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Could have been better, could have been a lot worse…

In the end, Wandle 0 Severn 0 was what is known in the business as a “good point”. Especially as we spent at least 86 minutes playing with ten men.

The fact that Robbo’s sending off managed to annoy even our docile lot tells you something. Replays apparently showed that he got the ball, which NA got to see at half time, and he wasn’t too slow in telling the ref…

At least this evening we can talk about character, and digging in, which we haven’t been able to do too much of for a good while. While it perhaps wasn’t as good as the second half in Newport last week, at least it didn’t even get close to mirroring the first 45 minutes.

I guess we needed something to motivate ourselves around, and our dismissal may have been just that. Perhaps we need to ensure we should start with ten men in future?

And by that, I mean a dismissal and not playing Tom Elliott in the starting XI.

We can at least be pleased with the way we held out and, if this doesn’t sound too messed up, disappointed that we couldn’t even be talking about three points.

Like last week, that would have been a possibility if (***SNARK ALERT***) we had more of a cutting edge. I’m not sure that for all the good of today, we had a genuine effort on target.

That is why we won’t be genuine playoff contenders, as if we were we would be looking at two wins from two right now.

It might be a tad harsh to mention that at the moment, especially given that we didn’t end up defeated. Barry Fuller’s tackle will remain in my brain for a good few days to come, certainly.

To be fair to the defence, it did manage to overcome its shock and kept a clean sheet. Some of it got a little bit desperate, but most of us grew up on that kind of thing.

Will this result change things long term? Probably not, but for so many times this season we’ve wondered where the fight and spirit has gone. It’s nice that it’s made a little comeback today…

Plus points: We didn’t lose. Coping with ten men. Defence resolute. Lyle Taylor.

Minus points: We didn’t win. Ten men. Otherwise not likely to score.

The referee’s a…: Oh boy, where shall we start? As it’s the season of goodwill, let’s assume he had a bad Xmas yesterday. He might have asked for an Xbox or whatever the kids these days play, and instead got a Commodore 16.

Yes, a Commodore 16. Not even a Commodore 64.

Maybe he did get the presents he wanted? He might have ended up with a badly cooked Xmas meal instead. Like your editor, he may not like parsnips but got given those in bulk – that could cloud his judgement.

There’s a possibility that he’s a religious type, and finds the day after the 25th December a time for the family – and not taking charge of a football match. Principles can be a hard thing to displace.

Of course, he might have found out his missus has been getting her own basting from the bloke who delivers her Amazon parcels? Relationships can and do break down, and sometimes can affect one’s own employment too.

So perhaps we should be a bit more thoughtful about him today, and cut him some much needed slack. After all, it’s Xmas and we mustn’t remind him he used to referee in the Championship and League One…

Them: Currently fifth in League Two, therefore proving the editor’s old adage that this division is pretty much of a muchness.

Considering they had the two one man advantage for virtually all of the game, they didn’t take advantage of it like I expected them to.

OK, they had their moments (more than we did) up front, but if I was one of their fans right now, I’d be pissed off at the way they failed to get anything more than a point. And especially kept us in the game as well.

Decent turnout from them, and it seems a year in the hell of non-league has rejuvinated them as a club again. Before they went down, they were consistently one of the worst teams we played (barring THAT 3-0 at their place), and there’s something more about them these days.

But if they can be fifth, I wonder how well we’d do with more positivity…?

Point to ponder: Did Azeez give socks to NA yesterday? A bit more pace could have won us the game late on, so why he didn’t have a chance I don’t know.

I suppose the only reason is that we’ve got Exeter on Monday (all offers of an SW19 report gratefully received – just make sure you’re actually at the game) and he might get more of a run-out, although equally he may not.

If he doesn’t get much of a look-in this next couple of games, is the dreaded loan-to-Woking death sentence upon him? It would be strange if he doesn’t get a run out, especially as Taylor is the only other striker on any sort of form.

Akinfenwa looks increasingly like Fash did in his last season with us, and Tom Elliott continues to unimpress. Although in the latter’s case he did get crocked towards the end, reportedly.

Strikers post-January always seem to cause us grief, and in this season where that shouldn’t have been a problem to begin with, history may have a nasty habit of repeating itself…

Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) Apparently NA and the squad turned up for MOTM this time, and were all apologetic about it. OK, it shouldn’t have happened in the first place, and there’s always a next time, but at least they had a bit of awareness. 2) Lot of people there, but quite a few regulars weren’t. One game a season brigade out in force? 3) Incidentally, thirty years ago today I went to my first ever away game – we won 3-1 at Selhurst vs Palace. And the weather back then was as gloomy as it was today…

Anything else? This was the first time I’ve been to KM since Merton gave NPL the go-ahead, and I noted how many if not most of the chants today related to that.

“SMTWTPL” and “We’re going home” were common, although the events on the field did fire everyone up today. And while we’ve still got Boris to rubber-stamp it, at least we can now start thinking about when, not if we can go home.

Whether that will be by 2018 or later, I don’t think it matters quite so much, because it’s only going to suffer a delay rather than outright cancellation now.

It’s certainly refocused people, as it does feel like we were drifting a fair bit before it. And the Stevenage reaction was definitely related to the announcement two days earlier.

What got your editor thinking was about how the next 2/3 years will pan out at KM. First things first, if the club is expecting an 11k ground to be anywhere near full, there’s going to be a significant increase in the amount of current non-match goers.

It’s been mentioned on here before, but moving home is going to change the DNA of the club, probably forever. Expectations may be higher, and less slack for the dross will be given. Not to mention the real potential of a split between those who went to KM and those who didn’t.

But that’s when the last bolt gets put down and the doors finally open. Currently, there’s still a sense of something waiting to happen. Not just with NA, but the club generally.

How long will the general fanbase put up with that now? We all know the viewpoints on NA in particular these past few weeks, months and beyond, but there was always a tolerance that is now wearing ever thinner.

Before the game, I heard some quite open discussions about his future amongst the rank-and-file, and while today will help his cause, we still haven’t won since the end of October.

It would be a statement of intent if NA really does go in the summer for failing to reach the playoffs, as it’s not something you would expect from a club happy just to remain in L2 obscurity.

But there’s a lot of things the club does (or doesn’t) do that is now going to get greeted with a “you won’t be able to do that when we go back home”.

You’ve probably already thought of a couple of examples, even if it’s just about the quality of the food. Some may put it down to more fundamental matters like how we fund ourselves as a club, or our structure.

Whatever needs to be done is going to be swept under the carpet less and less, simply because 2018 (or whenever) will come around a lot quicker than you think.

Some of it won’t get dealt with until after the move is completed. People seem to tolerate KM at best, and the nearer we get home the more faults people will find with it.

That might have a direct impact on home games especially, be it atmosphere or even attendances (as in, the views are so shit that it’s best to wait until the new place is sorted).

And that’s something the club will have to be mindful of, especially when trying to sell extra season tickets. But like so many things, you can’t say it hasn’t been coming…

So, was it worth it? Good to see a bit of fight for once.

In a nutshell: Watch us shit the bed at Exeter.