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Welsh rarebit

Nearly extra toasted as well…

Well, we’re now into September and we’re still unbeaten in the League, which most of us would have been very happy with.

And I suppose we’re all entitled to feel disappointed with Somerton Park 2 Plough Lane 2.

Make no mistake, this should have been a victory, and I think it’s a little bit of a reality check as to how good we really are.

At the same time though, it wasn’t a loss. And to be fair, we did have more of a go again when they equalised.

I didn’t write anything about the Chelski game, as other things took priority, although those there at Ponti Stamfordi will know how special that evening was.

We’ve played at the Emirates as well in recent years, yet this week in SW6 felt a lot, lot better…

With this in mind, I wonder if the effort put into Wednesday was a big factor?

Yes, I know Newport played Brentford the evening before, but never underestimate just how much an extra 24 hours can do for recovery.

Even when we were 2-0 up we never looked that comfortable – they hit the bar, could have had a penalty, and our second was pretty much on the break.

Before I go on, I managed to miss the first ten minutes. Being stuck at Leigh Delamere for an unspecified issue, then likewise again on the M4 and in Newport itself didn’t help matters.

Add to that the usual car park I used being closed, the alternative one having a massive queue to get in, and managing to get lost walking out of the one I did find could have made it an utter shit show of a day.

You can imagine what my mood would have been if we’d lost.

But we didn’t, although I reckon we would have won had we not let a goal in right before half time.

That was a weird one to concede. We seemed to either think the ball had gone out, or Bass felt he’d been fouled, yet we shouldn’t have been surprised at letting one in.

As for their second goal…

Bass has been quite good since he’s arrived, though he’s been pretty poor this week. His cockup for Chelski’s second was bad luck, but yesterday in south Wales he should take some of the blame.

JJ bought him in to compete with Tzanev, and the Bulgarian Kiwi has a chance to impress in the Mario Pizza thing on Tuesday.

I can’t be arsed to go to that one, I have to admit. I wouldn’t blame the players if they felt likewise.

I read our current manager’s comments this morning, and I can’t really find much to pick holes in.

It’s good to read that AAH seems to have cramp rather than anything more, and I wonder if his current lousyness is as much to do with not having a proper pre-season.

Apparently he deactivated his Twitter account recently, so no idea what went on there. Maybe he’s a bit more sensitive to criticism than he should be?

As for JJ, he does seem astute enough to know the difference between a poor performance and a fatigued one. Even if one or two of our fans don’t…

Plus points: We didn’t lose. James Tilley. Responding well after the Lord Mayor’s Show. Morgan Williams.

Minus points: We didn’t win. Letting a 2-0 lead slip. Their goals. Disjointed towards end.

The referee’s a…: Mostly did well, although he had an odd habit of putting his whistle in his lips to blow then not doing so.

A trait I first noticed when it looked like he was going to give a penalty for them. And not something I like to see officials do in that situation when it’s against us.

Them: A better side than perhaps some of our supporters give credit for, though like us I expect they’ll finish mid-table.

Had a lot more energy, as they should have when they come back from 2-0 down. That said, I’m not convinced they were any more likely to add a third as we were.

It was nice for once to be given the stand behind the goal, as it was for it not to actually piss down for once.

Their fans seem OK enough, I guess the local knuckledraggers head towards Cardiff for their literal kicks at games.

I think I always say this whenever we play Casnewydd – if there’s one club in the whole of the EFL who we should most identify with, it’s Newport.

Their history post-League ejection mirrors us in a way, albeit it took them a lot longer.

Indeed, this on their website a couple of days ago seem to acknowledge this. Perhaps a helluva lot more than we do…

Point to ponder: Can we safely say we’ve had a decent transfer window?

We got twelve players in total, including Charlie Lakin and Connor Evans before the deadline.

Both midfielders, both loanees and both probably likely to feature against St Evenage.

We could have had a fourth striker, and maybe Evans is going to be that player? I said he was in the middle of the park but it appears he can play in quite a few places.

Despite yesterday’s brain farts, our new back line has been pretty solid for the most part.

When you sign about twelve players, some will take more convincing than others. While we rightly laud Tilley, I’m not so taken with Bugiel or Neufville right now.

They may or may not come good, but McLean and Ball have also made good contributions in their cameos so far.

We also did well moving some of the players out we did, which has definitely helped matters.

While I’m sure we wouldn’t have been upset to see Tzanev and Lee Brown moved on, the latter hasn’t been too bad for the first few games.

And to be fair to him, the Bulgarian Kiwi did keep us in the Coventry Carabao game, which led us to Stamford Bridge.

It’s not the perfect team by any means, and I fully expect we’ll finish around 10-15th rather than 1-5th.

But it says something when the 2022/23 players don’t look as good as the ones we got in after May 2023…

Song Sung Blue: A rare category here, simply because our away support (403, which wasn’t too shabby) came up with a couple of gooduns.

Unusually for this part of the world, there was this giant warm object in the sky that allowed us to wear t-shirts.

So, “What’s it like to see the sun?” and “It’s gonna rain in a minute” got an airing.

Their #9 was a certain Omar Bogle, which led to “You’re just a shit Omar Buglel” and “You’ve got the second best Omar on the pitch”.

We’ll conveniently leave out the fact he scored Newport’s equaliser.

As for us on the home fans, we noticed they were a bit quiet. Hence, “You’re from south Wales, we thought you could sing”.

Finally, just what are the words to the James Tilley/Blondie song? It’s that everyone only joins in with the “Na na na” bit…

Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) I don’t know why, but it always amuses me the “Welcome To England” sign on the M4 is also in Welsh. 2) There was a gathering of those often shunned by society celebrating being accepted for who they are by other like minded souls. There was also a gay pride festival.

Anything else? While we’re bound to suffer a League defeat at some point, I think the fear factor has gone from us.

By that, I mean the stomach churning trepidation we’ve had when you’re going into games.

It was this month last year that we went to Valley Parade, and I posted the following on the SW19 writeup:

I don’t like going to games with a feeling of impending doom, especially when it’s been de rigueur these past few seasons.

I kind of regret writing about how things seemed to change after that day, given what the season eventually turned into.

But as somebody from WHAD put it a couple of weeks ago, I’m now looking forward to attending fixtures. That’s a good feeling to have.

Yesterday, we could have won and perhaps should have done. That’s different from knowing we got lucky.

For the past few seasons (and let’s be honest here, it’s been more than the last two campaigns) there’s almost been a sub-conscious guilt trip about not losing some games.

Letting a two-goal lead slip at Newport is annoying, but it hasn’t brought out the hysteria like it has done in recent times.

The players themselves have that air of confidence about them that just hasn’t been around for a good while.

If I’m being realistic I don’t think we have enough to challenge for the playoffs once the season fully kicks into life.

We suffer with strikers, yesterday saw what happens when you have somebody badly off form (AAH), yet to find find the net (Bugiel) and somebody who runs around a lot (Manbun).

Even when we lose a couple of games though, you sense we can dig ourselves out of it before it gets too deep again.

Maybe this will turn into a good season after all? It would be a nice change…

So, was it worth it? Perhaps.

In a nutshell: And we’re still unbeaten.

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