As sure as night follows day Greggy Taylor was dropped, Paul Buckle, a man who makes no mistakes himself, has cast him asunder like an unforgiving wife after his one rather public mistake. Farewell Greg…
…meanwhile back on the pitch today I was looking forward to seeing the new pairing of Stavros’ Thomas and Steve McLumpy. The new Donaghy and Foster. That’s Donaghy and Foster as they are now of course, not c1988. One was a no show still waiting international clearance/left his passport in Pathos and the other one well, erm, had a good game actually.
In the absence of Thomas, Kovacs has a surprise reprise, and no wonder, because he’ll be needed against Millwall next week. He nodded the ball away quite happily all afternoon, almost as if he was playing against Grant Holt again probably not well enough for the manager though. Alongside him, the pot-bellied McNulty barely put a foot or head for that matter wrong. His passing was more accurate than Kovacs’ and, what he didn’t have in speed, he made up for in positioning. He was a comedy nuisance to their keeper at corners too worth the entrance fee alone for that. His first clearance got a hoof’ accompaniment from the crowd (and he had been greeted with a chorus of you fat bastard) but most clearances and passes after that were greeted by a semi-surprised ironic cheer. I anticipate a status amongst fandom somewhere between Enoch and Roper.
And what of the 1-1? Well I thought the first half was quite bright and a reasonable game, spoilt only by the whistle-happy and card-happy ref, who did make some strange decisions, usually only after the away dugout leapt up and appealed like a Pakistani slip cordon. The ref was only too happy to oblige. He added to his impressive tally of red cards this year in the second period by sending off Lawless and ex Watford chancer Al Bangura. Lawless got done in the now traditional double-tap. His first foul warranted a card, but still fresh and recognisable in the ref’ s mind gave away a silly freekick about a minute later when he seemingly went through the back of his man, leaving the ref little choice but to give him a second one. Bangura went after giving someone a slap near the tunnel, which was convenient as he didn’t have far to go. In piled both sets of players, but alas, rather than a full-scale pagga it was handbags and a bit of pushin’, which ultimately saw JJ get a yellow. I’m sure J block and those in the enclosure by the tunnel gave the former human trafficking victim’ a hearty send off and wished him well for the future. They must have done because he gave them a cheery wave back, sharing the love.
The second half was a more dreary affair, with less quality and fewer chances from either side. On came super-subs O’Donnell and Fleetwood, ably assisted by Mendy. Mendy and O’Donnell replaced the two wingers Martin and Nielson when we needed to play more narrow across the middle to match FGR’s three following Lawless’ sending off. I thought Martin made three or four good runs, and hugged the touchline well. He didn’t get to the byline and crossed a bit more hopefully from the deep, and in the first half of the first half his crosses didn’t look that dangerous, save for the all important one for the goal where Gray mistimed a header which went up rather than in, but still managed to come down and find the back of the net. The first goal in a long time which was preceded by an Ohhhh’ for missing the chance, before it actually dropped in. Gray could have had a second after another good pass by Martin, but failed to squeeze it in.
Of course it need not have been 1-1 the ref, having missed a blatant handball by Stokes in the box, also failed to spot Gray being felled by Oshodi, but fortunately the lino spotted it, and the ref spotted him. Alas Gray’s penalty posed more of a threat to those people sitting in the upper tier of the Kenny than Russell in the FGR goal.
It was another set-piece that led to their goal. Matt Taylor (no, not that one) continuing his good form by heading Klukowski’s free kick pass Tyler at the free post. Not sure who was supposed to be marking him, but they didn’t. Hang on, it’s probably Greg Taylor’s fault.
Over all in the game we did have plenty of chances and half chances Shaw has a good couple, I recall Nielson volleying Martin’s cross and Fleetwood, Gray’s replacement, had a chance near the end.
McLumpy got the traditional award of man of the match award to a new player in his first home game. Ugly old beast he may be, but he just about warranted it today, perhaps Martin pushing him closest.
Millwall presumably sent someone to watch that and how they must be quaking in their boots now. Fortunately, once again we will have to play deeper and on the counter I presume, and not like we did today at all. I don’t think we showed anything today that will have them losing sleep.
The cup run really is papering over the cracks this year. Just like last season we have limped along, not at any point looking settled or looking like hitting our straps. 14 points behind Grimsby now, and yes, I know we have half the season to play and three games in hand, but realistically, unless a miracle happens and the form of the team is transformed, grubbing into the play offs is the best we can do, once again. For goodness sake.
Let me remind you as if you needed it this, in a season with no sugar daddy club in it. No Fleetwood, no Crawley. No Oxford, no York, no Stevenage or even bloody Wimbledon. All the big boys have gone. This is the most open, weakest Conference season for many a year, yet we are floundering in the league. Drifting in an open sea (or sewer?). What does that say about the players, manager and coaching staff? PB has a worse record this season than dear Mick (who was pilloried, for having no tactical clue) by Richard Money (who never had the fans, and who eventually lost the players, than Gary Brabin (don’t get me started) all of them were doing better at this stage than PB (who doesn’t make any mistakes himself). This should have been the season we cruised this division. Instead seemingly we just go further and further back with each new season despite all the new signings. Whatever we do seems to just makes things worse. The signings get more and more expesive but seemingly continue to dilute the quality. My old mum used to say don’t fiddle with it you’ll only make it worse. So true but what could we have done?
Anyway doom and gloom aside, in the cold light of day, we got a point today at home to the side in third. In almost any other league we’d go away slightly disappointed but we’d be saying a point is a point. But the opposition was Forest Green and we are in non-league. We need to leave please! Give me the chance to write weekly upbeat reports please!
Tuesday, away to Dartford, who have been in freefall more or less since they beat us. I’m going to try to make it but will be driving back down from the north west and will be relying on the M6, M42, M40 and M25 being kind to me to make it, hmm…
Next Saturday Millwall return in an FA Cup game for the first time since the 13th March 1985. I trust they will be better behaved guests this time round. I’m looking forward to the game, and who knows…could our luck hold for a third time? Wouldn’t that be superb? Dare we dream of greater things once again…?
Come on you Hatters time to click and to start winning. The skill’s nearly there, now show us you care!