I’ll be honest. I actually thought we’d lose today. Yes, I had that slight feeling I had before Hendon and H&R beforehand. Which is why I suppose I ought to be content at Elstree 0 Shepperton 0. Thing is, I am and I’m not.
I’m not content because this was a must-win game that we didn’t win. Quite simply, we weren’t good enough on the day. Too many passes frustrating didn’t go where they wanted, too many moves broken down, too many offsides against us, too many panicky high balls, too slow to clear out of defence, and if we kept playing up until full time of a 3pm kickoff, we still wouldn’t have scored. This was basically the last thing we needed and the first thing we got.
On the other hand, it’s a point. If you’re discounting automatic promotion now, it’s one more point towards the playoffs which is effectively where we need to be at the end of this season. And it’s not just us throwing it away. OK, Ricky won which sucks a bit. But who would have predicted Margate only drawing at Slough? Lest we forget about H&R who got a bit stuffed yesterday.
If we get in the playoffs, we need to win two games. Or to be more precise, we need to win two cup finals. Whether you finish a strong second or scrape in fifth, that’s what you need to do. There’s no real bye you can get, although securing home advantage is definitely an, er, advantage. And getting teams down to KM will certainly work in our favour, especially for an evening game.
At the end of the day, we haven’t gone backwards from when we woke up this morning. It’s just that we should have gone a little bit further forward…
So, enough analysis out of the way. Why the fuck did we revert to the AFCW of Horsham away, Hendon away, Ramsgutter away etc etc? Why did we look completely unrecognisable from the Slough game of last week, or the Leyton before that? Or certainly the Bromley or Chelmsford or Tonbridge away games?
The reason why I had a premotion about today was because we’ve seen it all before. I suppose last year we would have lost this game. This year we drew it, just like we drew Horsham and Worthing. Next year if we’re in this division? Would be nice to think that, certainly.
The problem is that we’re a Jeckyl/Hyde team. When we’re good, we’re very good and all that. The same as every other team in the top half of this division. If you’re a neutral, you’ll be gushing at how tight this league is and sigh lovingly at how this will go down to the wire. If you’re a team actually in this dogfight, it’s absolutely fucking frustrating. In many ways, we blew it today. We really could have put the shits up the rest of the division, but instead we fell into the same trap as everyone else. I’ve always said that at least one team will bottle it. I just hope it ain’t us.
Am I being unfair? Probably. In the grand scheme of things, we probably weren’t going to win five games on the trot. And this game was bound to be the most trickiest of the lot. It’s away, against a team apparently one of the form sides, and us coming back off a confidence-boosting 9-0 victory. A recipe for disaster, basically.
What is now more must-win is Monday. It couldn’t have come at a better time or venue, and will hopefully get the anxiety we saw today out of our system. If it doesn’t, we won’t win any playoffs as it’ll show we’ve been bitten by the bottle beast (and try saying that after a few). This next month will certainly make or break the Anderson era.
The game? If I must….
Plus points: Everything in the third paragraph above.
Minus points: Everything in the second paragraph above
The referee’s a……: God, he liked to blow a bit didn’t he?
Them: To be fair, they were well organised and we couldn’t cope. Still probably play about 30% above what they normally do. I don’t recall the ground looking as reasonable as it did in 2002, although the Arsenil ladies play there so maybe that explains it. Burgers didn’t go down too well either (literally).
Sour note (1)- group of BW fans were allegedly done for racist abuse towards one of our fans (I believe they’ve had their names taken etc). One of said group was also nicked for – wait for it – “exposing himself”. I presume it was against women and children, though my bet is that he was waving it towards our male support hoping for a bit of business.
Sour note (2) – the pricing. £9 to get in, where you got a free programme (unless you were unlucky in which case they didn’t). Usual price there – £8. Kids cost £6 – no idea if that’s their normal price, but plenty pissed off at that. Reportedly the press pack had to pay £11 to get in, despite there being press passes organised beforehand. Trust me, that’s how not to get good publicity. We charge kids about £3 and are top of the attendance league. Chelmsford did KFAQ yesterday and got an impressive 2k. BW are the third lowest attended side. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.
Point to ponder: Do you think playing at 12.30pm had a lot to do with today? It seemed a very odd time to start, and if truth be told most early kickoff games are pretty shit. Seriously – can you name a daytime game that didn’t kick off at the usual 3pm or 4pm which was any good?
Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) BW players with rather wayward shots in warm up before the game. They kept thumping it past their right hand post. Sounds unusual until you find out that the kid standing there was wearing a WHU shirt. (2) One well known bookie on the nearby High Street were offering odds on our game. Hope they didn’t lose too much money… (3) Was it me or did the first half really drag on?
Anything else? Yes, but not on the game. For about the first time in god knows how long, I actually took the train (not the tube) to a game. In ye olden days, I did it a fair bit but since we became non-league I simply haven’t bothered. Anyway, that’s not the point. What did strike me was how far and wide our support live. While plenty got on/off at Wimbledon, Haydons Road, Streatham etc, quite a few got off at Kentish Town, some at Herne Hill etc etc. Couple from Woking as well. I wonder if our fans are the most transient around? And what’s the betting we get a chant someday of “Do you come from Wimbledon?”..
So, was it worth it? Not really worth an Easter weekend for.
In a nutshell: Two points gone….