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Pain in the Assal

The slow march to survival continues.

If Plough Lane finds itself hosting League One football next season, we might look back at the Shrewsbury result this week, and see where one of those vital points came from.

You could have been forgiven on Tuesday if you turned it off when they got a disallowed goal, and just started looking at the L2 table.

But a late equaliser? That wasn’t in the script at all.

A welcome plot twist, it has to be said. And all of a sudden, there’s hope once again.

During the game, when it was getting towards the end and we were still losing, I thought to myself we should be giving the youngsters game time from now on.

It would make sense – we’ll need them next season in L2, so best to get them up to speed with first team football.

Maybe Robbo had a similar idea when he put on Ayoub Assal late on?

Whether our Head Coach actually had a plan, or whether he decided to just change something – anything – and see what happens, we’ll never know.

But cometh the hour, cometh the man. Or 19-year old lad, anyway.

That AA showed more of a poacher’s instinct than practically all of our strikers have in the last couple of years is one thing.

That he gave it the “come on, let’s win this” (non) celebration afterwards is another.

Could we have won it? I don’t know, I didn’t watch it (not paying a tenner for away games), but it would have been great if we had.

The table could be looking a little bit more different as we head towards Blackpool for tomorrow.

The old issues still remain though, as their goal was yet more poor defending (our Restarts Coach wasn’t happy, put it that way).

I don’t see us tightening up at the back this season now, at least enough to grind out 0-0 draws.

Maybe Andy Parslow can get them to only concede once in a game? If he can, he’ll have earned his minimum wage corn.

It’s been the case for most of the season, but we’re now relying on flukey clean sheets and finding our scoring feet again.

It will be tough, perhaps too tough in the end, but there’s still a glimmer of hope.

Back to our youngsters, and AA’s scoring does give Robbo food for thought.

Granted, he was giving our new goalscoring hero the kid gloves treatment after Tuesday.

And no, that isn’t an intended pun either.

But he must be tempted sometimes to give the likes of AA, Zach Robinson and other thumb suckers some cameos.

After all, can they do any worse than some of the more senior pros right now?

I have to admit, If Walker** didn’t play tomorrow and Tzanev took his place instead, I wouldn’t be worried.

** – our Reading loanee proves why in our position, we should loan keepers rather than buy them.

Sure, we miss out on longevity if we get a good one, but I’d rather that than signing a dud that we’re then lumbered with.

ZR is traveling up with the team to Blackpool tomorrow, alongside the lesser spotted Ollie Palmer.

We’ll need both for the run in, and right now I don’t care who scores the goals.

But while the whole “Home Grown and Hungry” thing can be a bit trite – if the yoof make life uncomfortable for the seniors, so be it.

It’s not like those who have been squad regulars this season can have any complaints.

It would be ironic if our L1 survival came about because of the likes of AA, ZR and Rudoni doing what the experienced pros don’t.

True, there’s always the risk of playing them too much, especially in a team that continues to struggle.

To be fair to our Head Coach, I think he’s aware of that.

Whether we’ll see anything more than a few minutes again from Assal or Z Robinson tomorrow remains to be seen.

But there’s still enough games to be played, and tomorrow’s game at Bloomfield Road isn’t even the most important of the next few days.

Mind you, with WFC/AFCW only ever earning one point at Blackpool, perhaps we should play the u18s…

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