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All this frustration, all this frustration

OK, last Saturday was utter toilet. Let’s not pretend otherwise. But don’t cancel those hotel rooms for May 4th just yet.


The performance against Woking was all the more frustrating given how improved we looked in the Barnet game. We were a bag of nerves up front, we weren’t winning second balls, the midfield looked poor. I felt sorry for Kitching – yes, he was poor, but having been arguably our most consistent player all season, he was due an off day and it was unfortunate timing that so many other players were well off it too. He skied three chances over the bar before half time, but why were so many good chances falling to our left back and not our strikers?


The poor defending from a corner that led to Woking’s disallowed goal at the end of the first half should have been a wake-up call. Instead, we failed to defend a cross into the box early in the second and conceded. We briefly looked like we might get back into the game after Dallas came on for Fondop, but as Mellon said after the game, it “all looked a wee bit laboured”. The performance was probably best summed up by the very audible shout of “ABSOLUTE SHITE!” that Wadmin chose to not edit out of the highlights.

📷 Phill Smith


Trying to take some positives/mitigating factors from the game…. Sachdev’s long throw is a good option to have, if we can get players on the end of them. We were noticeably better after Dallas came on. And him and Conlon are way off being match fit, so we’ve got better to come from them. Mellon also said that Hammond isn’t fit either, so let’s not consign him to the scrap heap just yet.


Off the pitch, we’ve got a lot to be proud of, and I’ve got more to be grateful to the club for than most at the moment. Having put red wine behind the Rocky bar with my name on it for the Hendon game, there was a sign up last Saturday announcing the wine was on sale in memory of my mum, with the proceeds going to charity. What a beautiful gesture. What a club. What a community.

(If the lads who were behind me in the queue, who were speculating that “she must have been a proper alky”, are reading: my mum didn’t like wine. Her drink was vodka and coke. And not even proper vodka, that crappy Vodkat stuff. The little ole wine drinker is me.)


Work to be done and further improvements to the squad still clearly needed then. Only our chairman could announce a new signing from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, with Wadmin tweeting audio on Wednesday of Frank calling to say “can you do something for me? Can you get me a good signing so there’s something to brighten me day up?”.


Many have raised eyebrows at us signing Joe Garner from Carlisle on an 18-month deal – after all, he is 35 years old, my friend – but Micky Mellon was keen to highlight the value of his experience: “He has fantastic leadership qualities and experience at winning things.” In 2014-15, when he won promotion via the play offs with Preston, he scored 25 goals and pipped Dele Alli to win League One Player of the Year. He also won the League Two play off final last year with Carlisle. The Off the Line blog describe him as a “lovely pest”. Between him, Magnificent Shithouse James Norwood and Absolute Bastard Andrew Dallas, we’re definitely going up. I’m going to choose to be happy about us signing him, it’s another clear statement of intent.

📷 Oldham Athletic


(Garner also scored the only goal for Rangers when Celtic demolished them 5-1 in September 2016 and Scott Brown utterly humiliated Joey Barton. I could talk MUCH more about that, but I won’t.)


As expected, we’ve shipped a couple of forwards out. Joe Nuttall has gone to League One Cheltenham on loan until the end of the season, which may come as a surprise to people who thought he wasn’t good enough for the National League. There’s clearly a player in there and he wasn’t as lazy as some made out. Sometimes it just doesn’t click for a striker for whatever reason. Good luck to him.


Kurt Willoughby has also gone out on loan for the rest of the season, to Scottish Championship side Ayr United. I wish him the best of luck, especially if he plays v Rangers at Ibrox in their Scottish Cup 5th round tie next Saturday. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at Brennan Dickenson going on loan to Hartlepool, given that he hasn't played since November, but he looked one of our better players early in the season and scored a couple of thunderbastards. I'm a bit gutted we won't be seeing more of him


Safe journey if you’re heading to Ebbsfleet (which I still struggle to believe is a real place) tonight. They’ll be expecting to have a new (well, caretaker) manager bounce, but we usually win on the telly. Like Frank, we may have struggled to stay on course this week, but HMS Piss the Playoffs powers on. KTMFF.

 

📷 World's Toughest Row


Written by Arlene Finnigan

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