Excitement. Scintilation. A feast of football. Drive. Skill. Passion. Wonderment. A rerun of the 2022 World Cup Final in Qatar.
Eight things you can’t say about Mid Table Mediocrity 0 Mid Table Mediocrity 0.
I think the best way of describing this is likening it to one of those odd fixtures you get towards the end of the season.
Where nothing much happens, and would continue to be so long after the final whistle blows.
After the week we’ve had though, a point on the road is a very good one. Especially at a venue that still causes many to have PTSD from last season.
We’ll come onto our transfers a bit later, but I’ve just reminded myself of something I wrote on here on Xmas Eve:
We’re playing well enough for the run of games not to be problematic, though I expect we’ll lose two or three quickly once we suffer a League defeat.
After the Sutton debacle on NYD, we could easily have lost yesterday and maybe start to wobble a bit.
As it was, they hit the post and, er, I can’t remember much else from the game. Apart from it pissing down in the latter stages.
And Davison losing his alice band in the first half, making him look like he pays bass in Iron Maiden.
And a second half free kick from Chislett that was so bad it was the highlight of the day.
Oh, and a song for Hussain Biler to the tune of Teenage Kicks that went on for the first half. Which I have criminally forgotten the lyrics to.
Do I need to write any more?
Unfortunately I get the feeling I do, so I’ll just add this : Zach Robinson came on late and didn’t do a lot.
He’s been ill and injured recently, apparently, and yesterday wasn’t a game where anyone could show their quality.
But with the clamour for him to return – one wonders if League Two might be more of a step up from the Scottish Championship than first thought…
Plus points: We didn’t lose. Clean sheet. Would have lost this earlier in the season.
Minus points: Beyond dire.
The referee’s a…: Gave us a free kick or two, which was nice. Also only allowed three minutes of injury time, which was even nicer.
Them: To think this was a League One fixture a mere season ago.
About as good as we were, arguably had the better chance (singular) and could have even snatched it at the end with a little bit (OK, a lot) more quality.
They (and us) demonstrate that it’s not always easy for a side relegated from L1 to bounce back the following campaign.
Doncaster aren’t much better than we are, and Gillingham’s collapse is a genuine surprise to those outside Kent.
Crewe being known for its youth takes on a whole different meaning these days (Dario Gradi’s fate only becomes murkier with time), and I noted the ground was not even half full.
Gresty Road The Mornflake Arena is a nice size, although their main stand seems too big for the rest of the stadium.
Crewe is sixteen miles away from Stoke-on-Trent, and it feels a bit like it too. I guess the railway is its saving grace.
If you’re still up there, the last night of Aladdin at the Crewe Lyceum is tonight. It features Louis Spence, and will be a thousand times more entertaining than yesterday.
Point to ponder: Have our transfer dealings this week really been as deflating as some are saying?
We’ll miss Towler, and he’s a strong lesson that a) you can’t get too attached to loans, and b) we really need to wise up with regards the cost of paying for players.
A lesson the club still doesn’t want to learn, apparently.
Pearce on the other hand did a more than decent job yesterday, even if his pace isn’t what it was.
Assuming the £1.50 budget we gave JJ hasn’t been spent already – or cut even further – I wouldn’t be surprised to see another Towler-esque CB join before the end of the window.
Even if it doesn’t happen, we still have enough for it not to be a massive issue this season.
As for up front, we’re actually stronger up front than we were at the beginning of the year.
It didn’t seem like it yesterday, although ZR only came on on for a cameo and Sam Pearson wasn’t fully up to speed.
I was not upset to see Hudlin return to Huddersfield one bit. He seemed wrong from the off, and I’m sure he missed early matches for one reason or another.
Couple that with him barely impressing when he did feature – Sutton seemed to seal his fate – and we lost nothing with him going.
Maghoma going back to Brentford puts me in the same “meh” category as Hudlin, another one who we didn’t need as much as we thought after all.
I guess the sour mood this week has been down to Towler moving to Fratton Park instead, which was a genuine shock.
That coming off the back of Sutton has made it a week even JJ admits he found difficult.
I don’t doubt he’s found it frustrating, and it’s important to remember that while he’ll definitely give 100% to us – we are a stepping stone.
I wonder what would happen if a team like, say, Swindon or even Oxford needed a new manager this season and decided our current one was their man…
Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) I can’t recall a second half dragging that long for a good while 2) Six quid for a programme, although it was a monthly publication. Future of programmes? 3) Getting chips with gravy, and finding out the gravy was cold. At least that chippy was serving – unlike the one by the ground which claimed it was “open on match days”.
Anything else? Not for the first time, I noticed that a growing percentage of our away support match the average age of the squad.
They’re certainly in good voice, have some creative chants (and with a knowledge of 70s/80s music too, impressively), and perhaps most importantly turn out.
I mentioned this first at Swindon away, which you can read yourself, but I think this was one of the first times they’ve been a large(ish) minority at a northern awayday.
Especially as it’s not the easiest journey when there’s no trains.
Your editor has been to a lot more games this season than I expected to, especially away fixtures, and I’ve definitely noticed a growing number of people I don’t recognise.
Sutton on NYD had a fair number of the usual suspects, but equally some who aren’t. And they didn’t seem the usual one-game-a-season brigade too.
Whether that’s a post-Covid thing, where people rediscovered the joys of actually going out into the world, or just natural progression, I’m not sure.
But if it continues, be prepared to start feeling old all of a sudden when going to games…
So, was it worth it? Stop laughing.
In a nutshell: At least it was £15 to get in.
And finally…: Your editor is off Stateside again from about tomorrow until the 19th, so there will be even less updates than usual.
With luck, normal service will be resumed after that, though in the industry I’m in right now – you might well be getting more match reports than ever on my return…