Following what has now become our online fanbase’s traditional summertime meltdown about the volume/quality/timing/height/weight/aroma (delete as applicable, so just tick the lot) of our summer signings, it was nice to finally get all of the crap out of the way and actually play some football. Fortunately, the summer furore seemed to have been a little unnecessary and we were able to put out a full team, and even have some left over to sit on the bench.
A beautiful sunny day, a good turnout (601 from us) an ok atmosphere and great company. I alway love the first day of the season – there’s a point, right up to kickoff, and perhaps for ten or fifteen minutes after it, where anything is possible. While you know that there are aways better prepared teams, better financed teams and just better teams, before a ball has been kicked, there’s always the possibility that ‘this could be our season.’ Within ten minutes of the first ball being kicked, the majority of the country have settled back into the familiar realisation that this is absolutely not going to be their season, but up to that point, we can all pretend otherwise.
So what to say about us. At times we looked very strong – the first 20 minutes looked like men against boys, though we actually created little of note. Shrewsbury came into the match more as it went on, but were defending very deeply, which made it difficult for them to create much. They did create more as the match went on, and on another day may have grabbed a goal, but I can see Shrewsbury struggling this season. Once the goal came, and we knew that it would, it was all over, and both the home team and fans knew it.
Our current starting lineup is looking OK. A bit early to say too much more, but I’d say that with a few additions we’d be looking very strong. Personal highlights would be Ed Upson’s set pieces and the consistent threat of Daniel Powell – great goal too. Honourable mentions to George Baldock and Joe Walsh too. Strength in depth is the concern if we’re looking to push at the top end of the table, as we simply don’t have it right now. Hoping that Samir’s injury isn’t too serious.
Nice stadium, friendly stewards, fans who made a bit of an effort for most of the game, cheap grub and drinks, good pub beforehand, good chatting to Shrews – generally a great day out.
It was a beautiful sunny day, we were taking an inexperienced goalkeeper, no substitute keeper and a bench primarily made up from Academy kids. It was fancy dress and I wasn’t dressing up. We’ve already been relegated, we were expecting to lose, possibly heavily, and I was going on a minibus leaving at 9:30 am with a two hour pub stop as the only non-drinker. What could possibly go wrong?
Well to be honest, not much really – we had a great day out. Just short of 500 of us made the trip, which was about double what I was expecting, and we made a fair bit of noise at times. The football was a bit rubbish in the first half, but somehow we managed to go in on level terms. the football was better in the second half, but somehow we managed to end the game behind. That’s been our season really.
We played a dangerous game with fate by packing 75% of the presenters of The MooCamp Radio Show into the same minibus. Had the bus exploded following an attack by a flock of angry wrens, the entire future of the show would have been in the hands of Young Alby, and that just doesn’t bear thinking about. The very thought sends shivers down my spine. Anyway, great pub stop in a village whose name escapes me (but it definitely began with an H) and then on to the ground.
We faced our relegation with generally good humour – lots of self-deprecating chants, which got occasional recognition and applause from some of the nearby Ipswich fans. A fair bit of chanting was targeting one particularly large lad, who gave as good as he got for a while, before leaving in a bit of a huff. The irony of me chanting towards an overweight bloke wasn’t lost on me, and the disapproving looks from Mrs B helped to keep my participation to a minimum.
In what’s become something of a regular feature at aways this season, there were some cross words exchanged between a few of our fans at half-time, with some people getting angry about some other people’s ‘we’re not very good’ type of chants. Usual handbags type of arguments, but it did result in one of our group (who shall remain nameless until I know he’s alright) deciding to leave at half time, not to be seen again. I have no idea whether there’s anything we can do to keep these rows from spilling over into genuine anger, but I hope we can – it does tend to put a bit of a damper on things, and I could do without it.
As soon as I saw the challenge that won us the pen, I thought ‘definite penalty’, though the fact that literally EVERYONE else around me disagreed suggests that I may well be wrong. Revell took the penalty well, and level we were, just before half time. To be level at half time was actually really, really funny, as we really shouldn’t have been in the game at all, but level we were.
