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Blimey, where did that come from…?

It has to be said, with more than enough justification, that if you expected Moss Brothers 3 Chuckle Brothers 1 you’re probably bullshitting even more than a Franchise fan in a courtroom.

Let’s face it, in this Most Important Three Games Of The Season (So Far) period, if we were going to come a cropper, it would have been this game. But something was different last night…

Lack of expectation? Maybe. But this is the AFCW we see all too rarely  – gutsy, determined, wanting to win, and with not a little skill to boot. We deserved the glow of the three points this morning, and then some.

So, what went right? Things like “playing players in the right position”, and “lack of micro-management”, and “Harry Forrester” and “Lyle Taylor in the middle”. Oh, and the heroic sports shrink was there last night too.

But when you overhear people at the end saying that was the most entertaining game they’ve been to for a good year or so, sometimes it might not be a bad idea to drop the snark for just a minute or two.

Last night was genuinely enjoyable. Not just for supporters, but the players looked happy too. Which is a big contrast to their general demeanour at Oxford a couple of weeks ago.

Just as THAT St. Evenage game became the turning point for our eventual success at Wombley, one wonders if the game at the Kassam was the one where things finally came to a head.

That wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened in recent seasons either. Northampton was the start of our current mini-revival, and I wonder who this picture taken after Saturday was really aimed at?

Which leads us onto last night. As said earlier, in somewhat sarcastic tones, the fact that Forrester started and Taylor was in the middle makes a helluva difference. Funny that. But then, it seemed to lift the whole team.

We went ahead, and Taylor really took that well. Seriously, you forget what a good finisher he can be. Unfortunately, their goal was a good one and probably not one we could have done much about.

However, we didn’t sit back, try and go all negative and for once had a go back again. And blow me**, we scored again. And again, Taylor playing without the shackles on showing what he can really do.

** – OK, that is a request. It’s my birthday this time next week after all.

Oh, and did anyone else think he fucked up for the third one? The replay showed what a bit of a flukey git he was on the rebound…

But who cares? Taylor doesn’t – first hat-trick of the AFCW era in the Football League, apparently. Not that he didn’t deserve it, though many thought Forrester deserved the MOTM award.

Nobody played badly though. To be honest, I don’t think they dared play shite after Northampton, because imagine the mood if we had been on the end of a 3-1 reversal last night.

But all those who have made suggestions in recent weeks about how we should be playing, start writing to the club to claim win bonuses from last night and Northampton. We’re all owed them…

Plus points: We won. Played with freedom. Taylor hat-trick. Forrester. Proving what happens when you play players in their actual positions.

Minus points: Them scoring.

The referee’s a…: Wasn’t popular with some people…

Them: Fourth, though I’m not quite sure how. They seemed quite, well, Northern and looked pretty strong (physically), but if I’d travelled down from south Yorkshire I’d be a bit pissed off with that performance.

To be fair, their goal was pretty decent, although oddly they never seemed to put us under the cosh afterwards.

Not too bad a turnout from them for a Tuesday, though like most clubs they have a long-established London branch. I believe we’ve had a bit of advice from them over NPL, though somebody needs to tell their local hack it’s not KM that’s getting demolished…

Point to ponder: So why has it taken two and a half months for us to finally start playing properly?

I don’t believe that it all suddenly came together last night without something drastic happening beforehand. Whether there was a player mutiny avoided we’ll never know (and if there was, the club wouldn’t tell you the truth anyway).

But I’ve looked back at the games I’ve been to this season (Fleetwood, Blackpool, Franchise, Oxford and last night), and if we’d applied ourselves in just two of those fixtures like we did just under 24 hours ago, we’d be a lot better off.

I’m thinking of Blackpool specifically, where I still have the voice of the blokes behind me in my head saying we go out not to lose rather than to win. We could have got three points if we weren’t so fucking cowardly.

And that’s just the games your editor has witnessed. I wasn’t there for some of the real piles of goat semen, but people have been pissed off for a very good reason.

Obviously, for our collective mental health as much as anything, I hope this continues. The trouble is, as the games after Doncaster and Blackburn showed, we’ve been here before this campaign alone.

Which is why I’m not going to start sucking NA’s cock anytime soon. Yes, he can be very pleased at last night and Northampton, although it’s up to you whether you believe the comments about positivism 😉

But finding out the sports shrink was there again, and the stubborn, dogmatic, boring turgid crap that has been put out far too many times this season and last, I’m still finding it difficult to get totally carried away despite two wins on the bounce.

Why? As that Tubular Jonnings bloke stated on the last comments section, leopards don’t change their spots.

I’d love games like last night to be the norm, but we all know they won’t be. And this remains my biggest issue with the whole NA tenure – I can’t recall a manager who has to backtrack and/or gets reined in as much as he does.

You just have to look at the amount of times the tactics have to be changed, almost 180-degrees from what is planned pre-season. This time around, it may yet cost us our hard-won place in League One, and totally un-necessarily at that.

I think that’s why STTA’s comments about Wally Downes in the last writeup hit a chord with so many, because you do end up wondering what if we had somebody who is naturally pragmatic, rather than somebody who is forced to be.

If you’re on a low budget, you have to be more practical full stop. With NPL on the horizon, that’s going to become even more pronounced, and we just can’t keep bailing out with sports shrinks, drastic formation changes and “heart-to-hearts”.

Yes, I shouldn’t be saying this after last night, but it’s not a bad time to point any of this out. This game proves what we can be, and in truth should be, if only we’re allowed to. Because for too often, we’re not…

Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) The students from Indiana behind me. Being from that part of America, they were probably excited at seeing things like aircraft. 2) More people than I expected, although £10 in the RyPiss helped. That said, I’m not entirely sure there were 3900 in the ground, considering some spaces around me.

Anything else? Yes, Lincoln at KM in the FAC has almost gone under the radar.

It’s not likely to get shown on TV, it’ll probably be the Saturday, and as a few intimated last night, if it had been at Sincil Bank it would have been a nice weekend away. As it is, though, it’s already got that banana skin element about it.

Lincoln will be up for it, we’re still vulnerable (especially if we go back into our shell again), there’s going to be a full house in the away end, and it’s the FA Cup.

I hope we keep that all in mind, because for so many reasons (finance and mental health) we need a decent cup run again. Sutton last year still gives me shivers, and that game might have been the catalyst for what we’ve only started to come out of in the last few days.

So we need to make up for that. We’re pretty shit in cup competitions anyway, and for that alone we need the excitement of possibly drawing Franchise Burnley in the third round. And yes, we need to get through this one and the next round before we can even think of that.

At least it wasn’t a non-league side. I don’t buy into this “easy tie” crap, because there was a certain fixture last season that was supposed to be a slam dunk. In hindsight, maybe we should have lost that game after all.

Playing some of the sides we could have got, especially away, would have been a test of the mettle and then some. There’s always one L1 side who suffers the embarrassing capitulation to a bunch of pipe fitters, so at least we can hope Hyde get the result of the round.

This all said, if our attitude is right, we should win this. I said “should”…

So, was it worth it? A Lyle Taylor hat-trick? I guess so.

In a nutshell: Watch us lose to Plymouth now.