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** AFCW win a game **

Christ, we even scored two goals. Whose soul did we sell…?

OK, enough piss taking. I suppose us winning yesterday was the most predictable result of the weekend. After all, nobody gave us much of a chance, we’re all still smarting from the Shrewsbury/Fleetwood tossfests, and somebody with a vasectomy had a better chance of scoring than us.

Jampot eventually made it to KM, and witnessed the miracle…

# Oh Donny Boy, the points the points are calling……… for AFC Wimbledon…. this time.

So for my second report running… that wasn’t meant to happen! By all accounts, all the bookies had us down as a loss as probably did half our fan base.

Certainly given the respective starts the two teams had produced, it was pretty surprising to see Dons 2 Dons 0.

OK, let’s not get carried away. Rome was not built in a day and nor will this team be. But the win gives us breathing space; a massive whack of confidence; and a happier place on the training pitch. Bet Sunday lunch was better for the boys this week than last.

So by my reckoning, first half: no shot, no saves, either side. The only thing really apparent was that only one team seemed to have any confidence – and that wasn’t us. That said, neither team seemed that committed to attack with numbers; it was a NA orgasm-feast first half I reckon 😉

Team wise we had the usual back 4 suspects but in the middle Trotter was between Francomb and Abdou on the left. Likewise Lyle appeared between Barcham on the left and Appiah on the right.

Whilst there was a degree of balance across the pitch the formation felt very defensive (was it not the same 3 away at Scunthorpe?) and was definitely not working going forward. The front 3 were constantly isolated and when we did get behind them (twice by Barcham) there was no end product. Symptomatic of our issues.

At least Donny didn’t offer in any way the same threat that Shrewsbury had and we contained them pretty well.

So being positive: H/T 0-0, better than Shrewsbury. Progress!

But the elephant is still in (out) the room (pitch). It was already apparent, can we as a side actually play 4-3-3, or do we need to change it? I take it we were perhaps more solid if unspectacular yesterday, as really were Donny. It was just not exciting, and isn’t that why we partly come to watch in AFCW?

The second half started in the same vein until Donny were awarded a free kick which brought out a good save from Long, though I suspect the shot may have been going wide. SIghhhhh!

Then Bam! Out of nowhere, Kwesi conjures up a goal, just as I am making notes perhaps we need subs.

Middle of the park, 5 yards outside the penalty box, back to goal. Ball to feet, flips it around the Donny defender leaving him for dead, two strides and simply slips it under the advancing goalkeeper. To be truthful, CHAMPIONSHIP class! It just showed what could happen if you play the ball into the right areas!

Double bam!! Barcham, riding tackles cuts in with the ball after a game of head tennis, and sprints to about 20 yards out and lets fly… in off the far post and settles in the net.

Change of luck perhaps? Maybe. But certainly Barcham had deserved this though his first half cut backs had not worked out, his head never dropped and he kept trying to beat his man, and was rewarded.

And then he followed it all up by some immense tracking back…. others could take note!

So with the unusual comfort of a 2 goal cushion in the end we relatively comfortably (by our standards) saw the game out, even surviving 6 mins of added time(was the ref offering Donny Man City time?).

And needless to say the final whistle was greeted with a mix of joy and relief at this first win. As always a moment to saviour in the season.

Plus points: Appiah’s skill; Barcham’s never give up attitude rightly earning him MotM; confidence flooding back with a goal; good close out. Smiles on the players’ faces.

Minus points: A couple of strange bookings for us; still really looking all at sea most of the time with this formation.

The referee’s a…: improvement on some, but still conjured up 2 bookings for us that I could not see what for. However got things mainly right and fairly consistent for both sides and should be commended for dictating exact how free kicks would be dealt with. Could do worse in the future.

Them: The longer the match went on the more you could ‘see’ that they were/are still a League 2 side; industrious, big guys and reasonably proficient until they reached the final third. All questions of our defence were answered.

Think their ‘uniqueness’ having been promoted and their effort will see them survive this year, but mid to lower table looks more likely than higher. Watch them hit the playoffs now!

Point to ponder: I have already broached the subject of 4:3:3 and the other question that needs to be asked of it, is do we have the right players in the squad?

Playing it out from the back, only Deji is really comfortable on the ball of the current back 4. Charles looks like he has the ability as well as Meades (if he is ever fit again), but then you are looking to the youth of Nightingale, Tony Sibbick and George Philbeam.

That may frighten people but consider this in deference to the current experienced incumbents; most have pace that the others do not; they are younger in many case; but for me, particularly with OUR youth players they seem to have been more exposed to this formation and the way to play out from the back as it seems to be the way the youth teams play (happy to be corrected BTW).

Finally, with the best season in the world, the likes of Fuller and Robinson are coming to the end of their AFCW careers if we stay in League 1.

Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) The win yesterday was down to my good luck I had. I mean I got totally shat on by a pigeon at Waterloo East, and that’s meant to be lucky eh? 2) Luck didn’t run to the trains yesterday for me with an hour delay due to person hit train incident. However good crowd considering all the various travel issues 3) Bought my first Golden Goal in a while – money still goes to the Ground Fund pot ; didn’t win. 4) Don’t think that pigeon had his lucky poo in him, did he? 5) And returning to football, seriously? 19% possession by us in that match? Someone was obviously not watching the same game as me! 5) Deji being ordered to put on shin pads after 12 mins by the ref

Anything else? Big buns! No not anyone I spied but from the Burger van outside the main entrance. And they filled them up nicely as well. Looked tempting. Perhaps the catering is being sorted, slowly.

