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One More Point

And then we can put all this bollocks behind us.

I would be very surprised if there is an AFCW fan who hasn’t been harmed after last night.

Physically or mentally, it doesn’t matter. Everyone reading this has been affected in some way from the Rochdale game.

St George’s Hospital was about to reclassify its Coronavirus ward at about 2130 last night for our lot.

The Keith Ward, it got renamed as.

They might need to keep it open until after the Lincoln game, but whatever happens – this isn’t healthy.

To be honest, it’s taken me well over two hours to write this, and I’m still not sure how to process last night.

It manages to feel like a massive loss and a massive win at the same time.

All that matters really is that we got a point that should- I repeat, should – keep us up.

We’re not safe yet, but had we been looking at a loss this morning, the mood wouldn’t be a good one.

Simply put, we nearly blew it big time last night.

That we’re sitting here just needing one more point from two games is a good thing, and I would have accepted the draw beforehand.

But at this time, we should be looking forward to L1 life next season. We’re not.

Before I wrote this, I watched the highlights on the Sky Sports website, and I have to say – it was like Glyn Hodges was back in charge of our defence.

Actually, it was like GH had returned and bought every player a few pints beforehand.

To go 1-0 down in a game of this type is understandable, if irritating. To go 2-0 down is losing your nerve.

Full credit to everyone involved for pulling it back to 2-2 though. I don’t know whether we finally woke up and realised what we were doing, but if nothing else we’ve got some fight in us.

Which makes them going 3-2 ahead criminally negligent.

All that work for nothing. When that happened, I did wonder how sour the reaction would be afterwards.

Indeed, at various times last night I was questioning our bottle. While it wasn’t actually a must-win game, it was certainly a must-not-lose one.

Of course, it doesn’t help when you start pushing things, and then get a penalty which is subsequently saved.

Be honest, you thought that was that. Both for the game and possibly the season too.

There is much to criticise from last night, but the quality of our finishing isn’t one of them. And of course, there was the small matter of the seventh minute of injury time…

I mentioned losing our bottle just now, but we – and Piggy in particular – found it at exactly the right moment.

It was quite a decent strike too, as it goes, but if it came off his penis in a goal-line bundle our reaction would still be the same.

Yet we caused our own (near) downfall last night, and we’re still in danger of going down.

That might be a tad alarmist to say that. We’re six points ahead of both Dale and Northampton.

It’s effectively seven with a +5 and +9 goal difference in our favour. Plus, there’s a two point gap between us and Wigan too.

But our defending may yet prove to be our undoing. And playoff chasing Pompey will slaughter us if we repeat that.

In truth, both Saturday and Lincoln away are winnable, but both could equally put us in trouble.

True, this is League One where most teams are much of a muchness, to some degree.

It may be perverse to say this, but we stand a better chance of beating Portsmouth than we did of winning last night.

We’ve made it more difficult for ourselves though, and we didn’t need to. I think Robbo himself knows that, which is why he was so pissed off after the game.

Hopefully, the players have received an earhole bashing this morning at the training ground, because this season should be over as we speak.

As our Head Coach said to the SLP, Rochdale are more than capable of getting the two wins they absolutely have to get.

A place in L1 is purely in our own hands, and to be blunt – if we go down now it’s 100% our own fault**.

** – well, 95% our own fault. If Rochdale/Northampton got the two wins they need, you’d have to say they would deserve to stay up.

Granted, if you look at the reaction of the Rochdale players after a) saving our penalty, and b) it went 3-3, you know they’re absolutely twatted from our equaliser.

We all know they face Franchise last game of the season, and you can bet both kidneys they’d be more than willing to help them out.

However, they play Doncaster this Saturday, a team who prevented Peterborough from going up last night.

I’m not one of those going all “ooh, I hope Rochdale stay up”. Bollocks to that, because if they do it will likely at our expense.

With luck, their spirit got shattered in the 97th minute last night, and that Donny are in a let-us-finish-the-season-well mood this weekend.

We shouldn’t rely on that though, just because we can’t get over the line ourselves.

I do think that Pompey will be a different game altogether, and one that might be better for us.

Before kickoff yesterday, the anxiety levels were the highest I could remember for a good while.

But they never went away when the game commenced, and that might explain why last night turned out when it did.

I think there was a mixture of nerves, fear and a weird complacency (remember, we did start off well) that bit us on the arse.

Was there an expectancy that we’d ultimately win last night? While I’d rather be confident than not before a game, something about the buildup didn’t feel right.

I can’t quite explain what this “something” was, but I’ve been around football long enough to sense it when it’s there.

The most important thing is that it didn’t damage us, except maybe heath wise.

Rochdale needed the win, and they failed to get it. They failed to close the gap on one of the two teams they can still catch.

They and Northampton are about to run out of games.

We’ve been given a massive kick up the arse, and a well-deserved reminder that this season ain’t over yet.

With luck, the players will know they’ve thrown two chances away this week, and will respond accordingly.

Remember – we only need a draw from our last two games.

We could play with 11 men behind the ball for 90+ minutes on Saturday and be part of the most boring game ever played, and it will do us.

Though I’m sure if we did that, we’d manage to kick it in our own net deep into stoppage time…

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