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Exile on Keble Street

Quick, get the Rolling Stones to play a concert at PL. That could be the title of their live album.

There may be a few thoughts about this game, like where Keble Street is (hint: it’s just off Wimbledon Road if you’re coming from Tooting way).

The main one this morning is trying not to sound like an utter smart arse with Ingerlund 0 Cymru 2.

No, it isn’t going to cost us our playoff spot. In fact, we’re still in them. And one poor game in five isn’t the end of the world.

But with a loss making sure we could easily be eleventh by the time Crawley, Walsall and Newport play their outstanding game(s) says it all.

The noise you have heard since 5pm yesterday was the giddyometer slowing down at a rate of knots.

This may or may not be a bad thing – there’s still seven games left, after all.

As for yesterday, we just didn’t seem to get going at all. We started off OK, but then Newport got one totally out of the blue, which scuppered everything.

The whole thing had a disjointed vibe to it, and I’m struggling to write too much about the first half.

Or the second, come to think of it. They doubled their lead, and that was more or less that.

We tried to get back into it, and poor Josh Kelly hit the bar when he came on then put another effort just wide.

You just know that if and when he does find the net – somebody like Neufville will be standing gormlessly in an offside position.

Ninetowns was shite, by the way. So was Little as it goes, whose shooting was so bad Heathrow were putting out a NOTAM to the aircraft on their final approach.

These things happen, and unless you have a massive chip on your shoulder about certain people at AFCW, you’ll get over it quite quickly.

Not that it won’t stick in the throat, brooding for a whole week about this while we were only allowed to saviour victories over Franchise, Notts County and Gillingham for a couple of days.

Could we have got something, as JJ said afterwards? I’m not sure, to be honest. We might have had a man advantage, but in truth we could be playing this morning and not find the net

This was undeniably a setback, and it might not be the last this campaign. But we’re still up there, and we move on…

Plus points: Still in the playoffs.

Minus points: Everything from 3pm to 5pm. Conceding for the first time this month. Feeling of predictability.

The referee’s a…: He wasn’t the best, put it that way.

Them: If we were Newport, right now we’d be considering it the most perfect of away performances.

Granted, they caught us on an off-day and maybe could have had a third which would have been slightly unfair on us.

Mind you, the way the game went – would you have been surprised if they had?

Nearly 500 of them escaped the rugby and Swansea v Cardiff, although they must have felt they were watching Gareth Edwards when Little took aim in the first half.

I think I say this every time we play Newport, namely the Exiles are the closest team anywhere to what we had to go through post-2002.

I’m sure the old timers can reminisce about previous encounters at Somerton Park. No doubt one or two still have the memories of being punched…

Point to ponder: Can we hope this match was similar to the Portsmouth and Hartlepool games before Wombley?

You can read about those two particular fixtures yourself, and the game in the north east was around this time of year (Good Friday 2016, in case you remotely care).

We lost both, yet neither derailed us from ultimately beating Plymouth in the final. And indeed, I bet many people forgot we slipped up a couple of times back then.

After all, we have it in our collective minds that we wiped our nob over everyone in the run in, but actually we didn’t.

Importantly, we knew we had to bounce back back then straight away, which to be fair we did.

And that’s something we’ll need to learn if we’re still legitimate playoff contenders this season, instead of also-rans.

Going again may be the ultimate footballing cliche, but it’s also how we will extend our season…

Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) Was it really sixteen years ago that this was a Conference South fixture? 2) Home areas officially sold out. Bit like how Franchise officially play in front of crowds around 6000. 3) Little stall by BTH selling Stella at half time. It’ll be Carling by the time we face Salford.

Anything else? I’ve bored enough about how Easter will be the crunch time for playoffs, but I think this might genuinely come down to the last game of the season.

We lost yesterday, but Walsall failed to take advantage. Crawley have three games in hand on us, but their next one is against Stockport.

And they still have to face Mansfield, Wrexham, Colchester (who are fighting for their lives) and Barrow too.

While a victory yesterday would have helped us immensely, and you can’t afford to slip up too much, nobody else is on a superb run of form either.

JJ isn’t wrong when he said in his post-match interview that it’s now a mini-season. I said above that going again is the ultimate football cliche, but one game at a time follows closely behind.

Next week at Crewe will be another difficult test, but even a draw there would be worth something.

While you have to think we need to get results from each home fixture especially, so does everyone else.

Not just games at PL, either. You can well see us needing to get something from Swindon away, to keep in the chase, and getting it in one of those performances you remember for some time.

There’s something mad thinking that a home tie against Walsall may be as important as THAT Fleetwood game, or the 2016 goal-less draw at St Evenage.

But then, still being in the playoff hunt in March suggests it’s been an insane season…

So, was it worth it? Cer i grafu, as they probably say in Wales.

In a nutshell: No more of these performances, please.

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