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Saddle Up AKA, welcome to League One.

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So much for the fairytale opening to life in the third tier of English football, although as many pointed out – we lost 3-1 away in the opening game of 1986. That was then, this is now. And STTA braved the Black Country and the M6 roadworks to give us a report…

Buy Generic Zolpidem Tartrate Giving away a free kick on the edge of our box last season would mean waiting to see which player would hoof it into the crowd before re-starting with a goal kick.

Seven minutes into our League One campaign at the Bescot Stadium we realised things had changed.

Going 1-0 down to a well executed free kick wasn’t the only noticeable difference from last season. Walsall were snappier in their play, quicker with their passing and depressingly clinical in front of goal.

Cheapest Price For Ambien We didn’t panic at going behind and the following ten minutes we found our way into the game. Jake Reeves got hold of the ball in midfield and we created an excellent chance that Whelpdale scuffed wide with the Walsall goal gaping. We continued to have the better of the play and around the half hour mark we looked certain to equalize as first Lyle’s shot produced a good save from Etheridge and Barcham’s follow up was cleared off the line.

These periods of pressure without reward reminded me of the early stages of last season, if we got punished for not capitalizing on our good play then it was almost inevitable we’d get punished now. And punished we were. Another Walsall set-piece, this one sent to the back post where our marking was all over the place. Darius failed to get enough on his header, the ball was played back across our goal and scrambled home for 2-0.

The second half followed a similar pattern. We came out with a determination to get back in the game. We created some good openings but our finishing was poor. Kelly put a promising set-piece into the crowd Francomb-style and Tom Elliot failed to hit the target when well positioned on the edge of the box. The traditional 70 minute switch saw Dom Poleon and Tyrone Barnett enter the fray. We switched to 4-3-3 and went direct. If we could just nick a goal there was still genuine hope we could get something from the game.

We continued to press but on 72 minutes Walsall broke down the left, Bakayoko put a great ball in and Simeone Jackson made it 3-0. Game over.

What followed should provide great encouragement to Dons fans. The support became more vocal, the players heads stayed high, we pressed hard for a consolation goal and eventually our reward came via the penalty spot. 3-1 was a fair reflection of the game we watched and enabled us to leave with our confidence intact. The game could easily have finished 4-0 which would have been an early body blow and a phone call to our psychologist.

Buying Zolpidem Mexico Plus points: We didn’t look out of our depth. We battled until the 96th minute. Tyrone Barnett will be a key player and looks a natural in League One. Our following – 1050 is a decent turnout in the Midlands, we were louder than last season and the support continued until the end finishing with a reception for the players louder and more appreciative than the home players got for their 3 points.

Minus points: Defending set pieces. Our fitness. Our wingers. Our finishing. The referee’s a…: Thought he handled the game very well. There are some new rules this season, one about laying a hand on the ref earns a mandatory yellow card. That would have meant dismissing one of their players second half and instead he called over their captain and explained the position to both.

Them: I’m hoping they’re one of the top 10 teams. We were arguably the better side box-to-box but you don’t win or lose games on the halfway line, their defending and finishing were far superior. Point to ponder: Should 4-3-3 be a formation we use more often or would 4-4-2 work better if we had decent wingers? Whelpdale will improve and become the main supply line for Tyrone. Other than that Francomb’s better in the middle than out wide and Barcham was struggling to deliver in League 2, never mind League 1. Anything else: The only question at this stage is will we stay up? Of course we need 8 – 10 games under our belts to have any real idea but Saturday suggested to me that we will. We matched Walsall in many areas. When our first choice back 4 find their form and Lyle and Tyrone start firing we should earn enough points to avoid relegation.

Order Generic Ambien Online So plenty to be disappointed and positive about, then. I was following the game from afar** on t’internet, and it did strike me that we were always going to pay for not putting away our chances. ** – well, Reading v PNE. The home side played a lot better than they did at KM, put it that way. Maybe we were slightly caught cold. Perhaps we underestimated just how in L1 they’re a little bit quicker and a little bit more clever. Possibly our shortened pre-season caught up with us.

Whatever, there are clearly lessons to be learned – and by fuck do we need to learn them quickly.

I watched the highlights (if you can call them that) for the first time this morning, and that second goal made our defence not only look like they’ve just met each other, but they realise someone has bad BO and are desperately trying to avoid each other.

Zolpidem Tartrate 10 Mg Online You would hope that these things are rectifiable, because unfortunately we could find out a truism the hard way otherwise – teams who make sloppy mistakes always struggle.

I don’t think we’re nearly as bad today as we were in the TB era when it comes to keeping goals out – our former manager seemed to treat defending as a personal insult – but NA and especially NC need to get that nailed down sooner rather than later.

Our run in the playoffs last season was partly down to having a rock solid back line. It would be a cruel irony if the same defenders were the cause of so much grief this time round. Still, it’s the first day of the season, and at least we now know what to do. By the sound of it, there’s not much wrong fundamentally with us. We created a few chances, even if we weren’t looking at at the goal when taking them, and the general reaction afterwards seemed cautiously optimistic. Hardly anyone said we looked out of our depth, put it that way. Of course, it’s just a single game thus far. And one suspects that we’ll need to get our first win on the board quite quickly, because otherwise the self-doubt creeps in.

Darius Charles was singled out a bit on Saturday, and he needs to prove that Walsall was just a bad day at the office rather than anything more fundamental at League One.

Ditto Fuller, and him and a couple of the old stalwarts must be careful this season. You can write off this weekend just gone, but too many more poor games and it starts getting a bit elephant in the room…

That may sound alarmist, especially after just ninety minutes, but a couple of people afterwards suggested Fuller had his worst ever game for us.

Now, when did he ever have one of those for us previously? His name has been as likely on the team-sheet as “AFC Wimbledon”, such has been his almost frightening consistency.

If Saturday seemed to prove anything, it’s that this team that did so well a few months ago have it all to prove again. A clean slate, if you will.

Walsall aren’t Wycombe, and Bolton will not be Barnet. If we figure that out quickly, we’ll be fine this season. If not…

For this reason, I’m glad that we’ve got Peterborough tomorrow in the League Cup, because it’s a good way of getting back on track.

I don’t doubt our defence had a flea in their ear as they left the Bescot, and any improvement will give everyone just that little bit of confidence back.

Tomorrow’s task is simply to play better than Saturday. If we walk away from London Road thinking that we’ve taken a step forward, then it’s almost job done.

The result may not matter against Peterborough. Come to think of it, it’s the League Cup – if this tournament was a football team, it would be Oxford United.

We won’t win. We never win in this competition. The second round of it is simply a mirage, that only exists in a parallel universe. It exists like Godot does, or like Charlie Sheringham’s goalscoring prowess – you’re told about it, but it never arrives.

Seriously, can we have ANY sort of fucking run in the League Cup this year? Even extra time tomorrow would be a legitimate improvement on just about every other game we’ve played in the AFCW era.

Though the WFC days weren’t much better either. Didn’t we go out to Posh back in the early 90s in this tournament early as well?

Apart from the Liverpool season, our record in cup competitions is simply pathetic. And to be honest, our continued surrender in them sticks in the craw.

I wouldn’t mind quite so much if we kept going out to heroic failure, but it’s not even been that. Christ, we couldn’t even reach the first round back in 2011.

Oh, and I’ve just reminded myself that we managed to lose to Franchise in this cup as well. Just to annoy myself further…