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Inwards and Upwards

Back to back wins? What is this sorcery?

It’s a shame that spectators are still verboten, because the SW19 scoreline of Plough Lane 3 Ploughed Field 0 would have been too tempting to ignore.

I don’t normally do midweek updates at the best of times – and certainly not on a Thursday – but after beating Ipswich I don’t think could avoid putting it off.

That we’ve won back-to-back games for the first time since, well, whenever is exactly what you want/need at this stage of the season.

That we’ve also scored eight goals in two games is something else entirely.

Your editor is still on a self-imposed ban on watching any of our games, although I may not be able to avoid Swindon on Saturday.

But to go 2-0 up and earn almost universal praise in doing so makes you think we can survive after all.

Like t’Stanley on Saturday, it wasn’t a scabby win either. We won 3-0 because we deserved to win 3-0.

Perhaps just as importantly as getting the victory to begin with was seeing who our goalscorers were.

Assal, Rudoni and Longman are the type of players who we’ll need to chip in if Piggy and Palmer aren’t producing the pork.

And trying saying that previous paragraph without your teeth in.

But suddenly, just when we looked to stay up by winning every game 0-0 – scoring goals aren’t so much of a problem now.

It’s almost like one of those badly-written adventure TV series, where they find the right key/formula/equipment just before they get blown up.

What has changed, on that score (boom fucking tisch)?

True, having Ollie Palmer fit enough to a) start, and b) not blow out of his arse after the first ten minutes helps.

The risk of a major injury to him, or Piggy, or Longman is always there, so we do need to cross fingers and toes for now.

But it’s a general positive approach to games that is helping us.

Robbo reads all manner of AFCW-related internet stuff, apparently (though personally I don’t think that’s a good idea at the best of times).

I doubt he ignored the pre-Accrington brickbats over the style of play we were employing. But I’m not sure if that’s the only reason.

It might be down to something SW19 pondered after we beat t’Stanley, namely whether everyone had a, ahem, period of reflection following the Easter debacle.

Turns out, we did.

We used to have similar under TB and Ardley too, and I don’t think our uptick is coincidence.

Our current Head Coach will be here next season, but a lot of these players won’t be. Or if they are, they’ll find reduced pay cheques each week if we go down.

Maybe that particular penny dropped?

Whatever the reason(s), it’s genuinely enjoyable to read, see and hear that we’re trying to win games rather than try not to lose them.

It won’t work every week, but adopt that approach and we’ll be much better off full stop.

Two wins on the spin, playing in the manner we are, has to build up the collective confidence.

And we’re going to need that when we face Swindon on Saturday evening.

Because this is the sort of game where we can very easily become a cropper. A fellow bottom feeder, and us riding on the crest of a wave.

If it can go badly wrong, it will.

But I’d like to think we can break that particular habit, one that IMO has held the club back for too many seasons.

Deep down, we half-expect to lose (or draw) against Swindon, but perhaps we shouldn’t?

I’m sure that the players themselves are well aware of this, that beating t’Stanley and Ipswich means little if we don’t do likewise on Saturday.

Every game is now the Most Important Game Of The Season (TM), but Saturday is one that is genuinely that.

And yes, you’re more nervous about us reverting to type rather than whether we’re capable of winning.

Things are definitely different though. When we lost to Franchise, the game that saw the end of the GH era, we were mentally shot and relegation was inevitable.

Fast-forward two-and-a-bit months, and we’re almost unrecognisable.

MR does deserve to take a lot of the credit for that, because he has tried to get into the heads of this squad.

And because he’s mostly succeeded so far, we’ve gone from relegation certainties to being almost relegation possibilities.

I say “almost”, because lest we forget – we’re still battling the drop.

Life in the AFCW world has been a lot nicer in the past week, and we’ve put ourselves in a good position at the right time.

But you don’t need me to remind you what a slip in form can still do.

What currently works in our favour is that our run-in isn’t too bad. True, Oxford, Pompey and Lincoln will be tricky, but even they’re not unbeatable.

Your editor has long felt that the Rochdale game will ultimately end up deciding what division we end up in.

But it could equally be decided by one weekend where we win and all the others around us lose.

Things remain too tight down the bottom for my liking, but there’s a renewed sense of optimism around again.

We may yet get relegated, and previously we would have deserved it. But now, I’m not so sure…

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