Second half we played a little better football, and at times looked like we might still know how to pass the ball around, but it really was in quite short bursts. On a couple of occasions, the ‘we want you to stay’ chant went up for Revell, and he looked genuinely moved. I think he was just about to be subbed for Maynard when he got our second, so Maynard sat back down again, and a few minutes later came on for Bowditch. They did sub Revell a short while after that and when he went off, you could see that we’d made an impact on him. I don’t think he’s the greatest striker we’re ever going to see, but he is the best striker we’ve had in the air since Clive Platt, and when combined with his fantastic workrate and dedication, that makes him worth keeping. I hope he does stay. But I doubt that he will.
Anyway, just as it looked like we were going to cling on for the point, something happened and they got the winner. I have no idea what it was, because I wasn’t watching, and neither were anyone else around me. I blame Antony Kay myself.
So, a great day out, only spoiled in part by some of the football, a bit of arguing, and a missing presenter. Aways are fun. End of season aways doubly so. And the scary clowns were fantastic – kudos to all those who took the time and effort to do it.
One more game to try and claim that third from bottom spot again, and to try to go down with a bang.
On St. George’s day, nobody wants to be the dragon. Everyone wants to be the one left standing, sword in hand, prodding the bloody corpse to make sure all life has gone. Sadly this year we celebrated Shakespeare’s birthday as the dragon, and we were coughing out smoke instead of breathing fire. Though we’d hoped for a different ending, we were finally put to the sword.
We can all point to games where we could have salvaged points – there have been many – but as Robbo succinctly said in his post-match interview, the table does not lie at the end of the season. We’re going down because we’re one of the worst teams in this division, and that’s been proved beyond any doubt.
This match was a pretty good analogy for our season. We started well, took an early lead, but very quickly found ourselves pegged back to level terms. Then our confidence went, the opposition were playing with a swagger that we couldn’t match, and we resorted to a hoofing the ball forward, vainly hoping for something to happen. Then we started making mistakes, and we fell further and further behind. Injuries led to unplanned substitutions, planned substitutions had a lot of people raising their eyebrows and an air of resignation fell across the stadium.
We huffed and puffed but as a team, we really didn’t look like we had any ideas how to get ourselves out of it. There were some poor performances individually, but some very strong ones too. On the poor side, Cody Cropper had a nightmare of a first half (though it was oddly entertaining to watch at times) and was substituted at half time, though it was reported that was due to an injury. Charlie Burns struggled as Cody’s replacement, and any lingering optimistic hopes we had were damned as the goals went in.
On the positive side, Josh Murphy had what I’d say was his best game in a Dons shirt, and will rightly be in demand come the end of the season.
The most positive thing about the day was the reception given to the players and manager at the final whistle. We’d just been relegated, but the fans, players – both loanees and contracted – and manager stood and applauded each other.
This season has been a painful one. We’ve worked so hard to reach the championship, and been found wanting at the first hurdle. The post-mortem has been going on for months already, and will surely continue for a while longer, but for now, we need to lick our wounds, support each other for the final two matches, and finish with a smile on our faces.
I’m gutted, but still proud of what we’ve done this season.
One of those ‘not sure why that was so good, but it really, really was’ kind of evenings. Still buzzing from it a couple of days later to be honest. There were a number of ‘why on earth are you going?’ questions that were thrown my way beforehand, but it was a bit like Saturday, in that I felt I really should be there.
No opportunity for #Coachwars, as there was just the one coach, although I did my best, with #coachwarssoundtracks bringing the best of a series of Desert Island Disc podcasts. Chris Hadfield, Kylie and an author, activist and feminist whose name escapes me all shared their life stories and their record collections, and the journey went quickly.
Hillsborough is a difficult place to watch football. As soon as you see the away end from the outside, it still looks exactly the same as it did in all those news reports from 1989. It’s eerie and I find it hard not to feel like some sort of tragedy voyeur if I spend too long outside there. I took a walk round to the memorial, which I always find a moving experience – this year, with our match being so close to an anniversary, and particularly with the jury currently being out, it felt doubly so. There were messages and flowers from some of the families, which I found difficult to read, so I made my way back to the ground.
