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Wheel falling off

Look – we lost, and the only motivation for a headline I’ve got is a wheelbarrow one…

I suppose after Nuclear Free Zone 0 Nuclear Submarines 1, we’ve learned a fair bit more about ourselves.

It was one of those strange affairs where one goal was likely to be enough. And unfortunately, they got it.

The question about what happens this season when we go behind (sort-of) got answered.

And to be honest – it feels like we’re lacking a little something.

Whether it was quality, luck, a bit more nous or something else entirely I don’t know. But we didn’t show it today.

We’ve got until Wednesday to add a little bit extra, if we so desired, though I doubt if we’ll bother until January.

Not much ran our way today though. When Assal’s goal was disallowed, then failing to find the net from about two yards out, we’ve had days like that before.

Of course, it didn’t help playing twelve men most of the time…

Their goal was too easy, in truth, and it seemed to knock us back a bit. It definitely forced us to reconsider the passing around the back fetish we have right now.

We still kept doing it, mind you. Which led to some very audible groans.

At least we also tried something different. Pell came on to great applause, ditto Assal. Osew came on too, but I missed that

I think our new(?) signing needs to have a little bit more match fitness, and to get used to our players a bit though.

Still, he seemed keen. And you couldn’t fail to notice him, so he might be a rarity and be a returning player who does well.

Assal tries hard as usual, even if he holds onto the ball too much. Can’t say I’m particularly riveted by Osew’s return though.

As somebody said afterwards though, we could still be playing and still be behind.

I would say it’s more one-step-forward-one-step-back, rather than two steps in reverse. We tried, and it wasn’t like we repeated last week’s second half at Crawley.

But it did feel like we’ve got a good way to go still.

It wasn’t nearly as bad as Mansfield became, but it’s still disappointing to lose in such a fashion.

Not least because with a bit more to us – we would have drawn at least today.

Oh, and what the fuck happened with Maghoma at the end? I was on my way back to the 156, and it was only when I got on I heard he got sent off.

This is the second time at a recent home game that something has happened after the final whistle, and it brings a new meaning to the term playing for the full ninety minutes.

Will we miss him? Only one way to find out, but unlike Gunter I doubt if his red card will be overturned.

I’m sure you’re chomping at the bit to read more. So, here goes…

Plus points: Still in the game at 95 minutes.

Minus points: We lost. Poor goal to let in. Felt we never forced them back enough.

The referee’s a…: The continued shiteness of L2 referees goes on, as Barrow were fouled every time they came into contact with a fly.

It’s not particularly amusing to write, but he did manage to miss a legitimate foul on their player. Even our players seemed to stop and await the whistle.

Them: Reassuring to know that just like our previous time in League Two, we still struggle against tough Northern sides.

Compact, quick, and hit the net at the right time. Everything we weren’t, basically.

Whether they’ll stay up the top end, or whether gravity will hit them like it often does unfancied teams, remains to be seen.

I suppose it showed the difference between a side currently in the top two and a side merely in the top half.

They’ve suddenly become good this season, after almost going out of the EFL in two successive seasons.

I think because of that, I’ve got a little bit of a soft spot for them, a bit like I’ve got one for Newport too.

Imagine seeing your side go out of the Football League in 1972, spend all that time in the backwaters, and then finally return to the EFL.

Then Covid hitting, your fans can’t get to see them play, and they almost miss out totally on seeing them as a League club for the first time in 47 years or so.

Christ, imagine it was us

Point to ponder: Are we going to have to get used to us being a mid-table side this season?

Fortunately, there’s plenty of crappy teams like Crawley about, and equally luckily there aren’t so many Barrow/Mansfield outfits.

We’re in that strange much-of-a-muchness group that can win comfortably one week, then put on a shitfest like today.

Some say we’re lower-mid table (about 16th or so), though I think we’re a bit better than that.

Now, this might be part of the rebuilding process, and for 22/23 at least it’s not the worst position to be in.

The first thing we needed to do was to stop the haemorrhaging, and to be fair that’s what JJ and co has done.

The trouble is that the club might think we should be playoffs at a bare minimum.

Which again, is fine to wish for, but it relies on us being more of the finished article than we currently are.

Yes, I know I’m writing this in August, and as somebody pointed out today – we could be nineth by the time we head to Blundell Park and yet still end up in L1 next season.

In truth, we’re not going to find out who we really are until about February. And maybe not even then.

We may well be mid-table mediocrity after all. Which after the last few seasons might be seen as progression…

Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) Fash turning up, and got a very good reception. I wonder what his motives are? 2) 7048. Not a bad turnout at all. 3) A fair amount of Chelski in Wimbledon town centre beforehand. Think we’ll struggle to oust them as the most popular club in SW19 for a good while.

Anything else? Your editor noticed the tile shop next to Lidl/opposite Greyhound Parade is starting to come down.

Which sounds like something is coming – not a McDonald’s, apparently, but a Starbucks.

Assuming it’s the case, the club is going to have to start being very careful about how it prices things.

Sure, some will dial up the ethics stuff to eleven, stating that fans should support the independent outlets in the ground rather than the multi-national conglomerate.

But many supporters think ethics is how Chris Eubank pronounces where Southend is.

McDonald’s or Starbucks, there’s another place to get food and drink opposite the ground in future.

There isn’t a chippy nearby, to my knowledge, and that Artemis kebab shop has been shut for a good while.

AFCW needs to remember that fans have a choice now, and they shouldn’t be expected to automatically spend their dosh in-house.

One wonders if there’s some backlash already to cost of pints within Plough Lane?

While we got over 7000 today (a commendable effort, especially giving freebies to local residents), the queues today for beer seemed a little lighter than usual.

Some will always want to drink in the ground, but how much cheaper would a few pre/post-game ales in Wetherspoons be, if you’re prepared to wait for a bus?

If they can do that for drink, they can also do that for food.

Wallets are getting tighter, people are going to be much more discerning, and ripping people off never works in the long run.

Especially when there’s something quick, clean and reasonable value across the road in future…

So, was it worth it? Hmpf.

In a nutshell: Watch us now beat Stockport and Orient.

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