tell against them in the end.
Paul Tisdale is the manager I expect AFCW would like NA to become, minus the dodgy dress sense, although it’s easy to confuse continuity with being stale.
Speaking of holding on too long – Clinton Morrison. Blimey, he was at Palace when we were still WFC, and still moves just as badly…
Point to ponder: You know I said earlier about people secretly suspecting something? Well, it’s this – are we better when we’re not playing Akinfenwa?
When he came off, we were a lot more mobile and were able to ultimately succeed in taking the game to them. Quite a few have said at games SW19 has missed that we looked one dimensional with him – and I think I saw what they meant.
As an ambassador for the club, he’s great. And he has a use footballing wise as well. But Elliott and Azeez and Taylor are just as effective as he is this season.
None are world class strikers, if they were then Chelski would be sniffing round all of them, but we’re able to get something different from those three in a way we’re not able to with Akinfenwa.
Providing we learn to grind out performances, we’ll get more points than not doing it that way. I can’t help thinking BMO has been sussed out a bit more now, that defenders are a bit more wise to it.
I’d like to see him on the bench for a couple of home games, just to see if Taylor/Elliott/Azeez can make more of an impact. If not, then at least he can come on and offer something different.
After all, today proved what happens when you have strikers who can do exactly that…
Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) Playing “Stepping Out” by Joe Jackson as the players did exactly that for the second half. If it’s a wimmin’s game, do we play “It’s Different For Girls”? 2) Mark Wood there. Isn’t he a Newcastle fan who just happens to like us? A bit like John Green sponsors our stand but is also a Liverpool supporter… 3) Having a huddle before the game. Which is usually done by teams who are struggling.
Anything else? The “Back In Two Ticks” campaign got launched today, which (neither being a DT member nor having the blurb in front of me) I assume is avoiding ruling the two votes null/void because of lack of numbers.
And wouldn’t that be embarrassing?
FWIW, I think both will pass (obviously), and with sufficient numbers. But it’s needed because apparently some people are tricky to locate and/or get involved.
Which does make you wonder about why people join up to begin with. A few people really do want to get involved with the club – having a little bit of power to influence things, even if it’s tokenism. But as voting turnout and meetings show, it’s not a particularly high number.
Although you can’t blame anyone for giving internal politics a swerve. Hell, stuff on the field can be bad enough, let alone off it.
Apparently, the Liverpool game highlighted that more than a few people have DT membership simply to get high-demand tickets. It’s possible that some of those may not even be AFCW fans to begin with.
Many may be members because they want to donate and there’s no actual supporters club, in the traditional sense, to belong to. You may not get the perks of, say, WFSC (remember that?), but you do get a vote on things with differing degrees of tangibility. But then, how many people use that anyway?
So, if NPL comes off, perhaps DT membership should be something to put into the we-need-to-rethink-this-properly file? Mass participation in non-footballing matters very rarely exists – even these two votes won’t get the majority of AFCW fans participating in it, and this is as big as it will ever get.
It might be better for it to at some point go down the Cork City or Shamrock Rovers route, where it’s a lot more expensive to belong but ensures those who do join are more committed when something needs to be done.
And yes, that will create complaints that some will be priced out, but paying £25 for a card has run its course in many ways. Remember that it priced in the CCL days, before we’d even worked out what professional football was…
So, was it worth it? We won.
In a nutshell: Roll on the JPT.