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Look Wot U Don

Football. Such a wonderful pastime.

If you want to know why AFCW are the wrong end of the table, and why League Two is looking an ever more distinct possibility, then Dons 2 Dons 2 is your answer.

And right now, you’re asking yourself the following – now what?

Well, you might be posing different questions to yourself instead, none of them pleasant.

Of course, if you’re making plans to go out and get rat-arsed tonight instead, I wouldn’t blame you.

What we did today was what all teams who get relegated do. They play for a set amount of time, which isn’t ninety minutes.

We were great for an hour, albeit against rubbish opposition. We were 2-0 up, looking for a third, and deservedly ahead too.

This was on 60 minutes. By 65 minutes, we were 2-2.

Teams who stay up don’t do that sort of thing. Teams who stay up don’t crumble like we did in that five minute spell.

Teams who stay up win those sort of games. We needed four points from this week, and we got two.

It could have easily been zero.

I could wax lyrical about the first hour, and how much of a difference having a legitimate bit of experience in Woodyard is.

But it’s not particularly relevant when we let a goal back in and panic like we do.

It’s not the first time that’s happened this season, and it certainly won’t be the last.

Indeed, it took Lee Brown to do a spectacular goal-line clearance to make sure we got the point to begin with.

Although in the interests of fairness, their goalie did likewise in injury time.

The reaction afterwards says it all. It was a weird resignation, almost as though we’re starting to accept our fate.

As said so often recently, we tried hard, and our lack of quality let us down.

And yes, the “i” word comes back into it – inexperience.

The lack of somebody to bang heads together and make us go that extra step up when we need to is biting us on the arse.

The decision to sell Ollie Palmer without an adequate replacement is doing likewise.

He needs a goal, badly, but Cosgrove is already proving the Shrewsbury fans who dismissed our signing right.

I’ll come onto Robbo a bit later, but there’s an all-round sense that we’re fast running out of ideas now.

How do you stop the moments of blind panic, when it’s been the case all season?

How do you remedy a major faultline within the setup? Do we simply have to bite the bullet and accept relegation, to force us to do something?

The upshot of today is, we blew it. We might not get many better chances to remedy that this campaign.

We’ve got to go to Wigan next weekend, then start the run of games that will definitely decide what division we’re in next season.

One thing is clear though – the most important goal scored today may have been Wes Burn of Ipswich…

Plus points: The first 60 minutes. Playing like a team. Return of Woodyard/Rudoni/Assal.

Minus points: We didn’t win. Five minute collapse. Didn’t seem to know what to do afterwards – both on the field and in the dugout.

The referee’s a…: Let the game flow for the most part, including some tackles that maybe shouldn’t have been…

Them: Were hugging and giving each other high fives at the end, because they knew they got out of jail big time.

Completely not in it until they were, and they might have been wondering whether they could have won it today after all.

Decent enough turnout by them, maybe a bit more than we’d take to the Keepmoat in similar circumstances.

Fun fact, by the way, and one for a pub quiz question – Doncaster was the first team we played in a competitive fixture at Plough Lane v2….

Point to ponder: Does Woodyard’s return prove a point about needing more experience throughout the whole setup?

We’ve missed him badly, and it was no co-incidence that for a while, we didn’t look like a team struggling to fight the drop.

The lack of all-round knowledge within the club itself – not just the team – has been a hot topic in recent weeks, and it’s a very valid point.

Would we panic so much, so often, if we had a few more older heads out there?

Imagine Darius Charles circa 2015, or further back Jason Goodliffe in our team today. We’d have won 3-0.

It didn’t help today that Ben Heneghan injured himself this morning, presumably getting out of bed the wrong way.

And while I’m all for producing youngsters to fill the first team – you do need wiser souls in the team.

We’ve found that out the hard way.

Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) I know people like to do virtual signalling solidarity with Ukraine, but us playing in blue and yellow was taking it a bit far. 2) The hot drinks/beer pump outside the Phoenix at half time. Not a bad cuppa, either. All they need now is another one inbetween the south and the east concourses and I’ll almost be happy.

Anything else? A few are calling for Robbo’s head this evening, and with the run of form we’re under, that’s very understandable.

It’s worse than the Peter Withe era in WFC days now. That’s damning.

Our current manager still seems popular at the actual match, though whether that’s the whole get-behind-the-team-when-it-matters is anyone’s guess.

Often, those wanting a manager sacked the rest of the time are the ones who still chant his name during real life games.

Personally, I’m not sure what difference replacing him at this stage of the season would do – especially as we’d probably end up with Simon Bassey returning.

But people are wising up to the whole clusterfuck of a setup, that promised so much yet is delivering so little.

Some things MR has done is affecting us. Making Cosgrove the player he wanted to go for doesn’t suggest he’s quite the good judge of players.

Playing one up front – subbing him for Pressley today is another example – really doesn’t help matters.

Lest we forget, he did likewise last season, and we only went two up top after Fleetwood (where we then wiped the floor with the opposition, and stayed up as a result).

And over-focusing on youngsters at the expense of maybe one or two senior players is backfiring.

As said above, a bit more experience on the field would have helped us today, and a few other games as well.

This is especially true with the youngsters on loan from Premier League sides, where you wonder how they got contracts to begin with.

The trouble is, a lot of it isn’t his fault.

I’m not talking about the lack of funds, I prefer his attitude to Ardley’s seeming 24/7 bleating about the budget.

I’ve felt for a while that the club is too obsessed with the debt, and doesn’t quite understand that in L1, you need to spend a bit more than what we do.

But if he does get axed, the club have pushed him under the bus as much as anyone.

The obvious one here is selling Ollie Palmer, to leave us high and dry for over a week.

Who’s decision was that? Actually, we’ll likely never know, and one suspects that’s deliberate on behalf of AFCW.

The “transfer committee” seems to be a way not of finding and recommending players, but to deflect blame when we’ve signed a duffer instead.

It just stinks of a lack of accountability, and should we go down that’s only going to get worse.

You can find other examples of things going wrong, where nobody owns up to it – the ticket fiasco springs to mind here.

It wasn’t perfect under Erik Samuelson, as he would be the first to admit, but his refusal/inability to delegate things is starting to make more sense now.

Back to Robbo, and if he stays then I hope it’s for the right reason – and not because it’s a sentimental, emotional decision.

He is getting brickbats, and he may not be the right person to take us forward after all. If that happens, so be it.

But a struggling team on the field often reveals some big faultlines off it. And we’re starting to trip over them…

So, was it worth it? Piss off.

In a nutshell: That sinking feeling.

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