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Sail away


At least we’re still in the playoffs…

I suppose if we’re going to lose between now and the end of the season, Landlubbers 0 Sailor Boys 1 isn’t the worst time you can do it.

The trouble is, especially this morning, it feels a bit of a reality check. And not necessarily in a good way either.

We were a bit lacklustre at the back, not much better in midfield and the less said about our forward line the better. OK, the ref should have blown for a foul for their goal, but them’s the breaks.

And if we do extend our season, we’re going to have to learn how to deal with games like this, where the opposition won’t lie down for us.

A cursory glance at the L2 table suggests it’s still very much in our hands. We need just two points to guarantee it, no matter if Cambridge win their next two games by 14-0 each.

Which does beg a question relating to last night – did we approach the game like we were in them already? An expectancy, if not a complacency, anyway.

Truth be told, we didn’t turn up last night. I’m struggling to remember too many shots on target from us, anyway. Hell, if we were still playing this morning it would probably still be 1-0.

The important thing now is that for the next couple of games, we don’t lose our form – playoffs might be three cup finals, and all that, but it can be all over by the first leg if you’re not careful.

We talk about Plymouth losing games at the wrong time, and we can mention the team finishing fourth getting demoralised, but we’ll need to do a helluva lot better than last night ourselves.

That is all assuming we hold our nerve and get the two points that will guarantee them, of course. Which we should do from this position.

Mind you, draw or even lose at St Evenage, and then our nerve will get tested on the 7th May. Especially if Cambridge win.

Chances are, we can write last night off, and use it as a marker for where we are right now. But somehow the giddyometer is a little cooler this morning…

Plus points: Probably not meaning much in the grand scheme of things.

Minus points: We lost. No goals. Looking second best. Not likely to score. Reality check for the playoffs.

The referee’s a…: Oh dear. Failed to give a foul in the buildup to their goal, and clearly had a few quid on it staying that way.

Them: It’s quite rare to lose to them, especially at KM, though like we have to eventually beat Oxford – at some point we’re bound to become a cropper.

They just seemed that bit quicker, stronger and sharper. Whether they had a point to prove after recent bad results is anyone’s guess, but they might be worth a couple of quid to get up through the playoffs.

Cue them losing the first semi-final 5-0.

I’d forgotten that Michael Smith played for us, though it seems he has to go back to wherever he’s on loan from before the playoffs. To be fair, he took his goal well enough, even if we did give him a bit of room to do it.

I can’t recall any club having so many directors turning up at KM. Mind you, maybe they were planning another impromptu board meeting, just like they did after we beat them 4-0…

Point to ponder: A question that got asked after we lost to Brizzle Rovers earlier this year – how will we do in the playoffs? The answer today is the same as the one back then. I quote:

If last night is anything to go by, we’ll give it a damn good go but will probably fall short. It would be a bit like the two failed attempts to get out of Turdeyland.

And yes, if you read further down you’ll happily sling my “we won’t reach the playoffs” comments back at me. Just a reminder we haven’t played St. Evenage and Newport yet…

Last night hasn’t changed my mind on that particular score (how we’ll do in them, not if we’ll reach them or not), and maybe just further entrenched that viewpoint.

Your editor read a comment a couple of weeks ago, which suggested AFCW were the best of a bad bunch. That was in reference to those going for seventh, and to be fair – they’re right.

We are just a win/two draws away from it because we were able to win five straight games after losing at Hartlepool. In the meantime, Wycombe and Exeter failed, Orient self-imploded (and continue to do so) and Cambridge basically need two wins and us to fuck up big time.

We’re here because we took the proverbial bull by its metaphoric horns and gave it a non-literal riding (stop that vulgar image in your head, you deviants).

Beating teams like Crawley, Daggers and Orient are one thing, but we will have to play anyone from t’Stanley downwards, depending on who falls out of the automatics at the worst possible time.

And our record against the top six this season isn’t particularly encouraging.

To save you looking, we’ve now played all of them home and away, and we’ve won two of them. One at Home Park, where we always do well regardless, and the other we were 2-0 down very early on.

The rest have either been like last night (Plymouth first game, Brizzle Rovers away), a superhuman effort where we played as well as we’ve ever done but still didn’t win (Northampton), or the usual results against Oxford.

Obviously, playoffs are a different kettle of fish, but if we’re starting with a clean slate and treat it like three cup finals, then so is everyone else.

Last night Paul Cook apparently said he knew how we would line up, and was able to nullify us effectively. That does highlight a weakness against better sides that we’ve not dealt with this season, and one that we have to do if we’re to progress in the playoffs.

That’s not to say we can’t reach the final, and as said in a recent SW19 update – I would fancy our chances more at Wembley than us reaching it to begin with.

But like the conclusion after the trip to the West Country some weeks ago, don’t be entirely surprised to relive the Ryman League days against Fisher and Bromley…

Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) Their bell. With the bell. 2) At least Boris has now admitted he’s fucked up a bit. It’s still annoying, but at least it’s more ammo for us. And as somebody who knows these things recently suggested, us having to go through a public enquiry might be the best thing for us after all.

Anything else? Yeah – do any United States readers know what channel the L2 playoffs will be on? Asking for a friend…

So, was it worth it? Not really.

In a nutshell: At least the playoffs are still likely, right? Right?