Was also trying to work out what beat Donny in the end? OK, yes I know 2 goals but was it that, or the confidence we took from that to push on. Or, perhaps Wednesday’s exertions in the Cup caught up with them a bit, though I didn’t think they really tired until extra time.

Did anyone in our side have the balls to commit themselves forward into attack? In the games that we have lost the breakdown of play has seen defenders caught out of position, unable to get back.

Yesterday both Trotter and Abdou found themselves going forward with the ball when they stopped, turned back and laid it off. The momentum was gone… like so many other times.

And finally, Kennedy’s free kick. Did he hit it too hard? Barcham’s shot was as much placement as any power but the free kick rebounded off the crossbar but definitely back out and down before being cleared.

No doubt though, unless Parrett is on the pitch, he’s the only one that can a decent hard shot free kick! An antidote to a degree against his poorer defending capability (alledgedly 😉

So, was it worth it? Sunshine, beer, mates and winning football!

In a nutshell: Season seems to have finally started for us.

I sometimes wonder if players (and management) look at places like this, and other social media, look at the reaction after Shrewsbury and Fleetwood and think “right you fuckers”.

It’s telling that NA felt he had to say something at half time to give us a nice weekend after all. This wouldn’t be the first time, either – in previous seasons, bad runs** never seem to last too long, and it may well be happening again.

** – with the exception of the post-Franchise dog end of last season, where I think we hit the mental brick wall and never properly recovered. And something I still think hangs over us to a degree for some reason.

Whatever it was, it’s damn good to be sitting with the post-3 points glow. We’ve missed it, and I’ve forgotten how nice it is as well.

Those there can chew the cud over the goals, the tactics and whatnot. One thing is clear though – we needed the result yesterday, more than you think.

I couldn’t help but pick up the vibe last week that all wasn’t well in AFCWland. When people were openly mocking the “we had a good week in training” stuff you get from the OS, you know patience was already wearing thin.

The mood is better already now, and we can head into the Blackpool pissup game with confidence. And that’s been a lot of our problem – if you know that you can’t score, putting it in the net becomes harder every game.

Pleasingly, Kwesi found his shooting boots at last, and it was a decent effort too. He’s undoubtedly got the talent, and by all accounts the right attitude too, so he needed that as much as anyone.

Barcham always seems like a player who you miss when he’s not there. Maybe Forrester lurking is making him (and others) up their game?

Speaking of our new signing from Sevco, I expect him to play a part in the ex-JPT at Barnet on Tuesday (and yes, I’m going. Bollocks to your boycott). I also expect him to be a starter when he finally gets up to speed.

And I’m quite looking forward to him doing so. Mind you, I looked forward to Soares as well.

Is it true there’s a recall option on him for January? If so, we should be making contingency plans for the New Year already, as I don’t fancy another Tubbs situation screwing us up.

OK, that’s part of the risk you take with such a loanee, but he’s definitely ours until at least early next year, and we can make a helluva lot of use out of him. If we play him properly…

As for other remaining transfers, it was telling that our dealings are apparently finished now. No late bid for Michael Smith from Pompey, although one wonders what will happen if, when Thursday comes, word gets round that his wages for the season have suddenly become a lot cheaper.

That could apply to anyone else on our radar, although whether we a) have enough in the kitty now, and b) are willing to spend just that little bit extra remains to be seen. It might be we don’t need anyone now, but I still think we shouldn’t totally close the door on doing anything.

Other things : I note in the SW19 open thread (which I’m going to do more often as it seems quite popular, and easy for me to update) that attendances are a bit lower. I think a mixture of it being August bank holiday, horrific traffic issues and KM being shit do contribute to that.

Mind you, whether the not-so-regular matchgoers are cutting back a bit is something you can’t really quantify. Ditto whether the recent lack of performances contributes to that too.

There’s also been some issues about the seat reselling thing, and I would suggest the club relaunches that particular scheme. Never assume that everyone knows that such an arrangement exists, because more often than not, people don’t.

And even if they did, it’s clear they’ve got out of the habit of letting the club know.

Sending a solitary email ten days before the next game doesn’t really help – it’s easy to say you’ll reply to it later, if you know that far in advance to begin with, and at the very least I would suggest one on the Monday and one on the Friday before the game.

It’s hardly spamming, and you’ll probably get more of an uptake because of it.

Finally, your editor was at Griffin Park yesterday, and the news there is that instead of four pubs around their current ground, at their new gaff there will be….. none. Seriously.

No club shop either, which apparently is because their current one (which is about 2-3 times the size of our outlet at KM) is open all week and loses money.

I mention this because I’m sure I remember some years back, we sold more merchandise on a matchday than the Bees do. Or something like that anyway. Whatever the stat was, I can well believe it.

And it always amazes me (as a hardline merchandise non-purchaser) how many people buy our stuff. Seriously, pro-rata we must be one of the most committed sets of consumers in the division, if not compared to Championship sides too.

Your editor also did Fulham v Brizzle Rovers last week as well, and I had a look in the Craven Cottage shop too, and to be fair their section is quite moreish – certainly in comparison to the Brentford equivalent which seems a bit meh.

When we start looking for the club shop at NPL (which I would hope is open during the week), I think we could do worse than go to SW6 to see what sells and what doesn’t. And just as importantly, how to make it tantilising enough to look at.

Maybe we do already? Considering our current club shop is basically a rabbit hutch in comparison, it always seems to do good trade whenever I’m at a game, so imagine a “proper” one open?

This all said, we can always start thinking about more merchandise to flog. We have a lot of golfers, so maybe a range of golf tees and head covers when space allows? We have a tie-in with Your Golf Travel, after all.

And if we’re now selling AFCW branded lager, why not fags and condoms…?