Football Blog: Tangerine Flavoured

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Same mistake twice? - the Mighty vs AFC Wimbledon


I think I've got blog fatigue. I'm really looking forward to the game today, but not really looking forward to describing it. I've been told by a small portion of my vast army of readers that on the odd occasion the blog is by just one or two words a bit long, so I'm going to do my best to adopt a more terse and disciplined style today. 

Let's do it. 

I'm missing the real.

Stuff like music doesn't seem to connect as much with me as I'm not really living life. Fuck knows what the right soundtrack for this world is. TV static or something... I want to drive to the game through actual places, see litter and dog shit somewhere other than my own street. I want to drink a real pint of shit beer from an authentic plastic glass and soak up real grumbling observations on the passing week from people other than those who live in my house. I want to see the hand painted numbers scrawled on different coloured wheelie bins than mine for fucks sake. 

I don't think I'm asking for much. 

Oh, to go go for a real piss and face the real awkwardness of deciding whether or not to try and squeeze into the real gap at the real urinal that looks touch and go as to whether it's a bit rude or reasonable to do so. There's always the added dilemma of 'being over cautious and holding the queue up behind you vs getting there and finding the gap is smaller than you thought, so you have to stand there looking a bit weird as if your trying to look over the shoulders of the people already urinating' 

I want to forget which of the side streets I've parked my car in. I want to be frustrated by the mute apathy of some of the people who sit near me and seem to only open their mouths to complain. I want be barraged by questions about the possible outcomes of things I've never actually seen happen on a football pitch by my lad whilst I'm trying to watch the game.

"What would you do dad, if their player had a false leg but didn't tell anyone then they took it off in the game and then threw it at the ball and it went in, would you be angry or not?"

"Dad, what would happen if the manager ran on and started just dancing on the pitch and refused to go off? Dad? Dad? What would happen?"

"Dad, is there a player called Wife because if we signed him we could have Hasband and Wife. Dad, is there? Dad? Dad? Dad? Can I have some crisps?" 

I miss that. I once told him Gary Lineker had a poo on the pitch and that created an entire 3 game streak of fielding questions about players and the toilet and the likelihood of seeing some form of bodily waste expelled during the games we were at. 

It's not been a very promising start in terms of keeping things succinct has it? 

I've been encouraged to embrace graphs and charts as a way of making things a bit less #wordy and a bit more #easytodigest - I'm sceptical about that, but I'm going to give it a go... 

Bigness vs skillfulness

Goals scored vs likelihood of over complicating it

That wasn't that hard and I presume this step will take me to the next level of blogging. The sort that sees you invited on to really painful, nails down a chalkboard Radio 5 banter shows and that type of thing. I might write 'and that type of thing' repeatedly in tribute to Brian Clough's habit of using it liberally in his speech. No reason other than you can't pay tribute to Cloughie enough. Talking of tributes and great men who were a bit edgy, it was Mark E Smith's birthday the other day, and whilst I can't really work out any link to either AFC Wimbledon or us, I can address my lack of visual stimulus and avoid getting to the actual football a bit longer with this picture what I took all by myself about 10 years ago of the great man looking thoughtful. 

Let's get things back on track - we ran out to Ten Pole Tudor last week. That's a big improvement on a dirgy Stone Roses track for no reason other than apparently wor Simon likes them, but this tenuously football related song from the mighty Fall would be fucking ace. Just listened to it and I'm mad for it now. Put me up front after a blast of this and I'll run like Jerry for 90 minutes plus I'll keep my top on later for good measure. Still think this (below) should be no1 on the pre match playlist though... This is us.

This is what we are. Fuck everyone else. We maybe scruffy, noisy, out of fashion but we've such melody, such poetry lurking underneath the surface. We don't need a Manchester band do we? We're the MIGHTY. 

(Is anyone still reading?) 

Team news suggests that Mike Garrity has got the kebab meat out of the roulette wheel (see tuesday) and Critch has given it several spins to make up for not changing on Tuesday. In comes Turton (Lg 1 Cafu) and Husband, CJ and Demi. We're clearly going to try and beat them with a secret recipe of 'quickness and being functionally solid at the back.'  Beneghan ((c) Jane Stuart 2020) isn't starting for them (which is a shame as quick players running at him would probably be effective) but Piggot, who I thought looked a canny big man when they played us is. 


