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Bunch of Punts

Because we hoofed the ball a lot. And Cambridge has boats. And it’s a hilarious (?) play on words.

I wonder if they’ll let me into their local university with the cleverness of that quip? On second thoughts, I’m nowhere near posh enough to even clean their toilets.

You have to admit though, it’s better than Cambridge Footlights 1 Carlton Theatre Group 0 was.

I’m sure this morning, the local dons will be asking the same question as me about our own Dons.

Which is – now what?

We’ve now won one game in eight (can’t be arsed to check), conceded a poor goal just after kickoff (ditto), and it’s now all going to shit.

And one has to wonder if the transfer chickens are coming home to roost.

Granted, there is one bright spot that we saw, and more on that later, but there was a horrible sense of seeing us revert to the PSFs.

Some pretty passing without doing much, and just a lack of anything else.

And that’s not including the same old problem of being caught cold after the break.

That now happens too much to just be one of those things, because it isn’t. It’s clearly a major weak spot that doesn’t look close to being addressed.

Other teams will have sussed that out now, so they know all they need to do is go at us immediately and chances are we crumble.

When it happened yesterday, I looked around at people near me, and they just collectively shrugged their shoulders.

After that, as usual we were chasing the game. Though it doesn’t help when you have a header that hits the post and another one that is aimed straight in the keeper’s arms.

The bright spot mentioned earlier? Ollie Palmer returning, and we really need him back now.

It’s no coincidence that we looked a bit better (only a bit, mind you) when he came on, and we’ll need to keep him wrapped in cotton wool for a bit.

That’s why I hope Cheltenham on the 13th November gets called off, because I’d fancy our chances better if and when we get more reinforcements.

Stop laughing.

Defeats like these do lead to deep internal debates. Like – is our (over)reliance on yoof backfiring on us?

Have we miscalculated what we need to not only stay in L1 but not to constantly look over our shoulder?

If we have, and I suspect this is true, it wouldn’t be the first time.

And did we make a mistake in re-signing Darius Charles after all? I doubt he came cheap, and if we’re going to sign a old pro, at least have one who won’t break down after ten minutes.

I suppose us facing Guiseley next week in the FA Cup is a welcome relief from the League, although if they also twig how weak we are after the break…

Plus points: Ollie Palmer returning.

Minus points: Same old, same old. All-round ineffectiveness. Resigning ourselves to yet another relegation scrap after all.

The referee’s a…: Well, their number 3 took a dig at McCormick whilst on the floor in front of us, and only branded a yellow. So there’s that.

Them: Not much better than us, which is why yesterday is sticking in the throat more than other recent defeats.

The difference is they had the experience to do the occasional dark arts, against our product line of YTS lads.

It shouldn’t be forgotten they could have gone 2-0 up soon after they scored, and they also missed a header early on in the game.

The Abbey is an interesting stadium – the away end is about half a mile away from the touchline, but is also the newest stand there.

Shame they never got into the top flight under John Beck though. Our games with them would have been a purist’s delight.

Cambridge themselves are one of those sort of inoffensive clubs with an inoffensive fanbase.

They out-middle class us, it has to be said, though I’m not sure if they get a lot of support from the local student population.

That said, while waiting at the bus stop afterwards, I was inbetween two sets of home families. Both had American accents…

Point to ponder: Should Mark Robinson start looking over his shoulder?

OK, that’s a bit of a nonsense. He’s certainly not helped with the club constantly giving him peanuts when it matters.

But with that one-win-in-eight stat hanging around like a bad smell right now, he’s not infallible himself.

I’m mentioning this because I’m having a few moments of deja vu about his post-game interview yesterday.

We seem to have these “heart to heart” talks a fair bit too often, and not just under MR either.

Is he getting through to the players as much as he should? Remember that man-management is supposed to be one of his strengths.

Is his transfer committee really working that well? Even now, it should be looking for some short-term, non-contract players just to tide us over.

Whether we get or them or not isn’t so relevant, although it would be a morale booster if we could.

Is he/are we confusing innovation for gimmicks? I thought this yesterday before the game when I looked on the Twatter team announcement.

Spotted something?

I’m sure the substitutes Finishers Coach is one of those things that if you’re going well might have a use.

But when you’re in the rut we’re in right now, it does feel more a job creation thing than an actual marginal gain.

I think this next two months will be the hardest of MR’s tenure with us, simply because it’s *his* threadbare squad that he has to pick up again.

Granted, it’s not all his doing, there’s a genuine sense some decision makers are too interested in being a moral crusade.

Nor do I think his position should be under threat. He actually has a plan and a long term vision, which hasn’t always been the case.

But nobody is irreplacable. Or at least, nobody should be.

Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) 922 of us there yesterday. A decent turnout however you look at it. 2) Guy in Spongebob Squarepants costume, and two individuals in horse heads. It was that kind of day. 3) The red shirt is quality. Unlike some of the play from those wearing it on the pitch.

Anything else? If you’re a regular attendee of games, you probably won’t have thought of this one bit.

But your editor’s ears pricked up when he heard “Show Me The Way To Plough Lane” being sung.

It’s a perfectly legitimate chant to belt out, and it’s been a staple in the last three decades.

The question is – do we still need to sing it now?

I’m certainly not one to want songs banned – the occasional attempt by po-faced Guardian readers to nix the Champagne Song makes me cringe – but I just question its relevancy.

It’s not like the only PL related chant we do anyway, and I wonder if we just do it out of habit these days.

Or is it sung simply because of the events since 1991?

This place should be one of the last to tell people to ignore history**, and it never hurts to keep reminding people of that.

** – my issue has always been the attempts to try and relive old times, including getting ex-WFC people in. The past is the past for a reason.

For this first year back, I can understand the reminders, but we shouldn’t be tired and wanting to go home any more.

Nor are we roaming around Selhurst Park. Even if it is still a fucking dump…

So, was it worth it? Piss off.

In a nutshell: That sinking feeling again.

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