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Wonderfuel Gas

Yay, we won a game and scored some goals. Woop woop etc.

I have to be honest, I didn’t actually expect us to end our horrible record in Wurzleland in quite such a convincing manner.That it could have been about 4-0 by half time, apparently, was both a major shock and unsurprising.

Stunning, because it was a total 180-degree turn from most of the shit we’ve had to put up with this season, but also unsurprising because I think it proved what has been blindingly obvious – just have a go at a team, and you’ll never know what will happen.

Which is what went right yesterday. We stuck with two up front, we went at them from the off, and for the second time in a week we went ahead even before those sitting down got their arsecheeks comfy.

What’s the stat about our results when we take the lead? They’re quite good, aren’t they? I think the players know it themselves, which is why I think we’re quite difficult to beat when we go ahead.

It could have been a lot better, given the amount of chances we missed, though when Forrester netted I think that was practically game over by then.

And it definitely was when Cody found the net again. A good old fashioned punt up the middle, just like the old skool days. Even their consolation goal didn’t seem to induce much pant soiling…

So, what? Well, it certainly proves that two up front and playing without the shackles helps a lot. The squad seem to like this particular brand of football, anyway.

OK, one could give the caveat out that Brizzle Rovers were awful. Their recent record certainly is, although they did beat Northampton 6-0. And Franchise too, so they deserve a big kiss for that alone.

A little bit more on them later. But how many times have we played a side that’s full of whale wank and become a cropper?

There was always that potential for yesterday to be that banana skin, especially given our record down there. Obviously, records are made to be broken, and at least that little monkey is off our back.

This all said though, a result like this does manage to raise as many questions as answers. Like this one – does this make our game at Oldham the most important for some while?

By that, I mean what happens if our newly discovered attacking verve falters at Boundary Park. We’re not going to win every game, lest we forget we only drew against Peterborough.

It would be really nice if we could have a third game in a row where we’ve had a go from the off. In fact, I’ll go a step further and suggest that we need to win up in the North West using this same approach.

Because if we don’t, no doubt it will be decreed that the positive, attacking tactics doesn’t work, and we must go back to the dour, negative bilge that has ruined many a weekend this year.

Repeat what we’ve done yesterday, against Posh (and Rotherham and Gills and Blackburn too) and it becomes much harder to justify reverting back to type. Not impossible, but it would smack of ideology more than ever before if things get changed back.

And that’s what we’re all fearing deep down, isn’t it? Be honest, reading, hearing and watching that we’ve played well, created chances and winning away from home is pleasing. But there’s that nagging deep down sense that it’s still a false dawn.

We’re basically how we were after Blackburn right now, looking to make that next step up that has eluded us for so long. We all know what the next game was…

Are we still feeling the remnants of Plymouth? It definitely changed a few people over to the dark side, so to speak, and things may have changed for good on that score. Even the last couple of games has just produced a lot of “yeah, but we’ve been here before” reaction.

That’s going to take more than two decent results to even remotely shift, and the first bad performance/loss will set things back again.

Mind you, there’s definitely been something in the water recently. The post-game huddle wasn’t at the Memorial Stadium, and one suspects it’s a show of defiance at those who go to home games.

The term “them and us” has been bandied about recently, not just after this game, and I don’t think it’s entirely accidental either.

It can be one of the oldest mind-tricks in the book. There’s a decent documentary about the 1980 USA Ice Hockey Team on Youtube, and there’s a bit where the coach uses his personality to focus his team onto hating him to get them motivated.

That feels a bit like the case right now. While I think NA’s recent complaints about the budget are the stupidest tactic of all (simply because it can be countered in so many ways, all of which makes it look even more like bullshit), he seems to know a lot of people won’t miss him when he eventually departs, and doesn’t care if they like him or not.

Perhaps that infamous Sun article after the Charlton game still resonates even now? Think about it – that was a national newspaper holding up a mirror and telling everyone “this is you, Mr Ardley. This is what you are really like”, and I don’t doubt it stung like fuck.

AFCW is an insular organisation (and let’s not pretend otherwise on that score – why else do so many people seem to want ex-Wimbledon people involved in everything?), and it doesn’t really like “outsiders” having a look at what it does.

Especially when it’s not 100% positive.

So you can imagine that something not inaccurate and quite powerful from an external party had the same effect that being publicly scolded has. A few egos have clearly got dented, a few arses have been slapped, and not before time too…

Actually, AFCW could do worse than do a case study on yesterday’s defeated foes. Brizzle Rovers are a prime example of what happens when a club with potential fail to fulfill it, and with an inability/refusal to keep refreshing it and moving on.

The Gas could be us in about a decade if we’re not careful. No, I don’t mean their stadium project falling flat (hopefully not an omen…), but what happens when you get into a rut and never get out of it.

Because of it, they went out of the Football League for a season, had the momentum to get back into it (and into L1 too) and suddenly they’re hitting a brick wall again. Their reboot as a club didn’t last too long.

I found this from their boss before the game interesting, because I’ve heard the odd one or two comments along those lines relating to AFCW recently. And some of what Clarke said could have easily come out of NA’s mouth in recent weeks.

I am surprised he didn’t mention budget, but it’s never a sign of a healthy club when managers start making those sort of observations.

Our situation is slightly different, though we do still have a non-league mentality in places that needs to be smashed apart. When people complain about the results, or style of play, or infrastructure of AFCW, they’re simply wanting the club to improve.

Anyone who says “I’m happy to have a club”, or moans about people “wanting instant success”, should be forced to put on a Bristol Rovers shirt and see what their attitude eventually leads to.

Oh, and before anyone says it -no, I’m not related to their previous owners…