First things first – it’s the last day to email the Mayor of London. Do it, and do it now.
Sent it off? Excellent. It might have helped take your mind off Posh 3 Oiks 2…
So yet again, another first round exit in the League Cup. Six times in the AFCW era, six defeats. All away. One day it might even start becoming funny.
There is nothing hilarious about conceding an injury time goal to lose you the game, needless to say. Especially when we did deserve to take it into extra time at least.
However, for the second time in four days, our back line let us down big time. A cross and two set pieces ultimately undid us, and already the penny may be starting to drop…
As odd as it may seem, we didn’t lose last night in the 93rd minute (OK, we did but…), but instead in a 20 minute spell when we went from 1-0 up to 2-1 down.
It kicked our confidence a bit, though it perked up again when we equalised. Which made our last gasp lapse even more of a kick in the bollocks.
I saw the highlights and to be honest, it really is just dozy defending. I did see a few highlights of other games from last night, and we’re clearly not alone in that.
Some of them are Championship level, too.
In our case, we need to shape up and quick. Because as we found out early last season, patience can wear thin pretty quickly. We might be able to get away with this until the end of this month, but only up until then…
This does distract from a performance that most last night were suggesting was far better than Walsall. And I have to say, we do show a bit of promise.
True, we are a little bit slow in thought and deed, about half a yard or so. We need to learn to do things almost instantaneously, and our crossing just hits the first man.
But that will come. Apart from the set-piece situation, there was nothing fundamentally wrong with our play. If Darius had buried that easier-to-score-than-miss chance at 1-0 up, today could have been very different.
Some of it is simply match sharpness. While we won’t be able to use that as an excuse/reason for too much longer, a fully sharp Barnett (par example) will be a handful for a lot of defences this season.
We did also seem to suss out a couple more little things that prove the difference between L1 and L2, stuff like keeping the ball in play when it would otherwise go out.
It is, as so many have said already, the Learning Curve™. Which is why losing like we did really sticks big time in the throat this morning.
When I updated on Monday, I mentioned about “heroic failure”. I’m not sure if this game counts as that, it was us being sloppy rather than being brave.
But the fact I’m pissed off at losing rather than being sanguine about it may well be a good thing…
Plus points: Decent in attack. Learning to deal more with L1 sides. Battled back from 2-1 down.
Minus points: Last minute goal. Set piece defending awful. Yet another failure in the cups.
The referee’s a…: Had a good game except for a 20 minute spell, bit like ourselves really.
Them: Once you got past the shock of the notice above the turnstiles saying it’s £26 for a league game, this was a nice gesture to greet us:
I wonder what they do for Franchise’s visit?
A bit sharper where it really mattered, because there wasn’t much difference between the two sides otherwise. For our second goal, it was good to see it’s not just our defence that can be a little slow.
It was all quite friendly, though it being low key helped on that score. Only 2000 or so there, and as atmospheric as you would expect.
They have Mr Posh (an old bloke with top hat/tails) and Miss Posh (top hat/tails, you can guess the rest). Good to see the age gap doesn’t affect true love. Well, either that or he’s a millionaire.
Peterborough town centre when all the shops have closed is a little bit weird. Not one, but two people busking with a fiddle…
Point to ponder: So why are we so fucking shit with set pieces? As NA said after the game, it’s more or less the same back four as last season – surely Clarke in goal can’t be that much of an issue?
I’m hoping that we are simply still trying to tune into how L1 sides attack. If that is the case, then while we’ll make a few more mistakes that will cost us goals/games, that is rectifiable with time.
As somebody point out afterwards, it’s like this time last season all over again. Though one has to wonder who plays the Ben Wilson role, and not just on social media either.
If it’s not that, then we might have real problems already. We may still be looking for another defender anyway, and TBH if the budget can stretch to somebody who gives it an upgrade, we should do it before September.
Maybe NA’s hand will be forced if things don’t notably improve by the time we leave Sixfields on the 20th? We won’t be perfect this season, our aim is survival after all, but we could make life a bit easier for ourselves.
Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) Our manager getting off the team bus about 15 minutes after everyone else. No idea who he was speaking to… 2) Bloke with what looked like a briefcase on the sideline, who came to the touchline whenever one of our players was down. Was he a doctor? The cultural attache of Burundi? Lyle Taylor’s agent? 3) Speaking of LT, one wonders how his contract re-negotiation went. Bit of a subdued celebration, though before you read too much into that, nobody else was celebrating.
Anything else? Two games in, and it’s clear that this season is going to have some pretty marked ups and downs.
One has to wonder if this season has already kicked some complacency out of us. We’ve suddenly discovered we need to do much harder work on the training ground, and more importantly carry it out onto the pitch.
What it also has made us realise at this early stage is how much of a boost our first win will be. That has to come sooner rather than later, preferably against Notlob this Saturday (and what a scalp that would be).
And as dumb as this may sound, I think everyone at AFCW wants to be a League One side. OK, L2 ultimately served us well, but now we’re in the third tier I’d like us to stay here.
Why? OK, it will feel like a sense of achievement if we do. Especially this season. This division already feels like it has a bit of prestige that the fourth tier didn’t have.
Which is understandable considering the likes of Man Citeh, Leeds, Leicester and Soton have graced it in the past decade. Since then, two of them have gone on to win the Prem.
But I think we’re also getting closer to where we were before 28/5/02. While the Championship is likely to be out of reach for a good while yet, playing clubs like Bolton make you feel we’ve come full circle.
Your editor is of the age where playing them, Sheffield United, Coventry and Charlton were almost de rigeur, and in some ways this is where we should be.
It’s going to take a lot of effort, and will test the club itself in ways it may not be prepared for (at least without a change in its modus operandi), but somehow if we succeed, the payoff will be a good one.
So, was it worth it? Hmph.
In a nutshell: At least we can concentrate on the league.