So what’s gone wrong (listen to us, ‘WRONG?’ wrong is what happened last season). Firstly, we’re missing Rufus (and Gavin Johnson). Matt Day is an adequate replacement in a defensive role but going forward his passing and crossing is nowhere near as consistent. With Anaclet on the right still not quite producing when it matters, it puts more pressure on Andy Burgess whilst also offering less outlets for his passing. Yesterday Jim Smith started with Anaclet on the left, perhaps trying to release Odubade and Pettefer on the right, but it didn’t really work.
Secondly, we’ve got to start quicker. Odubade is best used later in the game after Basham and Duffy (or Robinson) have worn the opposition down. There’s no point in having his pace in the side when we spend the opening half an hour stroking the ball from flank to flank. Against Southport we were caught out by an early sucker punch. Yesterday they simply dug in during the second half and picked up the luckiest penalty.
Altrincham had an eck-ee-thump working class quality about them. Their manager made comments about Oxford needing to learn that they’ll get kicked to bits by teams like them (presumably to teach us aristocrats a lesson or something) then the website bleats on about ‘disgraceful’ Oxford fans laying siege to the North Stand waiting for their fans. It’s a bit depressing to hear a team with such a lack of ambition about them; kicking people isn’t something to be proud of and fans being subject to fairly standard crowd control procedures is hardly Heysel. It sounds like they simply don’t want the imposition of bigger crowds, more professionalism, better quality players that former league clubs bring with them when relegated. Well, the only way to do that is to stop relegation and promotion between the League and the Conference.
Perhaps it is the slump, but given we’re talking about a run of draws, not defeats, it could be one of those slumps that all champions have at some point. Chelsea drop points and then Sky suggest that if they continue to lose and an improbable set of results occur behind them then the championship may become vaguely interesting. What then usually happens is that Chelsea win their next game 4-0, others drop more points and the status quo is restored. Well, Dagenham can’t keep winning, we’re not losing, we’re still two points clear, here’s to Friday.