We weren’t expecting many of our lot, and it felt a bit like an away match of old – I recognised pretty much every one of the 185 of us who made the trip, and there was just a good feeling about it. We know we’re down (unless something ridiculous happens repeatedly over the next few weeks, but more of that later) and everyone just seemed happy to enjoy the ride while we’re still in the championship.
So we’re relying on a miracle if we’re going to stay up, we rarely score (to be honest at the moment, we rarely shoot), our main goalie is out for the rest of the season, our number two goalie is suspended and we’ve got our academy goalie Charlie Burns making his full debut. Our most consistent defender is on 14 yellows so one more will see him out for the rest of the season. We’re playing a team who have resources that simply are in a different league to us, and who are in the playoff spots. What could possibly go wrong?
Well to be honest, it went rather well, all things considered. Charlie did himself proud, making some good saves throughout the game. Wednesday hit the woodwork about a hundred times, and didn’t seem to have their shooting boots with them when they managed to get into good positions. Wednesday went down to ten men after one of their lot decided to literally kick Johnny Williams up in the air while the ref was busy booking one of their lot for diving (harshly I’ve heard since). Johnny Williams got assaulted by one of their supporters when he got substituted, Robbo intervened to protect him, and all the while, the Wednesday players, bench and fans were getting more and more hot and bothered.
The crowd were getting on their backs, and were we even remotely threatening as a football team at the moment, we’d probably have gone on to win it. Sadly that wasn’t to be, but we knew that a draw would be enough to keep us clinging on for four more days, and cling on we did.
What made the evening so special for me was that we felt united as a fanbase. We were all in it together, we all sang together, we all laughed together and we generally all had a great time together – none of the frustrations and annoyances that have been part of other away trips this season were there, and it felt great to be there together. Thanks everyone.
Come the final whistle, as the other scores came in, it became clear that everyone else had drawn too. That meant that Charlton were relegated, we were still nine points behind the three teams above us, but interestingly, Bristol City had dropped back into fourth from bottom.
Odd as it may seem, there’s still a chance for us to stay up. If we win our remaining three games, and Bristol City lose their remaining three games, we will stay up. While I could easily see Bristol City losing their remaining three games, I really can’t see us winning ours, so it’s not going to happen, but it keeps it alive for one more game. If we win on Saturday and any of the other four lose, then we’re still clinging on, but the Bristol City goal difference means that it really has to be them.
So that’s it then. We’d always said that if we stayed up by a single goal on the last day of the season, then this would have been a great season. While it’s still mathematically possible for that to happen, it’s not going to happen. We’re relegated. So it hasn’t been a great season.
It wasn’t a good match – we were one down in 54 seconds, and the game was effectively over at that point. With the possible exception of a couple of efforts from JFK towards the end of the game, we didn’t threaten, and never really looked like scoring. Rotherham are not a great side, but Colin has managed to get them playing together and for each other. Their fans were behind them from the very first and they were in this together – players and fans. I doubt they were like that prior to Colin’s arrival and them going on their run, but that’s what happens when you string a run of results together. What we watched today was what happens when things go in the opposite direction.
I’m going to buck the trend here and say that I don’t think it was down to a lack of effort. Those players were trying their best, and as each goal went in, you could see that it was hurting them. They’re not the best of players, but they’re generally good players, though they’ve perhaps been shown up a little at this level. What seemed to be missing today was any sense of team, and any real idea of what they should be doing or how they should play together. It was a group of individuals, desperate to do something to make it better, but with no idea what they should actually do. That has to be down to the manager.
Robbo would not have survived so long in most clubs. The fact that 89 other clubs in English football have changed their manager since he was appointed is testament to that. Maybe if we’d sacked him earlier in the season we’d still be in the championship next season. Bristol City and Rotherham have done alright with that approach. Doesn’t work for everyone of course – just look at where Forest are right now.
