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Nice and Easy

A sentence that simply does not exist in the world of AFC Wimbledon.

I’m sure the neutrals would have loved Sandown Park 4 Cheltenham 3 throughout the whole 90+ minutes.

On behalf of all AFCW fans, I would like the neutrals to kindly fuck off.

If I was to sum up this game in one paragraph, it would be thus : this was what we could be, and unfortunately what we are at the same time.

Granted, going a goal down after about two minutes was setting the scene for the day, but to our credit it awoke us.

Even if there were too many instances where we couldn’t control the ball. Trying a bit too hard, perhaps?

But it paid off eventually, with the famous non-gobber Assal finishing well.

When OP put us 2-1 up, you can’t say it wasn’t deserved. Nor was us going further ahead after the break.

Indeed, we looked like we were – wait for it – enjoying ourselves. Especially at 4-1 and cruising.

I nearly wrote that it was starting to click. Hell, even the substitutions finishers coming on didn’t seem to concern me.

After all, if you can’t comfortably see the game out at 4-1 up, and cruising, when can you?

Stop wincing. We won.

This, of course, is AFC Wimbledon. If we had the opportunity to walk through an open door and collect £100m off a table, we’d end up falling over and hitting our head on the wall.

I can’t have been the only one who had just a little bit of a nervous twinge when it went 4-2. Especially when there was something like twenty minutes remaining.

I used a stoppage in play to go for a piss, and when I returned to my seat, well……

Heneghan and Tzanev can probably laugh about it this evening and on the journey up to Accrington now.

Nobody was laughing when we collectively saw what the score was, and how long there was left.

Those having flashbacks to Curzon by this stage may need to look away now : today was the fifth anniversary of that very lunchtime in suburban Manchester.

Football Gods not entirely forgiving us for that Sunday?

When you’re 4-1 up, you should not be talking about your goalie having to make two (count them) great saves in injury time to keep us ahead.

And be honest – when their header went wide from their last-gasp corner, your heart sunk didn’t it?

Not to mention your stomach and probably your bowels too.

But we’re through, even if the final whistle was one of relief rather than appreciation of what should have been an excellent display.

Which in parts it was. It’s great that both OP and Assal not only scored twice, but decent strikes with it as well.

It shouldn’t be forgotten that we deserved to be 4-1 ahead at the stage we were. Maybe we lost a little bit of concentration afterwards, but it wasn’t an incorrect scoreline.

Had it become 5-1 then I don’t think Cheltenham could have complained, put it that way.

The good thing is, we can score goals. The bad thing is, so can the opposition. We’ve still got a soft underbelly, and it showed up again.

And I don’t want to mention it, but our opponents on Tuesday won 5-1 today…

Plus points: We won. Through to the 3rd round. Assal and Palmer. Minutes 3 to 66.

Minus points: Almost throwing it away. Heneghan’s OG. Minutes 1-2 and 67-96.

The referee’s a…: Did he do much wrong? Let the game flow and wasn’t exactly card-happy. Perhaps he was as gobsmacked at the game unfolding as the rest of us.

Them: Had they got it to 4-4 their trip back down the A40 right now would be what I imagine taking recreational drugs is like.

As it was, they didn’t know how to handle us at times.

To their credit, once we gave them a way back into the game – and their almost-comeback was down to us – they took it with both arms and probably both legs too.

Wasn’t the infamous Darlogate II game against the Robins as well? I’m half expecting to find out that Kaja was ineligible today now I’ve mentioned that.

Today was an FA Cup game, but it proves that so many teams in L1 are much of a muchness. They were about as good as we were.

Chris Hussey played, and didn’t get a good reception when he was taking the corners down our end. Football fans really do have long memories.

Point to ponder: Are we so hard up that we can’t even afford hat-trick bonuses for Assal and Palmer?

I won’t hyperventilate about our substit… sorry, finishers. Because to be honest, I don’t think putting Kaja and Pressley on almost cost us.

That was down to brainfarts and a lack of concentration at the back.

But at least those two (AA and OP) are finding the net again. And it makes it a bit easier when they do.

Which does beg a question that quite a few fans have asked in recent weeks – what do we do about the backup goalscorer?

Pressley doesn’t seem to be cutting the mustard, and was largely anonymous today. Forss he isn’t.

We’ve seen how our form slumps when Palmer is absent, and we’re going to need to push for another loanee in under a month’s time.

Would you return Pressley to Brentford? Right now, I think that might not be a bad idea as he seems to make little difference in so many games.

I certainly wouldn’t think Mebude will stick around by this time next month, and it’s telling I mention him without anyone remember him playing.

Funds will be the clincher, but somehow, you hope MR and co remind the club there’s some more money about to be put in the kitty…

Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) Chant to “Rocking All Over The World” after the third goal. What are the lyrics? 2) The sharp eyed reader will have noticed I was in the East Stand. Decent view, but it’s where the occasional fans/groups go in. Back to the South Stand next game I’m at. 3) Drove to the game. Suck on that, Extinction Rebellion and the WPRA.

Anything else? Despite all the negatives we can dwell on today – we are in the third round of the FA Cup.

And it’s that time when you can legitimately dream of a decent tie.

We’ve had one already this season, when we travelled to the Emirates, but this tournament is still the romantic one for clubs at our level.

We’ll find out Monday. MR apparently wants Leeds at Plough Lane, although he said the same after we beat Charlton in the Carabao Cup this season.

We won’t get a decent tie, we’ll get Morecambe away, but I think I would quite like us to have a Leeds, or an Everton, or a Burnley at SW17 in the draw.

Even if we don’t, we’ll still get a decent wedge for reaching this far. And I hope that MR is given at least some of the money to strengthen next month.

He deserves a bit of help from the club, even if at times it appears we don’t seem to give him any.

As we saw under Walter with West Ham, the FAC can have an impact beyond the actual match.

One thing is clear though – whoever we draw, we’re going to need to learn how to defend before then…

So, was it worth it? Eventually.

In a nutshell: Still up for the cup.

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