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Walk, don’t crawl

And the playoff push still continues on…

In this, the business end of the season, wins like we had Saturday mean more than the actual performances. Which is just as well, considering the reactions along the lines of, “yeah we won, but…” after the game.

I’ll tell you where my job took me on Saturday after you’ve read Jampot’s report…

Motto: All’s well that ends well!

So we got there in the end. But this was bordering on that really turgid shit we saw at the beginning of the season. Where, as my old school friend who came along for his first game this season, remarked about some very young kid at a previous AFCW game some time remarked: “I’m bored; I think I wish I could have stayed at home and played in my sandpit!”

OK, rumours of problems after training on Friday proved founded as we started without Elliot and Reeves; Akinfenwa and Smith deputising, respectively.

But in truth even if those original two had started I doubt they would have done much better in Not really going up for it, Dons 1 Not going down are they, Reds 0.

In some respects this is uncharted territory for us and it showed. It seemed like the whole team didn’t know what to do or why they were here. Apart from a Bulman interception and shot, which the goal keeper comfortably saved, I can’t remember much of the first half.

Come to think of it I can’t remember that much of the second half either except the goal; the one and only piece of real football played by each side all afternoon.

A quick free kick by Fuller to Lyle, moving into the box, laid back to Fuller who whips in a FIRST TIME cross to an essentially unmarked Robinson about 8 yards out. 1-0, cue utter relief echoing away from the Chemflow end back across the pitch.

And that was really that. A couple of attacks by them suitably dealt with and a lot of us playing with the ball by the corner flags and we’re still on track for that last playoff place.

Plus points: The goal. Think that’s really about it …

Minus points: Absolutely no fucking tempo whatsoever. Hence the struggle all game …

The referee’s a…: typical League 2 ref. Some good decisions, some bad decisions, some atrocious decisions. Oh and changing his mind midway through the game what was a fair tackle and what was not. No wonder players as well as fans get so frustrated.

Got some real heated vitriolic talking to when Meades went down with the head injury and he didn’t stop the game immediately. Bayo looked like he was thinking about chinning him! Idiot. Perhaps the decision or two we got after came out of guilt.

Them: Actually they were really really…. shit. I think apart from their No. 7 who tried, I wouldn’t have any of them in our Development Squad. I suppose they were a bit organised at the back until we played that One piece of football (TM) and boom, they were gone.

The Crawley Town bubble I think has burst.

Point to ponder: Was Saturday’s match just a comedown after the Wycombe and Plymouth efforts in terms of physical and/or mental exhaustion, or the result of the disruption of the team by injuries?

We know having Akinfenwa on the pitch majorly affects the style and momentum we play at, and again it did; he did OK and with a bit more luck might have scored. But we seem not to perform with him there.

Someone suggested that having him to hit higher balls to negated the problems that the uneven pitch brought. I see NA has made a remark or two to that effect. I can’t remember our players shanking so many balls in a game. We did look a bit more up for it once Rigg and Ade came on though.

But then the sun had also come out; are we a fair weather team?

Truth is stranger than fiction: First win ever I think whilst the infamous Wombelles inhabited the Presidents Lounge. Barry Fuller got the call to be molested in public…. didn’t wait to see what happened. Any dead Wombelles?

Anything else? Realisation that if we just win every game we will be in the playoffs. That’s the simplicity of it all but of course this is AFCW and we do NOT do simple.

A performance like that next week against Leyton Orient and we will not come away with 3pts. But I don’t think it will be that type of game. Counter attacking, like we do away from home might be order of the day as they will have to go for it themselves. Could be very interesting….

So, was it worth it? Well it was nice to catch up with my old school chum and he was impressed enough to consider getting a ticket for next week.

In a nutshell: Played shit but still won – sign of a team going to the playoffs?

I’m not sure if much more needs to be said other than right now, three points is the be-all-and-end-all. Though as Alan Smith said yesterday during Leicester v West Aaaaam, there’s only so many times you can win 1-0…

Anyway, my Saturday was spent in deepest East London, spying (?) on our next two opponents. It’s always strange to see a team get relegated, but then Daggers played over the weekend as they have for most of the season.

They performed well some of the time, but let themselves down too often the rest of it. Spirited but limited, which is why their support** will be back buying the Non League Paper next season.

** – I know that given the history of WFC we should never take the piss out of away turnouts, but they took less than 500 to Brisbane Road, which says a lot.

Games like tomorrow evening are, in probably the most incorrect term you can use to describe this, a no-win situation. If we get three points, we’ve just beaten a relegated side. Draw or even lose…

If our attitude (both from the squad and the management team) is correct, we’ll win and probably do so quite easily. But we are facing a genuinely unknown quanity, one who you just can’t predict how they’ll perform.

Playing a relegated side is like being in a room with somebody terminally ill but with a gun. Their future is bleak, but they might have enough in them to make yours equally shit as well.

As for Leyton Orient, the good news is that they’re not any better than us. The bad news is that we’re not any more superior.

If they’d learned to shoot, they could have been 4-0 up by half time. Apparently there was something very wrong with them when Barnet gubbed them, but improved a fair bit on Saturday, so they might be a side who can make a late charge after all.

Which makes next Saturday perhaps the defining game of the season. I say “perhaps”, though in all likelyhood it will go down to the last fixture.

Maybe even before that, when we face Pompey, but one thing is becoming clear – don’t start planning who we want in the playoffs just yet.

Yes, Orient and Exeter and Wycombe have to keep winning. But then so do we – even with our game in hand. To his credit, NA is trying to cool down the giddyometer, as there was just a little bit of hubris creeping into various social media outlets last week.

I know a lot of people elsewhere are predicting we’ll finish seventh, but having covered a few L2 sides in the last month or two, I still think this season is quite wide open.

Why? Simply because nobody bar the top four seems to be playing that well at the moment. Even our win against Crawley was a three-points-job-done-christ-that-was-shit-to-watch situation.

So far, we’ve been helped by the fact that when we do slip up, so have the others. It’s actually quite staggering how even  Pompey aren’t entirely secure in the playoffs.

Are we now in four (OK, five) cup finals? Maybe. Is this one-more-push territory? Almost certainly. Is this better than fighting to avoid the drop or mid-table nothingness? Absolutely….