And after last night, good fucking riddance.
I don’t know if it’s fitting this strangest of twelve months ends with Robert Maxwell 3 Ghislaine Maxwell 0.
But I think “strange” is the best way to describe something that I just can’t put my head around this morning.
That it was a complete 180-degree flip from everything the game at t’Stanley was is one thing.
That we’ve not played in 18 days, against a side that was up for it from the off, is another.
But even those caveats doesn’t explain away the sheer wretchedness of last night.
A once-off? You would hope so. Robbo wasn’t impressed, anyway.
When somebody as reliable as Rudoni plays like he’s just been knocking back the Boxing Day Cockburns, you know what kind of evening lies ahead.
For some reason, it felt “off” from the kickoff. Granted, starting slowly isn’t unusual, but this was beyond that.
It didn’t get much better, and when they went a goal ahead it was effectively the game there and then.
The second goal killed us, but that was only a matter of when, not if. Ditto their third.
I suppose we should be thankful there weren’t more, not that we wouldn’t have deserved it if there was.
And it leaves a sour taste to the end of the calendar year.
The good thing is that we won’t play as badly as that again most games from now on. And there will be a lot of them ahead.
We now have a clear run to Boreham Wood in the FAC on Saturday week, and that could kickstart our season if we get it right.
One thing is clear though – we’re going to have to do a lot, lot, lot better when we play the Conference side.
I wasn’t going to do a “proper” SW19 report, and I didn’t make any notes. But I’m not going to be writing another one for a little while, so…
Plus points: The final whistle, so we could all go home.
Minus points: Everything from 19h45 to 21h35.
The referee’s a…: Trevor Kettle was a late replacement, apparently. Which if nothing else led to many cancelling their iFollow orders upon hearing the news.
Them: Up for it, we weren’t, and it painfully showed. It made their manager happy, anyway.
Seriously – what is it about us and the Kassam Stadium? Your editor’s last game watching us there ended 5-0 to them.
Boxing Day 2020 saw us lose 2-0, and I can remember too many other days of horseshit there too.
Then again, it was never much better at the Manor Ground (3-1 on Easter Monday in 1987, anyone?).
It doesn’t help when Oxford are probably the team we’ve faced most of all in the AFCW era. We were shit against them back in the Conference…
Point to ponder: Did last night serve as a reminder we need to do some transfer business?
True, none of our players would have been picked up by a professional club on that showing.
I think even Tooting and Mitcham would have taken a wide berth.
But with the very real likelyhood of two games a week from now until May, we’re going to have to give MR more than £2.50 and a Luncheon Voucher next month.
Some bemoaned us taking off OP last night, but why risk your only striker for a long-lost cause?
Pressley is out, maybe never to return, and as much as Zach Robinson was a bright spot in his cameo – he’s not somebody we should rely on at this stage.
Defence wise needs sorting out big time too, especially down the flanks. Oxford knew the weakness there and exploited it far too often.
We could have used the Accrington and Wycombe games as “proof” that we didn’t need to do anything, but last night was a harsh reality check.
I’m not saying we should spend what we have on any old crap – been there, done that – but it’s quite an important time for the club’s immediate on-field future.
Get it right next month, and we can make that proper step upwards next season. Get it wrong…
Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) “How shit must you be? We’ve had a shot” – our fans after we had our first effort on target. No further comment necessary. 2) 780 of us. All of whom deserved much more than we offered.
Anything else? At least I can cheer myself up by indulging in my new favourite hobby – railing against out-of-town stadia.
In the two decades the Kassam has been standing, it’s always been the case study of how not to do an OOT ground.
Isn’t the idea of one down to ease of access? I bet those who went last night are still sarcastically laughing.
Hell, it’s quicker to walk from Plough Lane to SW19 Towers than it is to get out of their car park.
As hinted at in the last update, your editor did a write-up about passing Beddington Lane before Xmas.
I won’t bother publishing it now, but to give you the jist – if we went there, it would have been our own version of the Kassam or Sixfields.
And I’m so glad that it never happened after all.
I’ll always feel like the stars aligned for us to return back to Plough Lane, and we had massive amounts of luck to get us there.
Needing a new ground urgently, and the dog track becoming available right at that very moment proves that.
That and having people old enough to be at the original PL but being young enough to have enough political influence helped too.
Last night at the Kassam could have been us at Beddington Lane if history had slightly altered its path.
And I don’t just mean us losing 3-0 to Oxford…
So, was it worth it? No
In a nutshell: Roll on 2022.