Not to piss on anyone’s parade, but the (albeit superb) win over Rushden hasn’t taken us anywhere. My crude, but oddly accurate (so far, 8 out of 12 results right), predict-o-meter still has us finishing in 9th. Unfortunately we don’t seem to have enough games left to bridge the gap and although we may yet make an appearance in the top 5, this achievement will eventually be eroded.

Beating Rushden doesn’t bridge the gap, although it has prevented it from growing. To reduce the gap we need to take points where we wouldn’t otherwise expect to. According to my formula that’s top 10 teams: Stevenage, Histon, Burton and/or Wrexham.

Winning the games against the likes of Rushden is not an option. Which is what makes this such a horrible experience. The titanic effort of the team, the magnificent achievement of Chris Wilder in turning the team around is still some way from meaning anything. The 2008/9 season will go down in history as us being an unremarkable mid-table team.

The return of our deducted points would make a big difference, of course. But that’s not going to happen. The Conference will play this one as long as possible. If, as is likely, the internal review has revealed processes riddled with human error and arcane systems, to go through the humiliation of giving points back will undermine the whole league and its credibility going forward. If they can push the publishing of their review into the summer, the fire in the belly of Oxford, Mansfield et al will have subsided and life will return to normal.

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