But we’re not most clubs. We do things differently. I think Robbo has a lot to learn in management, and I think that he will learn a lot in management. The thing is, I want him to learn those lessons with us. We got promoted together, team, manager and fans, and I want us to get relegated together, team, manager and fans. I want us to rebuild together, I want us to go again together and I want us to work our way to promotion together too, however long that might take. I’m nailing my colours to the mast a little here perhaps, but I want us to do this differently.
I’ve often found things to criticise in elements of our fanbase. There have been a number of situations this season where I’ve found some of our fans’ behaviour more than a little cringeworthy. This afternoon, for the first time, I was genuinely ashamed. Not many people had stayed to clap the team off, but come the moment where Robbo himself claps the fans who have stayed, some fans chose that moment to boo. Boo at half time if you must, boo at the end of the game if you really feel the need – if you’re that way inclined, then boo during the game. But to stay behind, when most have already left, and to choose to boo at that precise moment, when the only message it can possibly give is a very public ‘fuck you’ to our manager, I genuinely cannot understand what could drive someone to do that.
That moment, those few seconds that happen a few minutes after the end of each match, is a bonding moment. It’s the point at which the fans say to Robbo ‘we’re with you’ and at which he says ‘thanks for being with me’. It’s a genuinely significant moment for me. It means something. If you’re not with him, then feel free to make your point in any other way, but that was a truly appalling thing to do. You could see how hurt he was at the time, and you could hear how hurt he was on the radio afterwards. He does not and he did not deserve that. If you were one of the people that did that, then I wish genuinely horrible things on you. If you’re close to Robbo, then please let him know how sorry I am that he had to experience that, give him a hug and make sure he knows he’s got support.
The hounds are already out in force all over the web, calling for Robbo’s head, and suggesting that just about anyone would be an improvement. With any luck, things will settle down a little before anyone makes any decisions about what happens next.
The social media world is currently full of people saying that they won’t be renewing their season tickets. If that’s you, then I’d suggest that football, or at least lower-league football isn’t for you. Thanks for the money while you were coming to games, but I don’t think you’ll be missed. That’s not what this football thing is about.
I’m feeling very low tonight. It’s just a game of course, except it’s not and we all know it’s not. But we’ll be back, and I’ll be back, and together, we’ll have great times. League 1 was always great fun, and we’ll have great fun there again.
First of all, it’s settled in relation to Dougan or the Shirt. Dougan wins – on that showing, there really isn’t anything to hate about Wolves, so my childhood traumas can be put to one side, and I can get on with just ignoring them 🙂 Though I do want to read the book again – does anyone have a copy?
It started well – a Wolves own-goal (though claimed by Mickey Naynard of course) in the fifth minute and we were looking pretty good. Passing the ball around with a bit of confidence and swagger – Caruthers looking sharp and doing relatively simple stuff well, JFK looking fit again. Daniel looking like Daniel does when he starts, which isn’t generally that good, but you can’t have everything I guess.
The first half was pretty good, and results elsewhere were going for us, so it was a relatively relaxed group of us that met in the bar at half-time, even if we weren’t feeling over confident that we would hold on.
The second half went how we’d feared – we started sitting back, the confidence went, the passes started to go astray, and we all knew what would happen next. They scored. And then they scored again. And I think at point, even those of us who’ve been remaining confident and positive knew our fate for the season.
Highlight of the game was playing ‘Daniel? Go Long!’ ((c) the Friends episode with the Geller cup) every time their was a corner or a free kick near either box.
I get a bit cross at times when people say that Robbo doesn’t have a plan B. First of all he plays a formation that allows for an enormous amount of flexibility anyway, but in recent months he’s gone well beyond that. He’s had our team of passing footballers digging in, time wasting and grinding out points, which is exactly the right thing to do at times.
