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Pomp and Circumstance

Have it.

Last minute goals. One of the under-rated parts of football, and perhaps the best way of winning a match**. If they’re in your favour, it makes that weekend even more sweeter. If they’re against you…

We’ve had too much of the latter this season already. Your editor is still bitter about both Ipswich and Coventry this campaign, so to stick it up Pompey so late almost makes up for it.

** – though your editor’s favourite goal is the absolutely most controversial one where it clearly shouldn’t stand but sends everyone else ballistic. Especially against a team you can’t stand.

Do the same against Franchise later this season and we’ll be even.

This is going to be a short update as I’m buggering off to the US this time tomorrow. So I’ll go for the picture-telling-a-thousand-words approach – or rather a video.

I’m sitting here watching it at SW19 Towers and I’m getting goosebumps, so I can’t imagine what it was like for those actually at KM.

Especially for those who probably fucked off to the bar just before the whistle 😉

Seriously, after events this week and the way this season has shat the bed, I think this might have been something more than “just” a last minute winner.

I’ll explain – when Ipswich gubbed us in injury time at Portman Road, I read one of their fans afterwards saying that it was that moment when everything changed.

A tad hyperbolic, maybe, especially considering it was only August. But the Tractor Boys are top, and four wins in the last five suggests he might be right.

For us, it’s three straight league wins (I am not counting the Orient game in the fLeasing.Com thingy), something unimaginable after Brizzle Rovers.

That in itself is an achievement, though it’s even clearer now what the main reason for this change is, but you just have to look at the celebrations of the players in that clip.

You can’t fake a reaction like that.

For them, it’s been a torrid season thus far. Eight losses or so already, issues elsewhere affecting things, and on too many occasions a lack of leadership or guidance.

They might have felt after Rochdale that they nearly blew it. Their mood should have improved after Southend, and this morning they should be wanting to get to Burton for Tuesday already.

We will probably lose at the Pirelli, now we’ve won three straight, but maybe we won’t?

After that, we get a free weekend thanks to Bury’s unique interpretation of running a viable football club. You could say that comes at the wrong time, but I don’t think it will hurt us.

I expect WallyGate II to be finally ended by then, and it’s a shame that he now looks like yesterday’s man. His (probably unlikely) return will do more harm than good, unfortunately.

Anyway, this game might be a turning point, and keeping a clean sheet may be just as important as the winner.

It helps that we’re starting to score a bit freer these days, but we won’t do that every game. So the next best thing is to stop the opposition from scoring.

By the sound of it, we needed Trott to start coming on strong, and that’s what he did. Somebody needs to tell him the little extra money in his bank account next week is something called a “clean sheet bonus”.

He’s had a lot of brickbats this season, some justified and some him committing the crime of not being Aaron Ramsdale. But we need him to start making more matchwinning performances.

Your editor remembers him clenching his fist after the Orient game, after not letting one in, as if to say “Finally”.

Is he the answer long-term? I dunno, and should we need to replace him in January we might be best getting a more experienced keeper on loan.

I’d rather it not come to that though, especially if there’s a team spirit brewing again…

Anyway, it’s the first round of the FA Cup draw tomorrow, and it’s that time when we kid ourselves we’ll get an interesting draw.

We won’t, of course. We will get somebody like Fleetwood (away, obviously), or Peterborough, or Franchise. Which is pretty likely as we’ve faced them only twice in about two months.

But for the sake of argument, let’s imagine we do avoid the warmed balls and get somebody remotely interesting.

Even in L2, there’s Salford and Colchester away as new grounds (not just the AFCW era – new grounds full stop).

But it’s the non-league teams that arouse the cockles. As horrible as last year against Harringey was, it was one of those fixtures only the FAC can give you.

Here’s the list of results. Take your pick.

Chichester? Boston United? Solihull Moors? Chippenham Town? Maldon and Tiptree? All potential 1230 Sunday kickoffs, especially away, and all potential embarrassments on national TV.

Mind you, it gets even more interesting further down. Dulwich Hipster? And some complain our own fanbase is too left-wing.

Carshalton? Most of the crowd would be supporting us at Wrythe Lane, especially if they sell tickets to locals with an SM postcode.

The most interesting one, if you could call it interesting, would be Kingstonian. What a headfuck that will be, especially if it’s a home draw for us.

The thought of shoving them into our away end, or making them sit in the JG Stand (especially as they considered the old KRE End their “home”) would be deliciously ironic.

But then, I lost sympathy for them a long time ago.

Constantly having to clear up the mess they left – sometimes literally – and then getting blamed for it got tiresome, and I bet Chelski would have kicked them out ASAP if they’d tried the same tactic on them.

So it would be quite amusing to play them, and would be even more amusing if we could give them a right stuffing. Sadly, they’ll probably get Franchise and make it a big love-in.

Oh, and one more thing – I note Notts County are in the first round. Draw them, and there will be some supporters with very mixed emotions.

Anyway, back around the 1st November. And nobody dare mention playoffs if we beat Burton…