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Jack and Gill

A win. And a clean sheet to boot…

By all accounts, us beating Gillingham was one of the easier games we’ll have all season. After Coventry though, we’ll take anything.

And yes, there is a write-up, thanks to Oli Duffy:

Justin Edinburgh lay the blame firmly at his team’s door, highlighting the manner in which Wimbledon were provided with opportunities to score.

Given how our previous winning performances this season rang various alarm bells, and draws have felt like defeats, it would be easy to agree with Edinburgh that Ardley and his men were handed this win on a plate.

We could also talk about the impotency of Gillingham in the final third or how their pre-match and in-match injuries reduced them to a much lesser team than they have been in recent months.

However, any Dons fan who has followed the team since our return to the Football League will be well aware of our ability to make a mess of situations that lean in our favour.

I don’t really agree with the argument that the main reason we won this game is because Gillingham were awful. One-on-ones, especially from the angle Poleon approached the goal from, and especially at lower-League One level, are no given.

It was a huge relief to watch him successfully round the keeper and then get the ball in between the posts and under the bar.

Poleon promises to be not only an effective pacey striker we have sought after for so long, but also an addition that means we really do have three strikers vying for the starting two places – rather than having to worry about a real drop in quality between our starting forwards and the substitutes.

Furthermore for our first, we pressed them well leading up to their moment of incompetence. We worked for our luck and made the most of it.

Edinburgh made a comment that the game was ‘physical’, one we are getting used to receiving. Well, good. I am glad we are now the team that dishes out the odd bit of muscle.

Besides, we did not earn our clean sheet due to only the argy-bargy. I was impressed with our back four when I kept in mind how shaky they had been this season.

Sure, they weren’t playing the best attacking personnel we will face and we certainly did make mistakes. However, we did not make a catastrophic error – unlike Gillingham– and we did not overstep the mark with our use of force – unlike Gillingham.

Edinburgh’s side also made their fair share of tugs and shoves, and it cost them.

A big positive for this game is that we proved that we have some versatility in our squad. Ardley has, in the past, seemed overly reluctant to swap players in-and-out of his starting line-up.

That was not the case against Gillingham, and I was pleased to see Elliot and Poleon starting together. It was also good that Beere and Parrett not only started, but played effectively.

We may have found a successful alternative to Bulman and Francomb respectively, both of whom may need a bit of competition to boost their own form.

Such a comfortable win with a clean sheet was a huge relief to see, even if it was due in part to various mitigating circumstances.

We have failed to beat lesser opposition before on more than one occasion this season, and to do it with such composure is a huge step forwards.

Of course, it is early days and only our first win when we did not have to rely on a late goal. However, it was a marked improvement.

I wonder if Saturday was a reaction to the way we let it slip on Wednesday? Sometimes, having a lot of games close together also acts as a help too.

OK, you have to beat what’s in front of you, but it’s apparent that not every team we play against will be miles ahead of us. Hell, some might actually be quite shit.

So, the big question is – are we finally adapting to this division? Perhaps, and not letting in any goals was an all-too-rare treat. A couple more clean sheets, and who knows what will happen…

We have past the ten game milestone that people always judge on, and we’ve slowly got to grips with L1. A bit too slowly at times, and Coventry was probably a bit more like our games have been than Gillingham.

I did read over the weekend (well, Saturday – I spent yesterday poleaxed on my sick bed with one of those shitty head colds that ruin you) that we’re adopting L2 tactics to get us through.

That can cost us games, and there’s always the danger that we can get sussed out doing it, but right now it’s needs must – and we have only lost one league game in the last eight.

And no, I’m not going to suggest we play L2 tactics because we have a L2 squad 😉

Not that it would matter if we did, because providing we play within the laws of the game there’s nothing to stop us doing so. Which, coincidentally, was the same line we used a lot during the 1980s and 1990s…

Actually, things do seem to be turning full circle again. Britain has a female PM, the Co-Op has brought its old logo back, and there will be football played at PL again by 2019.

Which makes Erik’s programme notes from this Saturday every more intriguing.

That’s “intriguing” in a good way, because now we’re finally talking about months to get things done rather than years. OK, we do get the judicial review mention, but it’s nothing you don’t know already.

Erik is being his usual cautious self about the JR, although the only hit to the timescale will be if a judge decides to hear the case against it.

It’s probably the least likely of all the hurdles to trip us up, but a hurdle it is – and you still need to vault over it.

There are a couple of interesting titbits that are a cynical attempt to make people buy the programme going to make future updates worth looking out for.

I’d love to know who the “influential people” who did the lobbying are. I bet there might be some surprising names on there, if they every get mentioned.

Likewise, the bit about actual construction might end up being the best thing you’ll ever read in the programme when it gets written, because then it’s finally real.

But for now, there are still lawyers to placate and s106s to sign. And I didn’t know that they also include land transfers and sums of money to be paid.

No wonder they’re aiming for a “reasonable if challenging” deadline of December.

I don’t think it’s in anyone’s interest to keep this hanging on longer than necessary – Galliard certainly want to be getting on with it, about as much as we do.

At least we’ve also got some idea of eviction notices for the doggers and stockies – it’s three months for them to sling their hook, not six.

That particular bit does seem a bit confusing, though it didn’t get any clearer when your editor had a quick butchers at the Pascal Taggart Racing Post last Thursday.

I didn’t buy it, and you have to subscribe to get it online (if anyone has a copy of it, I’ll be grateful), but it had an interview with one of the big cheeses in dog racing.

He was (I think) suggesting they still had a six month eviction period, although it didn’t seem particularly clear.

Mind you, he did also say that he was meeting with Galliard/Risk/whoever else owns the site to see what happens next. Although he said he wasn’t close to them and their thinking, and suggested it was a convoluted ownership structure.

It all seems a bit messy, although from what we’ve seen about the doggers over the last two years or so, they do tend to believe in things that aren’t entirely 100% accurate.

No wonder their “sport” is fucked.

There seems to be a general lack of clarity about this kind of thing, by the way. When BtR called in our application in March, I’m sure they gave the doggers a six month extension, which would be expiring about now.

But it now seems it’s up until December, which would tie in with the s106 agreements finally getting signed, so we can do all the nice things like tenders and ride out the judicial review period in the meantime.

Some while ago, I heard mentioned that September 2017 would be the time when we can finally put 25 years of hurt behind us, and that does tie in with the 6-9 month period of clearing a site.

And won’t that be a boner-inducing moment?

Your editor was covering a game at White Hart Lane a couple of weeks ago, and I noticed how quickly their new ground** is being constructed. I’m in no doubt there will be plenty of people passing by NPL every day and getting excited at another concrete pillar put in the ground.

** – apparently Haringey council were so hostile to the redevelopment that Levy was *very* close to taking them to the Olympic Stadium. Eventually their councillors capitulated. I mention that just in case you think Spurz got it easy and we didn’t…

One thing I’ll question though – how come it takes that time to clear a site? OK, there’s got to be surveys, likely asbestos removal etc, but after that – can’t they just give us a load of sledgehammers and done with it?

We’ll get it done in no time. Hell, why not arrange a meeting with the Franchise cunts before our game in March there? Their heads would cause far more destruction to buildings than any wrecking ball…