I think I’m still in shock after beating our bogey side.
I have to admit that before Nestle 1 Rowntree 0, I had one of those feelings you get every so often before a game. A good one, too. True, there are always some fans who believe we’ll win every single game (and worse, some of them are fully grown adults), but this was an unusually cocksure vibe.
Forget the previous three games against them, and the fact we’re due a loss at home. When we came out of the blocks for once, and not doing our usual dopey mode, those pre-match feelings were justified. Hell, when the home crowd bothered to make a vocal effort for once, it was always going to be one of those days.
And even Crawley’s late show couldn’t have ruined it.
Beating York was a bit more than the three points, it was a psychological hurdle that had been well and truly vaulted over. It may not make up for the utterly shit times we’ve had the last couple of seasons up there – rain, postponements, nine goals against and James Pullen telling us all to fuck off – but at least we don’t have to put up with an Axewound-esque complex any more.
OK, it might have been a slight deflection for the goal, which suggests a bit of luck was involved. Mind you, DK should have scored himself, and we had another one cleared off the line. But this wasn’t a fluke result. We worked bloody hard to get this result, and it’s clear that no midweeks proved that difference again. I hate using the term “workrate”, because it epitomises the bonehead side of English football culture, but yesterday we showed that in abundance.
Having Stuart and BJ in the back line helped, but this was the first time I can remember us being up to the physical side of things. We didn’t get it 100% spot on, and you’ll see where in due course, but it’s a side I can’t remember seeing since at least THAT game at the Beaverdome.
This was the sort of contest that, when we got promoted just under two years ago, we expected every week in the division. You know, tough scraps against big bastard sides who had a bit more nous to them. Think of the Ryman Premier with a bit more skill and self respect. While it’s been a (pleasant) surprise that it hasn’t been, there’s always been this doubt about us when we do get such a tie.
Title winning form? Maybe, maybe not, though Crawley’s ability to win yesterday will mean they’ll finish top. We are certainly good for the playoffs now, and unlike this time last season we’re not showing signs of a major collapse. Fleetwood doing over Luton yesterday may be as important to us as our own three points…
Plus points: We won. Against York. Clean sheet. Back line (most of the time). Bit of atmosphere from our end for once. Ability to hold on to a single goal lead.
Minus points: Attack still not fully firing. Crawley winning.
The referee’s a…: People seem to fall in one of two camps with him – he was either an official who let the game flow or he was somebody who gave York decisions every time we got a 50/50 or breathed on one of their players. Will leave you to guess what SW19′s viewpoint is…
Them: Even when we were losing 4-1 and 5-0 to them up at Kitkat Bootham Crescent, you always had in the back of your mind the feeling that if we had a bit of form/energy coming into the game, we wouldn’t keep disgracing ourselves against them. They weren’t significantly different from the game a couple of weeks ago, but this time we came prepared.
They are effectively an old fashioned Northern lower-league team that has failed to move with the times, and another very good example of how much the game has changed at this level in the past decade. Decent away support, yes, but like Middlesbrough they apparently have a decently sized London branch.
While people like Luton and Oxford (and yes, ourselves, though for non-footballing reasons) shouldn’t be in this division, York do seem to have found their natural home in non-league. You just can’t help thinking that should we find ourselves in a division higher than them soon, it will stay like that for a long while to come…
Point to ponder: Didn’t Jolley and Luke Moore look painfully lightweight yesterday? Especially Jolley, who looked like he would have been blown over had a York defender farted on him. And people wonder why we signed Kirk Hudson on loan.
I suppose it proves the earlier point that this style of physical game has been surprisingly – and refreshingly – absent from this division in the two seasons we’ve been in it. Yes, it’s still a crap standard of football, despite what the Conference’s cheerleaders (like the BBC Non League Show) will have you believe, but as stated elsewhere recently, it seems to agree with us right now.
We do urgently need that new striker to give DK a rest, or at least some help. He’s clearly frustrated right now as he’s not only having to do his own job, but captain the side, defend, go out wide, work free kicks, tidy the dressing room, paint the radiators, ensure delivery of hot dog buns and act as club chaplain as well. Fortunately, there do seem to be moves afoot to get that loanee striker in. And in other news, Nathan Elder is back training with Shrewsbury…
Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) Apparently, the bars at half time are showing…… rugby. I say “apparently” because I don’t go in them, but it does seem to piss off people trying to find out half time scores. I know that half our support act like they’re at Twickenham, but not for the first time it seems that AFCW forgets it’s a football club. (2) Singing that Depeche Mode song, a la Celtic. Seems to work as well, with those slightly tweaked lyrics – just proves that the most successful chants are the ones that don’t try to be too clever. Champagne Song excepted.
Anything else? Not really. Apart from the fact that the Steve Evans cartoon in WUP really wasn’t very funny. Hey look – he’s fat and Crawley have loads of money. Bwahahahahahahahahahaha. If you really need to mock Crawley, at least mention that of the 9000 going up to Old Trafford next week, 8500 won’t know where Broadfield is. Apparently, their fans call us “plastics”, which is a bit like when Walton and Hersham fans lectured us about how loyal they were, all of them wearing Chelski shirts…
So, was it worth it? Yes. We made AFCW era history yesterday, and I don’t mean we went for the whole game without somebody near me slagging off our players.
In a nutshell: Top of the hill…