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Deja vu. Again.

AKA welcome to 2021/22. It’s been missed.

Yes, it finished as a point, and we’re still unbeaten in the League. But right now, Dons 2 Dons 2 feels like a loss.

And not one of those we-were-shit losses that you have to take on the chin. A proper hurtful loss that ruins the rest of your evening.

For the second time this year, we go 2-0 up at home to Doncaster and we end up with it being a draw.

Couple that with the Carabao Cup against Gillingham this week, and it’s been a pretty awful one for our defence.

Back in February, this very fixture was the first real indication the Mark Robinson era was in trouble.

Only a windowlicker wearing Franchise shirts and Wankie tattoos could say the same about JJ.

But our current manager is facing his first proper test as AFCW manager. Namely – how to stop this thing becoming a habit.

He’s frustrated, by the way. Which is reassuring to know.

Mind you, it was an odd day all round, no doubt helped (or hindered) by the heat. Also, no Hudlin either.

We did the usual passing around at the back, although given the weather that might not have been the worst thing in the world.

They attacked us a bit more than we attacked then, it has to be said, although Davison did force their keeper into a save.

Apart from that, I can’t really remember too much of the first half. Which is probably just as well…

It does seem like our players got a bit of a half-time bollocking, because we were far more attack minded after the break.

Even so, you had to wonder if it was one of those days, because Davison finally found the net, ran off to celebrate, and the referee decided that it was handball.

I do think Manbun (as he’s already been nicknamed) will eventually find the net and have it allowed. He gets in there, got a few goalscoring positions and just needs that bit of luck.

Then again, I said the same about Aaron Pressley last season as well.

Thankfully, our loans this time round are a fair bit better. I’m sure there’s a joke to be made about having players called Paris and NYC.

And the latter finally put us ahead, even if a) Davison’s effort looked to have crossed the line, and b) he put in his own rebound.

The scoreboard briefly said it was 2-0 before it was corrected to just the one goal. A subliminal message to the officials?

Of course, we needed an actual second. And a delightful cross was met with an even more delightful flick…

When you’re 2-0 up with four minutes left, you should see the game out.

To be honest, I don’t know whether it was fatigue (we’re quite mean with our subs), the heat, or a weakness we need to stamp on PDQ.

But when Donny pulled one back – which was a decent effort to be fair – you secretly feared the worse.

And when they kept getting corners, and they got that one bit of fortune, well…

Actually, we could almost count ourselves lucky we didn’t lose it right at the end, or this weekend would have been a seriously foul one.

A draw might have been the fairest of results, but it didn’t feel like that while walking to the bus stop.

So, what? We’ve been taught a lesson today, and one we’d need to heed pretty damn quick.

We’ve got Mansfield then Crawley by this time next week, and in all likelyhood we’ll lose at least one of them.

Unless you’re genuinely expecting automatic promotion this season** today is part of the learning curve and not much more than that.

** – I think we could get in the playoffs this season, although we’ll need to score more and concede less, but automatic promotion is probably a bit too far this campaign.

Though it doesn’t stop some on the various club boards thinking otherwise.

But I don’t appreciate being thrust back into last season again. It was bad enough living it the first time round…

Plus points: We didn’t lose. Still unbeaten. Great cameo and goals from NYC. Assal. Finding the net again.

Minus points: We didn’t win. Blowing a 2-0 lead late on. Lack of concentration at the worst time.

The referee’s a…: I thought he was going to disallow NYC’s first goal, which would have been the thing that annoyed me the least today.

Fell for Donny’s tactics early on, seemed to be on their side for a lot of the game, and was probably not paying attention when we scored twice.

He also missed their player lying flat on the floor at full time. Perhaps that’s just as well.

Them: To their immense credit, when they went 2-0 down the first thing they did was attack us.

Maybe we were properly scouted against Gills in the Carabao, as they twigged we were at our most vulnerable then.

Decent turnout by them, considering how shit the trains were amongst other issues, about 400 or so in all.

Though I hope those who left when it went 2-0 weren’t allowed back in…

Point to ponder: With the news that McCormick is still wanting out (in not so many words), and given today’s game – should we just cut our losses on him?

That’s not the same as saying we should let him go for peanuts, but the rumour mill strongly suggests he was sent home for disrupting training.

When a player does that – especially if he’s reportedly one of the highest earners at the club – what the point of keeping him on longer than needed?

At the very least, the wages saved could help us pick up another player in, say, defence.

I know some fans are saying that he’s got two years left with us, and as such we should keep him just to remind him who’s boss.

But if he wants away, he doesn’t sound like somebody who will knuckle down and force a move the right way.

Rudoni might have blotted his copybook at the end with us, but he did earn his move to a higher club.

McCormick hasn’t.

We’ve got another two weeks to sort out where to send him, and he’s really somebody I doubt we’ll miss.

Would he have improved our lot today? Probably not. And as said on here before – he didn’t exactly help us stay in L1…

Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) Three drinks breaks in the first half, and the sprinklers coming on. 2) The AFCW womens team doing a meet-the-squad thing. When I walked past, it looked a bit more like a speed dating evening. 3) Strong smell of cannabis in block 129 of the south stand. Might have been the referee though.

Anything else? While Wimbledon v Doncaster was a League One fixture last year, I wonder if this was the first time we’ll have experienced a “proper” L2 game at PL?

The crowd, while decent, was under 7000 – perhaps for the first time in the League since we returned back home.

But putting the balance sheet aside, that might not matter quite so much this season.

I expect we’ll get a lot of similar gates to today throughout 22/23. It might slip below 6000 if Salford are at PL in the evening and we’re on a losing run.

But start winning one or two, and you’ll see more turning up again. Twas ever thus, especially at this club.

Obviously, you can’t avoid the cost of living aspect of things right now, although going to PL might save on your electricity bill that day.

But for now, people are remaining loyal and willing to put their money where their mouth is.

The actual Plough Lane experience seemed a bit better today, as though it’s more lived in.

I did notice there’s more room now behind the south stand, which makes it a bit less crowded at half time.

Having the food stands further back helps (though I wasn’t alone in saying how pricey they are – especially the ice cream van), and we might slowly be getting it right.

Hell, we’ve even got more tables and seats available now.

It’s nowhere near perfect, and you can always find somebody who had an issue at any game.

But like so much of the club, it might slowly be turning a corner…

So, was it worth it? Hmph.

In a nutshell: Here we go again.

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