So near and yet so sodding far, eh? And I’m not talking about the way my camera on my phone is now buggering me around…
Alas, Don’t Bring Me Down 1 Mr Blue Sky 3 will look on the scorecard like a comfortable win for Coventry, which it was anything but. We were up for it, and this was probably one of the best performances I’ve seen us put in for a good while.
Even NA afterwards said as much, although we were thwarted by the proverbial tale of two goalkeepers. I bet their keeper won’t have a game like that for a while, certainly.
Alas, Seb Brown returned for AFCW last night. And he reminded us exactly why he hadn’t played in a year.
I haven’t got around to watching his fuckup on the TV highlights again, but most who have are saying that it managed to look even worse on the replay than it did in real time.
And this is what really hurts about last night. We were ahead, and looking good for it as well. And given the way things were panning out then Coventry would have either had to fight bloody hard or get an extra-ordinary slice of luck to get anything.
Hurts to read that, doesn’t it?
I’ll come onto Seb later. If you’re a friend or family member of his, I suggest you skip reading it. For the rest of us though, I couldn’t fault too much of last night. We battled, we fought, we strung some nice stuff together.
We clearly wanted to win this, and it showed. And this was the type of performance we can put in. But will we in future games? It’s now for NA to pick us up, get them playing like that for more games than not, and aim for the playoff positions.
Far fetched? Perhaps, but then I’d rather focus on that than another relegation scrap.
For once I don’t need to explain the game as most of you would have seen it. Shame that we will just be focusing on one man’s actions….
Plus points: Gave a good account of ourselves. Midfield as good as it has been for a good while. Smith getting the goal he deserved.
Minus points: We still lost. Seb Brown. Stuffing knocked out of us. Harsh scoreline in the end.
The referee’s a…: Honestly didn’t notice him, which is always a good sign.
Them: Coventry proved why they’re doing well in League One – even when they were playing poorly, they had enough about them to take that one little (OK, large) gift handed to them, then kill the game off.
Whether they would have been as ripe for the taking at a replay we’ll never get to find out, and one suspects the best chance of beating them was last night.
Decent turnout by them, although one should never trust a club that comes out to ELO As for their, ahem, ground issues, there’s been much made of the similarities between them in 2013 and us in 1991.
We’ve obviously been through the worst of what groundsharing can do, and they’ll have to be careful that they don’t remain away from Coventry for too long – the momentum will slow, it will start to drift for them, and being at Sixfields will start looking “normal”.
Christ, remember how a few people ended up saying that WFC should remain at Selhurst forever?
The difference is that the Ricoh is still there, in mothballs. All the while that’s the case, and it doesn’t become like the Darlington Arena, the possibility of returning home for them is very high. In our case, we had a meglomaniac Lebanese camel fucker…
Point to ponder: Whither Seb Brown? There is no other way to put it – he personally cost us the game yesterday and it’s now very hard for him to come back from this.
It will be a shame, because of Eastlands and the fact he’s a fan, but this was his big comeback moment and he let it slip through his fingers. Literally. When he fumbled it, you could just sense the mood around KM plummet.
He wouldn’t have got a sniff yesterday if it wasn’t for Worner getting stuck on the A3. And I don’t blame our regular #1 for not turning up until full time – if that accident was where I think it was, if you’re caught up in that kind of thing after the Esher turnoff you might as well sleep in your car that evening.
But the thinking behind putting Sully snr and Sully jnr in front of him last season, and the signing(s) of Worner and Bayes this close season was proven to be the right thing.
And it gets worse for Seb – yes, he’s only 23 which is still young for a keeper, but Worner is a year older and looks a lot more assured even at this stage. And if our regular keeper is that more advanced then so are many other 23/24 year old keepers currently playing.
It’s a case of when Seb makes a mistake, not if – something that has been the case post-Eastlands. And that’s fatal for his AFCW career, what now remains of it, and perhaps his FL career for now as well.
NA pretty much hinted at that last night, and while he obviously wasn’t going to kick him while he was down – his actions with him over the last year says it all.
Seb is obviously a smart lad. He’s got qualifications, and you have to think that he would be wise enough to drop down a level or two, possibly play part-time if he gets a decent enough job, and rebuild his career again.
Did he have too much, too young with Eastlands? He wouldn’t have been the only one dining out on it, and it did annoy your editor a bit last night when people were posting links to his celebrations at that game and saying “how quickly we forget”.
Strange, I’m sure I heard similar justification for keeping TB in his dying days as our boss. That day in Manchester was well over two years ago, and I think only both Moores are the only outfield players from that day still here. So much has changed since then, mostly for the better, and Seb has gone backwards since then.
He went on loan to Woking and by all accounts didn’t set the place alight (and apparently the Woking manager didn’t even want him to begin with). And there hasn’t been much in development/Senior Cup games that makes you think he’s going to bounce back.
Before the game, the bar was playing the ESPN coverage of the York game from last season, and while I didn’t hang around long enough to see Seb’s howler back then (which ultimately cost him his place), if you’ve been away for a year without being injured, then you come back and make a similar mistake…?
I didn’t hear it, but apparently David James on BT Sport said that he took his eye off the ball for the goal, which even for an amateur keeper is a fatal flaw. One could blame the coaching (or apparently lack thereof) from Paul Priddy last season, or other factors, but right now you can’t say Seb is a professional goalkeeper.
It will be a shame when the inevitable happens, especially to a guy who gave us so much joy in the NW in May 2011, but that was then and this is now. And being a Dons fan himself, he’ll surely know what happened to Simon Tracey when he did similar against Arsenal…
Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) A couple of weeks ago, we played Oxford. We played Coventry last night, and next Saturday we host Portsmouth. Is this 2013 or 1987? (2) Seeing Terry Gibson and Bobby Gould. Both as you expected them to be. Also seeing a very focused Ian Darke looking at his notes before the game. Decided it wouldn’t have been a good time to ask him about the call he made for Landon Donovan’s goal in 2010. (3) Apparently, there are around 20 replicas of the FAC in circulation, which sounds a lot. Three or four, perhaps, but have the FA ever put one of the replicas up at Wembley instead of the real one? I wouldn’t put it past them…
Anything else? Apparently, there were some people in the Noodle stand ejected for persistent standing last night. I’m not sure of the ins and outs of what went on, but it won’t be the only instance in the country when that happens this weekend.
You’re always going to be fighting a losing battle with ground regulations, especially those set by local councils, and alleged persistent standing in a seated area is always going to get you in trouble.
Especially at KM, where there is genuinely enough terrace space if you do want to stand. True, the YGT is probably the crappiest in the entire Football League, but it is there. And while it causes more issues in all-seater stadia, in our case that doesn’t apply.
It’s a shame that something like this crops up every so often, because considering the wildly different footballing cultures we seem to have settled down to professional football again. Last night was perhaps the first time we’ve had a genuinely big game in the AFCW era without pinching ourselves over playing it, and ironically we put our best performance against a “big” club in for a good long while.
There is still the odd instance of us needing to re-adjust and re-educate ourselves, and occasional bits of remaining non-league mentality doesn’t always mean how the club itself operates…
So, was it worth it? Only if Seb Brown ran over your cat once and you enjoy seeing him suffer.
In a nutshell: If only…