I wonder if Critch has viewed my graph on 'faffing about' and tried to address this as Demi and CJ fall into the category of 'run at goal and don't think about much else' type players... I'm thinking about this as Chissy unveils his co commentator and glory be - its Brett! The living legend is straight into his best form as his first acts are to discuss his "back to the future heated jacket" and then to admit he's no idea what happened for a Wimbledon cross because he was watching something else. THIS is what I pay my license fee for.  

The game is starting out as a battle of crosses. The Dons have 3 decent ones, in response CJ has a run on the right and Jimmy Husband puts a decent ball in for us. We have a corner, which the giant ex Pool loanee Walker punches away in a curiously effete manner, sort of dabbing at the ball. The Dons then use Piggot as a pivot, get the ball up to him, he flicks it wide, peels off to the far post, the ball comes in and he side foots it perfectly only to see Maxwell make a superb stop with his feet. 

We learn Chissy has blue tack on his seat. We've also learned that Walker looks a bit dicey kicking when you pressure him, that Wimbledon will hit the front men/channels as quickly as possible (and why not?) and that Demi Mitchell looks like he's drunk a gallon of coffee and is really excited to be starting. Demi reminds me of an excitable kid on a school trip. It's really nice he's there and having a good day out, but you're slightly on edge that he might do the wrong thing at some point. 

Shirtless loses his rag and gets booked when a Dons man chucks himself down. Yates is fuming, so responds with a beautiful swan dive when his ankles get clipped a minute later. There's no yellow card, but from the cross we get a chance. The ball falls to Ballard of all people, who finds Demi with a cross. Walker makes a save and we've got a corner. The delivery is dreadful, but after some hacking about, it breaks to Demi (who took it) and the excitable one pulls out a brilliant lob that is smuggled off the goal line after beating the keeper. 

Then Jimmy Husband does a step over, gets in the box and is hauled down. The ref blows! Pen!... Actually, no, it's a free kick. Kevin Stewart delivers a lovely ball, Simms meets it just yards out but heads it over the bar... 

It's a cracking game so far. Thorniley got a bit of stick on Tuesday but he's playing well and his tackle on the six yard line as the ball drops from a Dons knock down is perfect. A perfectly timed slide at the crucial moment. If his tackle was good, then so is Maxwell's save minutes later as the Dons swing a ball in from deep, Piggot escapes his man, but his crisp effort is saved by a low dive from Maxwell who anticipated it brilliantly. 

We react with a dreamy little run from Jimmy Husband (yep top knot and all) that Hamilton can't turn into danger. Wimbledon gift the ball for Simms, but he can't get a shot away as much as he weaves and tries to work space to do so. Mitchell then bursts down the left, plays a lovely deft little touch past the last man, Simms, comes onto it and cracks an effort from about ten yards that Walker turns over the top very well. 

It's been a great half but the last ten minutes falls into a pattern of loose balls and midfield scrapping. Jimmy 'Roberto Carlos' Husband creates the nearest to a moment with a clever run for Yates who has come deep, but shirtless Jerry's ball is a bit heavy and Husband pulls up, his head thrown back in frustration as it rolls away from him. 


It's been a cracker so far. One of those games where a lot happens so you don't really have time to think about what's going right or wrong. They've taken the same tack as Crewe did, getting right at us and they've definitely been dangerous. We've created chances as well though and I'd say it's about even. For all I've read about the Premier League players, this is the third excellent 45 minutes served up by league 1 players I've seen in a row and I'd suggest Jurgen Klopp and his ilk should watch what these lads are serving up before complaining that their over payed thoroughbreds are just 'too tired' to deliver quality. 

I'm going to ask a possibly sacrilegious question - Are we actually playing better for having CJ on the right? We keep banging it too him, but we've had more joy in other areas and I wonder if we'd be better just playing a more balanced way. It feels as if Thorniley in particular is briefed to 'find CJ' every time he has possession but it looks like the Dons are wise to that. They look more vulnerable to being run at and the long ball is cutting that option out and also possibly not really feeding Mitchell, who I think has done ok. 


