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Hello 2019/20…

… thanks for the kick in the bollocks so soon.

While there’s never such a thing as a good defeat, there are always different types of them. There are the ones that are depressing, where you’ve played shit throughout, and didn’t deserve anything.

There’s the tightly fought ones, where the game could go either way, and being on the wrong end of them constitutes a moral victory to make you feel better.

And then there’s the annoying defeats, the ones that somehow manage to fell worse than playing shite simply because there was just one error or two that didn’t need to be made.

The last one of those is how I feel about Lehman Brothers 1 Chuckle Brothers 2.

Don’t get me wrong here – the first half was awful. It was negative, uninspiring, confirming to the worse fears of many a Womble in pre-season, and just made you think that we have a very long nine months ahead.

Them going ahead wasn’t really a surprise, and it was only a minor bit of cheer when we finally realised we could go into their final third two minutes before the break.

Seriously, the first 45 were awful. We couldn’t keep the ball to save our lives, and it was only a bit of brilliance by Tzanev that kept it down.

You know that sense of dread you had under the previous regime? That.

Which is why the second half was as surprising as it was welcomed. And which is why the swift left boot to the gonads hurts a bit more right now.

Suddenly, we were brighter. Actually looking like a team playing without the weight on our shoulders. Even, yes, having a shot at the goal.


Which is why it wasn’t a surprise when Piggy headed hopefully his first of many (for us) this season. We were pressurising them, it paid off, and we deserved it.

And we did make them look ordinary, to the point where somebody near me said “they play exactly like us”.

The trouble is, when you’re on top you have to make it count. Folivi in particular was guilty too much of trying to walk it into the net, rather than booting the small white sphere object into the big fishermen’s net on the painted frame thingy.

And so it proved. Rotherham started getting on top, and with five minutes left we discovered we have a weakness in defending set pieces.

It seemed to knock the stuffing out of us a bit, and we looked suddenly less energetic. To be fair, we did give it a go again, but sometimes you just push your luck…

So, what? Well, the first half was genuinely worrying, though that might have been down to the goalie situation (more on that later).

That said, if our biggest problems turn out to be needing to tighten up at the back for set pieces, starting off a lot quicker than we did today, and just taking advantage of when we’re on top a bit more – we’ll be fine this season.

Losing today will sting, and I expect (not hope) that when we go into training on Monday we’ll be putting that to rights. And there’s possibly a big decision to made already – again, more on that to come.

Walter’s post-match comments were more or less what you expect, and if he has a dog I expect he’ll be (metaphorically) booting it around the living room this evening.

Under him, we’re looking more and more like the WFC era. Even down to losing the first game of the season…

Plus points: We showed some fight. NGW. LO’N. Reilly. Piggy’s goal. Rattled Rotherham for a lot of the second half.

Minus points: We lost. First half. Set piece defending. Lack of quality showed at times. Nightingale not a midfielder.

The referee’s a…: Either the rule changes this season means advantage can’t be played as much as it used to, or he got a new whistle over the summer and just wanted to keep testing it.

Them: Tipped by many to return to the Championship this season, and at times in the first half it showed. I can’t be arsed to check, but I can well believe their first goalscorer cost £0.5m.

Then again, apparently they’ve still got a lot of the squad from last season, so like Barnsley it’s going to show.

Yet as is so common with sides in L1, when you have a go at them you can make them look quite ordinary. When we were on top, there was certainly not much difference between us, which makes their win even more throbbing in the dangly bits this evening.

Good turnout from south Yorkshire. My right ear is currently up the spout (is it true that it’s now £70 to get your ear syringed?) so I couldn’t hear how loud they were.

Like Millwall, Rotherham are one of those sort of sides that are a bit too strong for L1 but never good enough for the Championship. Not a bad outfit for us to emulate, including their ground…

Point to ponder: What is it about AFCW keepers?

Tzanev played because Trott got injured, and which also explains why McDonnell came in at short notice again.

At least it puts paid to the rumour that our usual shotstopper had a hissy fit and stormed off.

I mentioned we had a big decision, and it’s this – if Trott’s groin is going to be an issue beyond a week or so (Walter’s comments about him returning to WHU so they can look further suggests it might be the case) then we might have to bite the bullet.

Our usual goalie missed the England u21 tournament this summer with the very same injury ruling him out today.

Is Tzanev good enough? Many have praised him after the game, and his block in the first half was truly impressive. But he flapped a couple of times, once with nobody around him (thankfully) and I think the negative approach in the first half was partly down to us protecting him.

We don’t need to make a proper decision on the goalkeeping situation until just after Wycombe – if indeed Trott will be out longer – but our #1 today needs to cut the butterfingers out PDQ.

If he does, and gains in confidence, then all well and good. But he won’t have much time, because if he doesn’t our hand may be forced in such an important position.

And yes – there’s something akin to Spinal Tap drummers with our shotstoppers. Hell, we even had three in one game at Tonbridge…

Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) FansBet have a presence now, with adverts and sponsoring the MOTM. I see their customer service reviews haven’t improved, so be warned. 2) Appiah running more quickly than the last time I saw him. Then again, even your editor moved quicker.

Anything else? It comes to something when the club has to tweet on its official account about staff shortages.

I know AFCW gets a lot of brickbats over its ability to communicate, both to the supporters and by the sounds of it within the organisation itself. But for something like this, they don’t help themselves.

Illness is one thing (assuming it is illness and not people bunking off), although there should be a contingency plan – hell, even put some of the Academy kids on the pumps, assuming they’re 18 or over – but there’s no excuse over holidays.

Bar staff is one of those jobs where there’s enough who will do it at short notice, and all it needs is a bit of advanced planning.

And I refuse to accept that we didn’t know the first game of the season at home would be busy, if not a sellout.

Granted, the KM bars are, like the rest of the venue, inadequate for potentially 4700 people but today I saw people giving up on the queues and going elsewhere.

It wasn’t just the bars – the tea hut inbetween the Chemflow and the RyPiss was shut, and they couldn’t even have somebody serving just hot/cold drinks and the odd Mars bar?

The bottom line of this is that there’s something wrong somewhere with our ability to plan an important part of the matchday experience, because it’s happened before.

That doesn’t bode well when we move into our new gaff, hopefully (though not likely) this time next year. By that time, you won’t be able to sweep such issues under the carpet any longer.

People are being asked to crowdfund the new place, and some are parting with a great deal of money. They’re doing their bit, so perhaps AFCW could respond in kind…

So, was it worth it? Meh.

In a nutshell: I don’t like sore testicles.