There are times though, when Robbo doesn’t seem to act in a way that’s appropriate to the situation we’re in, and with the substitutions tonight he excelled himself. You’re 1-0 up after half-time, and you’re really under pressure, but you leave Revell, who seems to be the one guy able to hold the ball up and win things in the air at the moment, you leave him on the bench until we’re 2-1 down. You have Jonny Williams and Bowditch on the bench, each of which provides attacking promise and options, yet they don’t even get on the pitch. And Jay Emmanuelle-Thomas does? In what universe does that make sense?
It’s not over yet, but it’s close. Defeat on Saturday and we really will be dead and buried of course, but if we can keep it alive, then there will still be a little bit of hope, and we know what can happen with just a little bit of hope.
I think I said this at the weekend, but we don’t have the psychological strength to win a match at the moment. Wolves weren’t very good. They really weren’t. We were good enough to beat them. But we weren’t strong enough to beat them. And I really can’t see that changing.
So bring on the Millers on Saturday and let us see if we can bring Colin’s run of form to grinding halt. If we can do that, we’ll just have to wait and see for a little bit. If we can’t, then at least we can sit back and relax, because it will be over.
Dons mx it like class, offer man tings, an get bare in response. When boss man blow up first time, we is lead. Good times. Happy beerage. Next bit, not so good. Two shots, believe, two shots man have an two goal man score! Word! End time come an we is second – again. Not what spend coinage on!
Time comes when break time spliffage need pass by d left, you hear me? Man, it bare sort out tings, an Robbo need hear me now! Me should get there and make action, sort tings proper is what I say, you get me?
Word is man’s lost it, no idea it look, an we is going down keener than Letitia from 11c!
If ever there was a great day out ruined by the football, then this was it.
It started well – a beautiful sunny day in Milton Keynes, lots of coaches lined up outside the Arena (AKA the Semi-Colon) and lots of Dons fans milling about. The wonderful people at Piglets’ Pantry had laid on free brunch for all (not sure whether that was a marketing exercise from them or if it was funded by the club – probably a bit of both) so having grabbed a sausage roll and a Coke, we climbed the stairway to Coach 10.
Coach trips are never the most entertaining thing, but twitter wars can raise the boredom threshold a little – #CoachWars and #CoachWarsSoundtracks kept us going a little, spread to Facebook and at one point had representatives from about half of the coaches, all talking bollocks about how great their coach was, and the rubbish/cool/odd music they were listening to. Coach 10 won. I love being a grown up 😉
For those of you who aren’t up to speed with the charitable element of the day – we had nine people who had walked the entire way from Milton Keynes to Fulham, and two who had Kayaked, all raising money for Willen Hospice. The original plan was to raise £1,000, which then became £3,000, and then £5,000 as donations flooded in. All along the journey, we were getting updates through Facebook and Twitter of the progress that the Walkers and Kayakers were making, with each group making the final stages of their three day journeys as we relaxed into our air-conditioned seats. Everyone was due to meet at the statue of Johnny Haynes at 2:00pm, where the participants could receive our applause, meet Winkie, and the rest of us could bask in the reflected glory of those who’d done simply amazing things to get there.
Winkie was late (as usual ;-)) but not that late – much applause was applauded, great photos were taken, and many hugs were hugged. It’s quite incredible what some people are prepared to do to raise money for others, and I applaud each and every one of you.
So into the ground then – nice and busy, and there was an atmosphere building, both in the bars and up in the stand. The stewards were insistent that everyone went up the right stairway for their ticket, which in my experience never bodes well for a nice relaxed afternoon. If you’ll allow me to rant for a while, this sort of stewarding ‘control’ always seems to be more than a little futile in a football environment. The aim presumably is to ensure that everyone sits in their designated seat, but unless you’re in an environment where every seat has been sold (and I think we can safely say that’s not likely to happy very often for us) I honestly can’t see a single point in it. It’s not the theatre, where you’re able to choose a specific seat – you’re given the next one off the top of the pile and you have no choice in where that seat is. If everyone did sit in the seat randomly allocated by the order in which they bought them, you end up with friends separated, people wanting to sit in with those wanting to stand and vice versa, people wanting to sing in with those preferring not to and vice versa. There are no security implications either, because no club has the faintest idea which tickets are allocated to any individual. Frankly it’s all a bit daft.