Low crosses are traded at the outset of the first half and we get a whole raft of corners. A couple of times Simms' control lets him down at key points, the first a good ball from his own half from Turton that sees him unable to bring it down , the second a stabbed through ball from Stewart that bounces off him as a he tries to control and turn. 

More great timing from Thorniley cuts out the most subtle of through balls we've seen yet from the Dons. Virtue plays one of the best passes of the game as if we've been woken up to the idea of playing football as a result of them doing so but Jerry doesn't take the invitation to shoot. A few minutes later, Virtue feeds him again, Yates slips a great ball through but Virtue returns the pass when it looks like he should shoot. See that 'faffing about' graph... 

Then, we only go and score! Virtue again involved, sliding Hamilton away. CJ looks a bit leggy but still bundles through and pulls it back. Jerry has a shot, it's blocked so he tries again and the ball strikes Simms and deflects past the keeper. They claim offside, but there's no problem. We're fucking WIZARDS!

Sullay comes on for Hamilton. That means Demi goes on the right. I don't like this inverted shit for the sake of it. 

There's heroics from Turton and Ballard on two different crosses as Maxwell gets a bit lost under buffeting from their forwards. We've lost control of the game a bit. Critch responds with Embleton and Dougall for Mitchell and Simms.

They cut a swathe down the left with Woodman looking tricky and have a good cross cleared. We mirror them with Embleton who finds Yates from a similar place, but their defence is equal to the danger. 

There's more dicey moments from decent Wimbledon crosses, Maxwell both finding himself way out of goal, then pulling off a nice diving catch. We're not keeping possession at all. Piggot controls, swivels and gets a shot away from another left side cross but Maxwell clutches it to his chest. 

As the game drifts towards full time it's not comfortable, but Wimbledon look to be tiring. Their incisive play has lost it's edge. There's more lose passes and miscontrols. Garbutt replaces Virtue and we go to a back 5. There's a corner and a horrible moment where a deep header flashes towards goal but goes well wide. The seconds tick by... 

Both Garbutt and Embleton nearly set Yates away, the latter with a brilliant volleyed first time  40 yard pass. Then they beat the offside trap, their little 17 getting away, not quite finding a shooting chance and touching it back for the much bigger Palmer to put over the top. 

They come again though... It's the excellent Piggot getting a cross over, Thorniley heads away but the ball is rattled back in from the edge of the box, where it falls to the villainously bearded Palmer to stab home with the outside of his foot.

Fucking hell. 

Sullay spins, he feeds Garbutt who sprints and puts a great ball, fizzing low across the face of goal but neither Yates or Embleton can reach it. 

The game ends with Husband belting it into the seats which is quite a nice image to sum up how I feel. 


I should leave it longer after the game in order to be more reasonable, but whilst I think Wimbledon deserved their equaliser and I was impressed by them overall, I think we've just sat back since we've scored and as much as 'game management' is one of those fancy phrases you get paid to say on the telly, it's also 'inviting pressure' 

People will say our 'game management' was poor - I say, we just ceded the right to compete in the last two games after we've scored. We've not had Madine winning and holding it and fucking about in the corner, instead we've just gone into a shell where we clear, the ball comes back, we clear, repeat, for ages until eventually they score. 

Can't be arsed deciding who was good or not. Too pissed off. I don't feel like it was a player mistake that lost us the win, but the decision to sit back. Thought they put a shift in and all that. Not going to moan at them individually. 

Last match I was all 'ooh, lets be philosophical about hindsight' but that's almost carbon copy of the last game. Score, then let a tiring team dominate us despite them visibly looking knackered. How is bringing on Sullay an obvious defensive change? Why invert Mitchell who'd done quite well on the left to accommodate him? Why not bring on Gabriel or Embleton on the right for Hamilton and keep the shape we had, instead of disrupting two players with one sub?

When are we going to realise that without presence up front, we lose the ball and will come back at us? If you're going down to one striker, why leave the little one on? It's the same pattern as much of the year - a good win against a good side (Charlton away) then struggle against 'lesser' sides that simply get in our face and press and force the pace.

I've left it a whole hour to actually finish the piece and I still can't fathom why, when we'd got a grip of the game, we changed it almost immediately and gave that up. 

Breathe in and out. It's only football. Such is life etc... We'll be good again soon. Probably. 

Fucking hell Pool. 



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