One day, we might even get a win. I said “might”…
So, Garden of England 2 Historic England 2. And don’t think I’ve forgotten to remind you of that. Even if you’re thinking it’s a waste of time, just do it anyway. You don’t want to be stuck at KM forever, right?
And speaking of stuck, we are very slowly getting out of this (largely self-imposed) rut we’ve been in. One we’ve been in since even before Curzon.
Like the game at Shrewsbury, we looked more comfortable and had a bit more fight to us. Unlike the game in Shropshire, we also came away from the game without losing.
True, they hit the post in the last minutes, and I’m not sure how many people would be on suicide watch this morning if it had gone in.
Your editor watched the goals back this morning, and it was a decent finish from Taylor to put us ahead. If anyone needs to start finding the net again, it’s him.
But to let that slip in about two minutes is bad enough. There’s a definite weak spot in our defence and our mentality, which was illustrated in graphic form by the way their player waltzed through at least three of our players.
As for their second goal, I’ve never seen James Shea run so quickly to the linesman as I’ve seen him run, well, ever. Was it a foul in the middle of the park for the buildup? Perhaps.
Were there a gazillion players offside? Very possibly, given the way we (and NA afterwards) reacted. But the way their scorer got so much space to shoot in the first place is nobody else’s fault.
The highlights showed how close we were to going 3-1 down, although for once it’s us who benefited from one of those turning points you get in games.
Barcham took his strike well, although we deserved that equaliser anyway. Being ex-Gills, he didn’t celebrate, so we made it up for that behind the goal…
I suppose the most important thing from last night was that we didn’t suffer defeat again. You can argue about whether our players have been bottle jobs this past couple of months.
But at least we have some fight in us again. Apparently, our psychologist is back, which might explain why we’ve got three draws in the last four games, when it could have been zero points.
Even if he isn’t, one is hoping – and perhaps suspecting – that the penny finally dropped that we’re close to being in a relegation battle.
We’re not too good to go down, but equally we’re good enough to get the victories needed at some stage. Walsall on Saturday wouldn’t be a bad time to start winning again…
Plus points: We didn’t lose. Came back. Feeling we could have done even better. Will Nightingale coming on.
Minus points: We didn’t win. Kelly. Only ahead for two minutes. Nearly let it slip at the end. Shite defending.
The referee’s a…: Darren Deadman. A referee whose surname matches his powers of observation during games. And yes, I know he reffed us at the Kassam…
Them: I can see why they’re won about one game in whatever it was, because they really didn’t like it when we came at them. Which is why it annoys me even now to see us let our 1-0 lead slip so easily.
Like us, they’ll probably stay up on the basis that there’s even more shit in this division than themselves. And it’s clear it’s not just us who needs some major rebuilding this summer.
Bit disorganised going in, people with tickets behind the goal getting shoved to the side, before the stewards realising that slightly more of us turned up than they’d thought.
Very quiet beforehand (where I thought it was almost like an ex-JPT fixture) and during the game too – I think you would have literally heard a pin drop at times.
Still, their PA guy tried hard to rally the masses, even if he did sound like somebody at a country fair doing comms for a biggest marrow contest.
Like the way he introduced Barcham as a former Gill. And also reading the scores elsewhere at the end and point out who else used to play at Priestfield…
Point to ponder: Isn’t some of our problem a case of us trying at times to be too clever? And more often than not failing?
I saw a few attempts at us being a bit fancy with our play, and either finding a) a Gillingham player, or b) anywhere other than the intended target.
We let the first goal in at Shrewsbury because one of our midfielders thought he could stop, check to see who to pass to, and forgot that there were opposition players on the field.
And last night, especially in injury time, we got the ball then managed to lose it soon afterwards. And we wonder why we let in so many late goals this season.
It’s ironic I’m writing this, considering at other times our tactic (singular) is just a punt upfield. And a hopeful one at that.
So, what to do? I think for the rest of the season, we should go back to basics and just do the simple things well. That’s how we scored twice last night, and not for the first time – we’re a lot more effective as a result.
L1 may not be the football equivalent of Brutalist architecture, like L2 was. But it’s still a division that isn’t for fancy dan stuff.
The other problem with all this is that more often than not, we go behind and as we know, you can’t do that too often without seeing the heads and confidence drop.
Part of the problem, and it’s not just an AFCW thing, is that too many coaches now think they should ape Barcelona instead of concentrating on the skills their players are actually good at.
In trying to get rid of the alehouse tactics approach, they’ve forgotten that simple and effective passes, crosses into the box and whatnot scare the shit out of defenders.
The most successful teams in future will be the ones who realise that you don’t score goals by 150-pass buildups beforehand, and that a bit of dirt on your shirt isn’t a bad thing.
Or to put it another way – how much higher up would we be if we put ourselves about a bit more…?
Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) Tyrone Barnett’s effort from 12 yards out. See John Gayle v Chelsea. 2) Speaking of which, it’s not promising when the crowd cheer him winning a header…
Anything else? Yeah – am I alone in thinking that just over 500 travelling was a tad disappointing?
I know that Gillingham isn’t that easy in the evening, I know our away form has been beyond wank, there’s been a lot of games recently and we all need vaccinations to go to Kent anyway.
But it was only a tenner to get in, you can still get home reasonably quickly if you cadge a lift, the weather wasn’t that bad, and I think we’d have hit the four-figure mark if it had been on a Saturday.
Mind you, there weren’t too many more home fans either. 4956 is only slightly more than KM’s capacity, although a thousand more than what is actually comfortable.
Or am I being too harsh? And that 500+ is actually a decent turnout? Oxford were one short of 700 at Charlton last night, and after their game we were reminded that they are as big as Real Madrid.
I suppose that people are saving up for Bolton on the 4th March, which is why anyone going up to Scunthorpe might end up feeling a bit lonely in the away end.
Fatigue? Perhaps. People picking and choosing their games? Understandable, although it’s still puzzling a nearby game with cheap tickets would be less popular.
Or maybe it’s because we’re simply not winning away? Christ, we scored twice on the road in the league for the first time since October last night. There’s only so many times you can shell out £60+ per weekend only to be served up horse crap as your reward.
Still, those there enjoyed themselves. Plenty of lavender/caravan references, including “Tyson Fury, he’s one of your own”.
And “We’ve scored away twice, we’ve scored away twice. How shit must you be? We’ve scored away twice”…
So, was it worth it? Another point.
In a nutshell: We’ll win a game one day.