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The Late, Late Show

nottscounty15What a nice weekend this will turn out to be.

OK, we were crap for most of it, but you can enjoy Blue Peter 2 Magpie 1 even beyond Monday.

Why? Because it was a smash-and-grab, and it’s ages since we last had one of those. This wasn’t a game of two halves as much as a game of the last six minutes. Up until then, it was same old, same old – bit of endeavour, an absence of luck in front of goal, but this time we were punished for it.

Which is why we should be thankful for Notts County doing their impression of ourselves.

When we scored, we discovered that bit between the teeth missing for so long this (and other) campaigns. Akinfenwa’s winner was the kind you always expected he would get from time to time, and he didn’t half look happy afterwards…

Will this kickstart our season? Or is it just a glimmer that we get just often enough to stop us becoming too depressed during the campaign?

For now, that question doesn’t matter – we won, and that’s all that matters. You can even delude yourself that the playoffs are a possibility…

It has to be said, we couldn’t really complain at being 1-0 down. While Shea was probably at fault for their goal, and Roy Carroll (yes, that one) made a couple of very good saves, you wouldn’t have complained if we’d lost.

We did, however, get that little bit of good fortune for our first goal, although if Bulman had blasted it over… Like Crawley, once we scored there was only going to be one winner.

That it came from an, ahem, traditional manner from Akinfenwa is besides the point. That’s often how games in L2 are won, and I might even bother to watch the FL Show tonight on Five. That is, if SSN haven’t shown the goals beforehand.

There are still quite a few issues that need sorting out, but this weekend at least you can sit back and enjoy the three points. And besides, Franchise lost…

Plus points: We won. 86 minutes onwards. Didn’t give up. Bulman not missing the target. Akinfenwa ditto.

Minus points: First 85 minutes. Nightingale going off.

The referee’s a…: Bit finicky, and loved his cards, but as usual – when you win you don’t mind his inadequacies so much.

Them: Sharper than us, fitter than us, stronger than us, and beaten by us. Was their own fault for not killing the game off, and letting us back in it.

I’ve just looked at the L2 table, and didn’t realise they were below us in it – I guess the way their heads dropped shows exactly why they are. They spend a lot, by the looks of it, which just proves that budget in L2 is always a bit of a red herring.

Oh, and the Franchise cunt. Gave it the big one after they scored, and tried to sneak off un-noticed at the end. Hopefully some people stayed behind to wave him goodbye…

Point to ponder: Is Francomb starting to become the scapegoat for things now? Barcham looked more effective, and it’s understandable that he looked pissed off when subbed, so somebody has to be the one you love to hate.

Is that fair on our winger? Perhaps not, although his crossing doesn’t help. Compare to Meades (not one of your editor’s favourites) who was good today, and you have to wonder where this will end up.

Mind you, Osborne is back, so he can take up the Mr Unpopular role again.

Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) WTF was that banner at the Noodle John Green Stand at half time? One of those “refugees welcome” type efforts? It is a pretty simplistic slogan for a deeply complex global problem, and I don’t really think football is the kind of place for it. And judging by more than a few conversations recently, the sentiments are not universally shared… 2) Was pretty flat all round until our first goal. The road outside the ground wasn’t very busy at 1415 and for large parts of the game, all you could hear were the pigeons. And no, that’s not a euphemism.

Anything else? I haven’t read the programme, but apparently NA isn’t happy with some comments on social media, especially guestbooks. Presumably it’s relating to last week against Yeovil, and referring to the pisstaking he received about his “outstanding” comment.

Regardless of what was actually said, there is and should be a golden rule for players and managers on reading fan sites – don’t.

See, places where supporters go and exchange views are a bit like going into a pub – every so often you’ll hear (or read) some stuff that can make you cringe, or embarrassed, or upset.

But that’s life. Especially in the emotional release that is watching football.

Maybe there are some things said that NA doesn’t feel are fair? That may be so, but you can’t prevent people from having an opinion, and nor should you – although there is a time and a place for it.

And if we took AFCW this season, much if most of the criticism has been justified. We’ve spent, one assumes, the most we’ve ever had on contracts in the AFCW era this pre-season. One may also predict that our target for improvement is quite a significant one.

Too much of this season has been too much like past seasons, and fans aren’t going to remain ostrich-like forever. If people are being vocal, then it’s because what they’re paying to watch most weeks ain’t good enough.

If a manager doesn’t like reading such comments, don’t put out teams that subsequently underperform. If players don’t like some of the barbs aimed at them, then just play better full stop.

That might be easier said than done at times, even today there’s still a bit of bitching about how we played before we scored.

The point seems to get missed here, and not just relating to AFCW – places like SW19, guestbooks, other social media, whatever are by fans, for fans. It’s their place to hang out, discuss and vent – it’s not for those who can actually do something about it.

I remember a massive hip-hop artist who once said that anything who listens to it but isn’t their target audience is effectively listening to a conversation between the artist and those who it’s aimed at. I think fan websites, guestbooks and social media is pretty much the same thing, minus the shooting policemen bit.

I don’t know if “abuse” got mentioned, but what you read from AFCW fans is very mild compared to some other supporters. Yes, there’s a lot of grumbling, but it’s no more brutal than any post match saloon bar gathering in the last 100+ years.

Do players/managers really think that their arse should be kissed all the time? Actually, if some player Twitter accounts (not necessarily ours) are anything to go by, don’t answer that.

As for SW19 on this score, I genuinely have no idea whether any players or managerial staff read this place. They probably shouldn’t, and I won’t lose sleep if they don’t, though they probably shouldn’t read my match reports in national newspapers either…

So, was it worth it? Three points.

In a nutshell: Can’t beat a last minute winner.