Anyway, the atmosphere rocked – we were on good form in the stands, though almost nothing could be heard from the Fulham crowd except for the sound of 10,000 cardboard ‘clackers’. I should point out that while a lot of people were loudly proclaiming how plastic the clackers were and how we’d never do anything like that, we would and we have. The Morecambe game at the end of the JPT/Promotion season was awash with them, and plastic as they are, they were rather good on the day, and when accompanied by pretty continuous chanting they sounded great. On their own though? A bit crap really.
Football-wise, we weren’t good. We looked like a side that was low on confidence and low on ideas, and we were lucky to go in at half-time on equal terms. Fulham hit the post, and while they didn’t force any/many saves from Cody in the first half, they had enough opportunities that they should have. It was good to have JFK back in midfield, but he looked a little sluggish, which wasn’t too surprising for his first game back.
Halftime entertainment was provided by the daft racist behind me who, when asked by another fan to rein in his ‘Abdul’ related shouts at the steward got all hot and bothered. His insistence that the rest of us who were taking an interest should ‘turned round and watch the game’ seemed to be unmoved by the fact that as it was halftime, there was nothing else to watch. To be fair, his mates seemed a little embarrassed by him, but weren’t able to or interested in calming him down (which is always a sign that perhaps you’re hanging round with the wrong people 😉 #justsaying). One of their group suggested that it was none of our business, and that we were ‘grasses’ which was the first time I’ve found myself in the middle of an Eastenders episode at a game ;-). Another of their group very politely suggested that I shouldn’t do anything to ‘wind him up’, but to be honest, if being asked politely to calm it down and stop being racist towards the stewards winds someone up, then fuck him. A storm in a teacup of course, doesn’t mean anything in the wider scheme of things, but an indication of something that we’ll have to deal with as a fanbase. I’ve got a lovely photo of the guy in question if the club are interested.
Second half – we conceded, then woke up a little bit and looked more likely to score for a while. Then we did. Then we looked more likely to concede again. Then we did. We did look more threatening in the second half, but the same old defensive frailties that have haunted us all season were on hand to make Fulham look like world-beaters. The lack of goal threat that has haunted us all season was again on hand to make Fulham look like defensive masterminds. No idea how that bloke who scythed George down stayed on the pitch – a straight red in any other game I’ve seen this season. Wouldn’t have had a bearing on the game in any way though.
Robbo suggested in his post match interview that we deserved a point from it. We didn’t. They could have had three or four more in the second half, were it not for a great performance from Cody, and we very rarely came close to threatening their goal. We’re not psychologically strong enough to win games against the teams that we have to be taking points from. We look lost.
It’s not all over of course – the teams around us are down there for a reason, and while some (well almost all) of them are having some form of resurgence, it might not last. We’d still have to produce the sort of consistency over the remaining matches that we’ve been unable to muster up at all this season, and I can’t see us doing that, but I’ll remain positive until it’s mathematically impossible for us to stay up.
If we do go down, we’ll brush ourselves off, whinge for a bit, then get back into it and enjoy league 1 again.
The one really sour point (other than the football) was hearing that some of the walkers had been denied entry into the game, having walked 54 miles to attend it. I can’t quite imagine what that must feel like for them, and I really can’t understand what Fulham FC are doing to let something like this happen. Complimentary tickets that were provided to the Walkers by Winkie and Andrew Cullen were said to be fakes by the stewards on the gates. Personal intervention by Andrew Cullen helped out with some of them, but others ended up back in the pub, missing the match that they’d put so much into attending. Poor show Fulham – very poor show. Something significant needs to be done to make it up to the fans in question, AND something significant needs to be done to support the charity in question.
All in all, a great day out, marred slightly by an angry racist and the Fulham stewards attitudes to the walkers.
That was never a straight red! Not even a booking. I’m not even sure it was a foul.
