Don’t worry, I’ve decided to spare you another photo of Morecambe Bay. It’s a bit too bleak for this Monday…
So, Cockles 2 Muscles 1 then. That wasn’t supposed to happen. This game was us getting back on track, showing how much we really are playoff contenders, and how our form will pick up again.
But then, this is AFCW.
We looked jaded, which is understandable given how much travelling and game time we’ve had recently. But even so, it’s the same for most other teams right now.
Misplaced passes, a great deal of flat-footedness, and more than the odd sloppy mistake made the 5+ hour journey just that little bit longer.
It’s not to say we didn’t have many chances – our new loanee striker put it wide of the post, and who knows what would have happened if Taylor’s shot had gone in rather than hitting the post.
But it all seemed so, well, flat. A game too far? Maybe, although like Brizzle Rovers we were again masters of our own downfall. And I don’t mean Sweeney getting sent off for (temporarily) preventing the second goal.
For the final five minutes, after we did find the net, we did at least have a go. Although after Azeez put his effort nearer the corner flag than the goal, that was indeed that…
Roos is getting some brickbats, just like Brizzle Rovers, but our backline looked like it was running in concrete. It hasn’t really recovered from Osborne getting crocked.
Sweeney has done what has been expected from him, but it’s definitely a weak spot again. Obviously, it’s pretty likely we’ll get somebody in on loan this week, so prepare thyself for the return of Dave Winfield.
Our new striker seemed OK, obviously very ring rusty – but then, he pretty much got thrown in the starting XI as soon as the ink on his contract dried.
That particular signing does suggest that Azeez is starting to get edged out, although as his mistake led to one of the goals – I hope he’s already planning on what decent restaurants are in Woking…
We look pretty lightweight in midfield, and one suspects that come the summer that’s the first area that needs major reinforcements.
So all in all, it was pretty shit really. We had more quality than they did, but we should know by now it means diddly squat if you don’t take advantage of it.
The pitch didn’t help, although apparently the KM surface is pretty awful as well. Which might at least partly explain our lousy home form.
And in case you’re keeping track – that’s now five games without a win. Just saying…
Plus points: Our goal.
Minus points: Everything else.
The referee’s a…: NA was seen walking off with him (not in that way) after the game, though I’m not quite sure why. If it was about Sweeney, the ref didn’t have too much option.
Didn’t think he was too bad, for a L2 official anyway. Although that is a bit like saying somebody is the third best trombonist in Fiji.
Them: Think they deserve a bit more credit than what they got from our support over the weekend. Yes, they’re down the wrong end of the table for a reason, but not for the first time – a bottom feeder undoes us.
They showed some nice passes in the midfield, and having watched the goals again – they just seemed sharper than us. Mind you, they haven’t had the midweek fixtures we’ve had, so that explains some of it.
Although we’re hardly ones to talk about home grounds, a lot of people don’t like the Globe Arena, and it does appear it was built on the cheap. So at least we’ll know what NPL will be like.
£21 to sit down is a pisstake though, especially when they don’t open the terrace up. Methinks we should do likewise at KM when less than 250 away fans are likely to come down…
Oh, and you know I said earlier that I wasn’t going to post any more pictures of Morecambe Bay? I lied:
Lovely, isn’t it? No wonder it’s now been termed Mitcham-on-Sea.
Morecambe is one of those Lancashire coastal towns that feels a bit left behind in the world. It’s the sort of place where you could put a load of displaced Syrians, who would at least brighten the place up a bit.
Think of Blackpool minus the tower and the gaudiness. Mind you, it doesn’t help when you go through Lancaster to get there, which is a nice looking town.
Oh, and about five minutes after I took this picture, I was approached by some 11-year old asking me if I was Scottish…
Point to ponder: So, is the playoff chase over? Nope, far from it. But you have to admit that it’s starting to drift away from us a bit.
Saturday proved that these sort of run-ins can change in five minutes. Almost literally, as it turned out. I think we went from being 0-0 and seventh to 0-2 and ninth in 600 seconds.
That can certainly work in reverse, and before this season is out there’ll be a few more 600-second earthquakes. But the form, and more importantly the luck, is starting to desert us.
And probably at the wrong time as well. Had we done January/February about now, chances are we would be comfortably in the playoffs come May.
To do that now, many are calculating we’ll need six wins or so from the last ten games. Not impossible, and we’ll win some of our remaining games, but the likelyhood is we’ve had our stonking run this campaign.
We’ll probably go back to pre-Stevenage form now, winning some games, losing a few and drawing way too many. Especially when you start looking at our remaining fixtures.
As the table stands right now, we play one game against mid-table mediocrity (Crawley). We face two teams in the same ballpark as ourselves (Wycombe and Leyton Orient).
We also face one team in the playoffs (Pompey), and another in the automatic promotion (Plymouth at their place). And the real killer is that the rest are against teams in the bottom seven.
That’s five games that threaten to turn out just like Morecambe on Saturday.
We also have half the remaining fixtures at home, so we all know how some of those will turn out. One suspects that in recent weeks we’ve relied on our away form a bit too much, and now it’s biting us on the arse.
What is clear is that York is now a must-win game, because although it won’t prove fatal in terms of points – psychologically it will damage us, especially if the other teams around us win.
Yes, we should win that. Just like we should have won in deepest Lancashire.
One final thought, that occured to your editor driving back. I assume that the sports psychologist we put in wasn’t a season-long thing, so a question – has our decline in form coincided with him not being there…?
Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) They don’t half milk the whole Eric Morecambe thing, even down to the “Bring Me Sunshine” music at the ground. Haven’t they twigged he followed Luton? 2) Speaking of twigging – something very Operation Yewtree about their cheerleaders. Must be a Lancashire thing as t’Stanley had similar. 3) Seemed to be a scooter rally in Morecambe on Saturday. Insert quip about mobility and our defence here.
Anything else? Yep. As the sharp eyed amongst you know, I was at Charlton v Middlebrough doing the day job, and it really felt like going back in time.
By that, I mean following WFC between 2000 and 2002.
Mock funerals, walk-outs, outright hostility to the owners, and a general vibe that things will get much worse before they get better. Hell, it was even in south-east London…
Charlton won’t get franchised out to Weston-Super-Mare, but their plight feels a lot like ours back then. And it makes me remember just how unpleasant supporting WFC eventually became.
In the last couple of updates, I’ve started using the Bad Old Days™ as a reference to pre-Stevenage form and the past four seasons, but yesterday reminded me of the real terrible times.
Obviously, I’d still much rather be writing about WFC than AFCW here in 2016, and I think I’m warming to the idea of dropping the “AFC” prefix.
But you can see why AFCW was the catharic moment we needed, and why things like NPL and getting our Football League place back means so much.
In CAFC’s case, I’m not sure what their 28/5 moment will be. Maybe somebody going to Belgium and actually assasinating their owner? That’s a joke, by the way, although given the mood of some of the Charlton fans yesterday, I wouldn’t put it past somebody…
So, was it worth it? Gah.
In a nutshell: Mid-table beckoning again?