One of the frustrating things about the current run is that it’s very difficult to pin point what’s going wrong. You can speculate about the changes of personnel or the supposed curse that says we’re destined to throw this away, but it’s not like we’re playing badly per se, we’re just not getting the results.
Perhaps it’s better to look at the season in a different way. The reason that the championship is awarded at the end of the season is because only then, when everyone has played everyone else, do you get the true picture of who is the best team. The league table at any other point in the season, is merely a distraction.
Look at the current ‘bad’ run: Hayes was the absolute shitter, undeniably bad; but then every team would expect one shitter a season. Manchester United lost to Burnley this year, Chelsea to Wigan that’s been their shitter. We shouldn’t be surprised to have one ourselves.
You’d expect to get the occasional away draw against dogged, unspectacular teams like Cambridge and Tamworth. You might, at some point in the season, also expect a team chasing the play-offs to escape the Kassam with a point, as Kettering did.
It just so happens that these games were drawn to be played together. Had they been scattered throughout the rest of the season, we wouldn’t be looking for reasons that it’s gone horribly wrong. We’d be here now knowing we were in a title fight.
Form and luck barely plays a part in the outcome of a season. When all the games have been played, the good teams are always at the top and the bad teams at the bottom. For every Luton disaster, there’s a Miracle of Crawley, for the points dropped against Kettering, there are points gained against York. If you’re a team that’s going to lose 5 games in a season, that’s what you’ll do – you may lose all five in a row, or one every six weeks, but in the end it’s your class will determine where you end up.
Looking forward, we can’t be shocked if we drop points against Rushden and Stevenage away, but we’d expect to beat Gateshead. After this, we have six games all of which look winnable whilst Stevenage have Luton, Wimbledon, Kidderminster and York, games where you might expect them to drop points. They may be building a reasonable lead at the moment, but, unlike us they haven’t played all the nasties.
Anyone who thought we’d be walking it by now was being naïve. A vast majority of league titles are won in the last couple of games a season, why shouldn’t we expect it to be the same here?