Anyway, what to say about all of that? Brighton looked pretty rubbish, but they got the points, which means they’ll probably be there or thereabouts at the end of the season. We played pretty well for most of that match, and got nothing, which means we’re going to be struggling right up to the end of the season.
Our squad is really thin right now – announcing Ben Tilney on the bench shows that (no offence Ben), and we had a number of key players out. Martin (no idea how long he’s out for), Walsh (same), JFC (who couldn’t play because he’s a Brighton player), Caruthers (for urine-related reasons), Reeves (injured – no idea how long for) – there might be more but I have no idea anymore. I’ve lost count.
Having said that, I think across defence and midfield we looked very strong for most of the game. Defensively, Antony Kay has been strong since his return (and also may end up as our top scorer if he continues at this rate and our strikers continue at theirs) and Cody has looked the most competent reserve keeper we’ve had to date. In midfield, without JFC or Samir in there, Jonny Williams stepped up and had a great 70 minutes or so – he was strong, he was creative and he battled constantly. I felt like we really saw what he was capable of for the first time today.
As has been a recurring theme this season, our attack just doesn’t seem to be ‘right’. We did create chances, but they all seemed to be individual self-created chances from the wings rather than anything created by the team. Murphy and Hall both created chances for themselves, but I’m not sure they created anything for anyone else. Maynard didn’t once look like getting a shot off today, let alone look like scoring – whatever he’s supposed to be doing, I don’t think it’s working right now, but I don’t think it’s him – everyone who has played in that position for us this season has ended up in exactly the same situation. I thought Daniel created a few good chances for himself, but he needs more match time if he’s going to convert them.
Their penalty was a bit unfortunate – Potter had no idea their guy was there and made the clearance. Their second was disappointing – first of all, it came about because Williams lost possession cheaply in their half, once the cross came over, Powell didn’t cause the attacker any problems, and he had a pretty free header. I know that heading is never his strong point, but he has to make it harder for the attacker in that situation. Of course he shouldn’t be the last man there anyway.
We seemed to spring to life once they’d gone two up – Kay’s header was really well taken – he’s proving to be our best ariel threat at this point, and he’s finding space for himself. I’d like to see the ref penalising their keeper and not him and Kyle for holding on to the ball – whichever way you look at it, Kyle is entitled to get the ball, the keeper is not entitled to hold on to it. While it smacks of a juvenile ‘he started it’ kind of argument, without the keeper holding on to the ball, then there’s no incident.
The sending off was one of the most ludicrous decisions I’ve seen in a long time. It wasn’t a red, it wasn’t a yellow, I’m not even sure it was a foul – their guy rolled round like he’d been shot and the ref bought it. Terrible refereeing. Terrible.
Our penalty wasn’t good – not sure why Baker took it with two strikers on the pitch, but credit to him for stepping up. He’ll need a hug tonight, so whoever is out with him, look after him a little. It is worrying that we’re not taking the chances that we have to pick up points, but I’d be more worried if we weren’t creating those chances at all.
So we’re now without Kyle for three games, and we’ll have to hope that the international break gives some of our injured players the chance to get themselves back into contention again. Results didn’t go our way today, so we’re back into the bottom three for the first time in a while. I’d say we’re down to Bolton and Charlton plus one from three – us, Rotherham or Fulham. Right now my money would be on us or Fulham.
Big shout out to the family fun day people – lots of activity, lots of fun, lots of families, so all went according to plan. Great to see Radar and Bootsie in their tutus and Dan in his Samir commemorative t-shirt, and great to see so much money being raised for Willen.
Feeling a little sombre today, but bring on Fulham. Then Wolves. Then Rotherham. After them, I think we’ll have a better idea of how much trouble we’re in.
It’s getting to that part of the season where we know we’re probably not going to be treated to a feast of football, but when every match is that important that you really don’t want to miss a game. Whatever happens between now and the end of the season, these are the games we’ll be talking about for years to come, not the sunny carefree days of earlier in the season. All of that, plus the fact that it’s a new ground for us both, our attendance was a no-brainer, so Mrs B and I jumped in the car about 10:30 on Saturday morning to make our way up to wherever the hell Hull is.
