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Act of Cod

Hmm. Yes. Well.

If truth be told, I’m not sure what to make of Strepsils 2 Fisherman’s Friend 2.

A point gained? Two dropped? Time to be content or worried? None of that? All of it?

I’m writing this on Saturday evening, but if I left it until the following Sunday I’d still be none the wiser.

The first half was, well, as cold as the weather. I don’t know why, but we just didn’t seem to get going.

We rode our luck with the disallowed goal, but failed to wake up with that warning shot.

You can relive their first goal again, if you’re feeling too happy in life and want a downer. But you can’t say it wasn’t coming.

That we went in at half time only one goal down is a good thing, I suppose. It ensured our players got a bollocking, or whatever MR does at half time.

It’s a running joke that we concede so easily after the restart, so we can be thankful that has been remedied (for now, anyway).

Indeed, we equalised, and we deserved to. And thankfully Assal hadn’t been caught spitting at the Crewe game after all.

He’s been on a decline recently, so maybe he’s wised up and realise what he could lose, if he’s not careful.

And then we went 2-1 up. With a good move. And with ten minutes of normal time remaining, visions of pleasant evenings this week ahead.

Yep, they equalised. Like their first one, it was coming.

Oddly enough, and this might have been down to my brain freezing over by this stage, I can’t remember too many clear-cut chances afterwards for either side.

I assume we were after the win, but all I remember was our play becoming sloppy at the worst possible time.

Which is why, when the final whistle went, I wasn’t exactly upset. Mind you, it was a pretty muted reaction, almost as though the life collectively drained out of us.

So, what? Well, if you told me before Pompey last week that our record by now would be W1 D1 L1 I wouldn’t have been overly upset.

Many will think it should have ended up being W1 D2 L0, while others will even think it should have been W3 D0 L0.

Optimism is a dangerous thing.

But really, the main thing is to ensure you don’t lose games. And to be fair, that’s what we’ve done in the last two fixtures.

I just wish we’d shown a bit more to get them….

Plus points: We didn’t lose. Assal’s finish. Coming back.

Minus points: We didn’t win. First half. Letting it slip again at 2-1.

The referee’s a…: Disallowed their goal, so gets a massive big tick for that alone.

Them: To be honest, they look like they’re in a bit of a false position, and if I was to say one team would win it at the end, it would be them.

Then again, we know ourselves what a new manager bounce does, so there were undoubtedly a lot of them playing to impress their new gaffer.

Clearly they were disciples of the Wycombe Book of Gamesmanship, finding themselves on the floor just a bit too often.

I think even the referee was getting a bit fed up with them towards the end. Perhaps that’s why he added ten minutes of injury time?

Shame we weren’t good enough to punish them right at the death. That would have been deliciously spiteful.

Not many of their away fans, less than 150 from memory, and that’s a warning to the club about what it will really be like for most games in League Two…

Point to ponder: Anyone else think this whole “Finishers” stuff is a waste of time?

The last game I attended, and wrote an SW19 report on, I mentioned it in passing in negative terms.

Today, I’m more convinced than ever that it just doesn’t seem to make much difference.

I know football is a business where you take every little advantage you can, be it fair means or foul.

But Pressley and Chislett came on as, er, finishers and managed to do as much as they did when they were just called substitutes.

I don’t blame those two per se, they didn’t come on for nearly long enough to get into the game.

And whether you think they should have replaced Palmer and McCormick is personal opinion.

But as somebody pointed out elsewhere, it was as though the changes were made at a set time, disregarding anything that was actually going on in the contest.

It’s telling that plenty this evening are mentioning that OP should have stayed on.

Whether he needs wrapping in cotton wool, we’ll never find out. But why keep him on for almost 90 minutes if he does?

At least give Pressley a chance to show us if he can actually do something with, say, 20 minutes left.

I’m sure our Finishers Coach means well, but it only seems worthwhile if it improves what teams have been doing since they introduced subs to begin with.

Are we much better on that side of things? If you’re being honest, you have to say we’re not.

To put it another way – if one was to pick up the team sheet against Cheltenham next week, and see it’s reverted back to “Substitutes”, most wouldn’t be upset.

Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) “You always burn in the summer” – us to their redheaded player. That’s quite hurtful to us Factor 50 types. 2) Speaking of wanton discrimination, the “Wave your banners for diversity” thing beforehand was as flat as the rest of the game. 3) Cold. Sodding cold. And it didn’t get better during the game.

Anything else? My first EFL trip to Plough Lane since the Oxford game, and a few thoughts now we’re settled in.

I think people are doing own routines, including pre-match watering holes now. Because while there was around 7400 there it wasn’t as full thirty minutes beforehand.

It feels a bit better organised nowadays from what I remember, with more signs up and pre-entry searches.

Getting in is still haphazard, especially if your card/printed ticket has upset the scanner. Thankfully, my ST still works despite being used as much as our sub goalie.

It’s good that you can now get a hot drink outside the South Stand, after the impassioned (?) plea on this place yesterday.

Shame the stall gave up the ghost not once, but twice while queuing for half time.

Indeed, the whole catering aspect seems only a little better, still plenty of queues suggesting they’re not getting served quick enough.

We’ve gone cashless, but maybe we shouldn’t? Especially when the card scanner throws a wobbly.

I expect it will improve incrementally, we’re still flying blind in some regards. Though anecdotally the quality of the food isn’t exactly high.

One thing that does need sorting out though are the buses after the game. Or more specifically, the 493.

The club has been made aware of issues after the Crewe game with it outside the stadium, and again today the driver chose not to let anyone on at the Wimbledon Stadium stop towards Wimbledon.

They could have fitted most people standing there on – it wasn’t that crowded.

While it doesn’t matter quite so much on a Saturday (unless you have connections to make etc), it’s still poor that you can’t rely on it if you stand there.

Yes, we’re dealing with TfL, but is it beyond them to put more buses on at the peak time?

Or indeed, having special buses parked outside ready to fill up and go after the game?

I’m pretty sure that as part of the whole planning application, we had to make a contribution to TfL to ensure that the system could cope with us being there.

Perhaps we should ask them for our money back…

So, was it worth it? Probably not.

In a nutshell: I hate the taste of fish.

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