Having said that, we very nearly didn’t make it, as it was only when I had a quick look to see whether there were any discounts for buying early that I discovered that you couldn’t buy on the day. I’m remarkably badly organised, so often tend to leave everything to the last-minute, so it would probably be a good idea if the club went out of their way to make sure that fans knew that a match was all-ticket. I’m not sure what Hull would have done if they’d have been presented with a couple of confused and angry Dons fans who’d managed to make the trip but hadn’t realised they couldn’t buy on the day. I presume they’d find a way to let us in, but I wouldn’t want to test it.
Any way, nice enough journey, mainly as we came cross-country rather than the motorways, so Mrs B had to slow down, and I didn’t spend the entire journey with my eyes clenched tightly shut. We went over the Humber bridge for the first time, and reminisced over previous trips to that part of the world – multiple trips to Lincoln and Scunthorpe, a couple of trips to Grimsby, including one four days before we beat them at Wembley in the JPT, and one to Doncaster. Giggled quite a bit when paying to park (a fiver, which isn’t bad for parking just a short walk from the stadium) as I honestly could not understand a word the guy on the gate was saying. He was really nice and friendly, and I felt more than a little guilty, as I had to keep asking him to repeat himself.
Anyway, five minutes walk to the ground, and a quick walk round to the away end. A nice bar to grab a drink and watch the Man City v Norwich game, a quick circuit of the outside of the stadium to get a picture for the album, picked up a programme and then in. Steak and Ale pie was good, and reasonable value at £3.30 – major points dropped with Mrs B for having run out of Cheese and Onion pies, but that serves her right for being fussy.
Big shout out to the team that put their program together by the way – it’s the most interesting and well put together programme that I’ve seen, and by a considerable margin. There’s enough in there for home and away fans to make it well worth the three quid – well done people. I usually buy a program at away matches, but they tend to go straight in the pile on the landing to be stored in the loft for future biographers. This one was read from cover to cover. And then put on the pile on the landing to be stored in the loft for future biographers, but that’s as it should be.
There weren’t that many of us that made the journey (no surprise there really 😉 ) – just under three hundred, but I think we did ourselves relatively proud, singing for most of the match and generally having a good time. I was surprised that the home fans didn’t get behind their team more – they seemed to only spring to life to complain about time-wasting, some of which was totally justified, but a lot of which wasn’t. We stifled them well in the first half, frustrated them, battled them and pretty much kept that up for 98 minutes. We took the lead from a set-piece with a great header from Antony Kay (leading to a certain Mr Hovis having to pop to B&Q for some blue paint to paint his backside blue, but that’s a story for another day) – he had a great game and has continued to impress since his return. We conceded within a few minutes, with a free-kick leaving Dave flat-footed. The wall looked poor to me, but what do I know? There were protestations from the bench (just for a change 😉 ) as they felt that there had been a handball in the run up to the free kick, but it was a bit disappointing to concede so quickly.
There fans were on Dave’s back from the first couple of minutes, and cheered loudly when he went down injured. That was a little disappointing, but I was appalled by their player who chose to take a long shot at goal, with the keeper on the floor injured. Thankfully Dave was able to catch it, even from his prone position on the floor, but it was a pretty scummy thing to do. Shameful really.
Anyway, we clung on to the point, and I think we deserved it – any suggestion that we only know one way to play has been truly blown out of the water in recent weeks – we’re battling and fighting and stifling and time-wasting and digging-in in a way that we really haven’t managed to do before, and it’s great to watch. Not the prettiest thing to watch, and I can understand why it frustrates the opposition, but you have to play to your strengths, and right now, that battling determination is our strength.
Hopefully Dave won’t be out for long, though I heard tell it was his hamstring – no other injuries on the day as far as I know. I can’t see Hull getting promoted unless they fluke it in the playoffs – they’re just not good enough. I also hope we end up playing them again next season, as they get really cross and whine like little bitches all through the game – that’s always entertaining.
A hard-fought point that was vital with results around us – bring on Brighton.