AFC Wimbledon 2 FC United of Manchester 0 – A Match Response

fcum 002I know, its a match response rather than a match report. And I normally only write these when I haven’t actually been to the game. But I missed so much of it that I can’t in good faith bill this as a match report. I did take quite a lot of photos though, for those of you who like that sort of thing…

It started off bad. I was supposed to meet a group of Manchester United fans (yes you read that right… MUFC not FCUM…) at the ground at 1.30. The problem was, they had gone to The Peel beforehand. Now there was no way I was going down the Peel, as there was an all day metal festival type thing going on there, and me and metallers don’t get on too well. Well, I just don’t like them. An ex girlfriend of mine used to go out with the bassist of a certain UK metal band, and I had that inadequate jealousy that only the boyfriend of a girl who used to go out with someone famous can have. Perhaps one day I will learn to live with fans of metal once more, and maybe even learn to appreciate the music?…

fcum 010Naturally, United fans of either persuasion are going to be fond of the Peel, what with the strippers and that, even if they are crack whores off the Cambridge, the mangiest strippers in London. The fact you have to pay to get in is almost a slap in the face, like being charged to watch ‘Two Girls And A Cup’ (Not seen it? Buy a big tub of chocolate ice cream, run a web search for it and settle back for two minutes or so of the finest entertainment humankind has ever produced…).

So I was left to my own devices at Kingmeadow for forty-five minutes. After getting my picture taken with a trophy that looked enough like the FA Cup to pass for it in photos, I headed outside the bar in search of entertainment. Bad idea. I got to the end of my drink before I noticed the flying ant at the bottom, requiring a hasty retreat back to the bar. I had two more close encounters in the bar itself, plus one in the toilet, and I’m not exactly a fan of creepy crawlies. Especially ones that can fly, then when they land lose the ability and try to make their home there. You don’t want that to happen in our hair, and I have a lot of hair right now.

fcum 014Naturally I missed the lineups again, so not much in the way of identification as far as FCUM are concerned. They had their token ginger at full back of course. I don’t know what it is with Manchester, perhaps the high Catholic population, but they seem to produce rather more than their fair share of gingers (by the way, did you know that ginger hair, along with freckles and pale skin is thought to have been passed to us by the very limited interbreeding between Homo Erectus (forefathers of Homo Sapiens, or us) and Homo Nenderthalensis (Neanderthals). Makes you think twice about dating those redheads?…).

Fortunately a United fan ‘rescued’ a team sheet for me that had been helpfully pinned to the noticeboard outside the bar.Not that I had any real use for it. From the moment Chris Hussey slammed a freekick into the wall early on the game had ‘scrappy’ written all over it. Our friends from the north were in no mood to get taken apart on their big day out in the south, and Wimbledon’s passing, movement, pace, all seemed a step behind what we saw on Tuesday, almost as if the manner we approached the game had been dictated by our opponents.

fcum 009The only major first half chance went the Reds direction. What was already a somewhat dubious penalty award was absolutely wasted by Adam Carden, telegraphing which way he was going to hit it to the point even I could tell standing at the opposite end. He then struck it nowhere near the corner as if he had second thoughts halfway through his run up. In fact Jamie Pullen seemed in more danger of diving past the ball than not reaching it. This was no ‘last minute against Weston’. Yet it gave a positive start to Jamie’s preseason (IOM don’t count…) although he did seem a little butterfingered at times.

Not that he really had too much to do, although he looks light-years better than Sebb Brown, seen wandering away from Kingsmeadow delighted that Terry Brown still hasn’t seen through him. I know I seem to have taken an instant dislike to Brown, but after his performance against Wycombe, and then of course Brighton, who could blame me? Not only did Kieran Thorp do better than him in his half of the Wycombe game, but Wilkinson came in on Tuesday night and showed what a confident young goalkeeper he is, only to be shunted to the side by Brown. So what is Brown doing in training to still be clinging on to a chance of a contract? I’m worried Terry is going to tire of his search for a keeper and just sign him up.

fcum 018As I have said many times before, goalkeepers are more harshly judged by me as I used to be a goalkeeper, but not only that I can spot a poor one a mile off because I used to be a poor keeper too! All the little weaknesses that come together to form a bad goalkeeper are there. He is quiet, indecisive, distribution is poor, can’t collect high balls under pressure… yes, he is a good shotstopper, but that’s what made us want to pull the gloves on to start with. That’s the basic requirement of a goalkeeper at any level. That’s what separatesyou from the guy who is a bit crap out on pitch but turns up every week, so gets thrown in goal. Brown is far from that of course, but then he is far from being a Conference Standard goalkeeper as well… Terry, give Wilkinson another chance, or stick with young Jack. He’s a confident kid, so even if he has a ‘mare on his debut, it won’t ruin the lad…

Enough about the keepers, and veering back to the first half, you may remember I compared Jon Main quite unfavourably against Luke Moore recently as far as work rate goes. Well, someone was obviously paying attention, because on Saturday 25th July at approximately 3.30pm, JON MAIN WON A HEADER AGAINST A CENTRE HALF! It was a proper 50/50 dropping out of the sky too, the sort Mainy normally bottles. I know Jon Main brings more to the side than that, almost to the point it seems daft worrying about his aerial prowess. But the fact is Luke Moore, and Peter Rapson have looked better than him this preseason. By Jon Main’s standards, Jon Main has been poor. He had numerous efforts to notch against League Two opposition, only to see his efforts blocked by the keeper/defenders. I believe this was the first time this pre-season we have seen the Main/Kedwell combination, and it has looked the weakest of all so far.

fcum 023However, there is no need to worry. We know the Main/Kedwell combination will work, and presumably Terry has seen Rapson in training over the last year. On the subject of Rapson, as I have said previously, we should send him out on loan and see how he gets on. It’s nice to know that Moore will work out as well, a very different sort of striker, one who is going to bring the midfielders into the game. Taylor and Hatton should fill their boots when he is on the pitch next year. Of course Moore has looked equally impressive just behind the front two, a position he will have to fight Elliott Godfrey for. Which just leaves one striker to go, the physically imposing Callum Willock.

By the time I got around to writing this, it was revealed that signing Willock may be lightly more complicated than it sounds, and a deal will only be offered after the Fulham game. But with Willock looking to get signed asap, he may jump at another offer before this, and to be honest I wouldn’t blame him. How did he do? Well he looked a big feller, but had decent touch, great movement, and can play with the ball at his feet as the modern target man should.

He had a great chance to score, with the keeper stranded a United defender was quick to get into a position to block. Obviously despite the promise we need another look at him – however if Willock could have notched a couple today there probably would have been a contract waiting for him to sign a soon as he left the pitch. If it doesn’t turn out, there will be another target man along soon, perhaps a better option, someone who wouldn’t have thought of signing for us but perhaps hasn’t been offered the contract he was looking for elsewhere and as time ticks away accepts the chance to move to us.

fcum 033As for the second half, well chances were at a premium, perhaps the only United chance was a well struck free kick that slammed Brown’s right post. Before this Wimbledon had gone ahead, naturally I was having a bad day reporting-wise, so I was taking a bathroom break at the time. I immediately asked the first person I saw what happened and he said ‘Judge. Corner, I think…’. Perhaps you should go to a better blog than mine for a description of that goal… but as I always say, its my pre-season too, mistakes will be made…

Rapson finished off United when he found himself all alone at the back post to sweep home and give Wimbledon some daylight. I would imagine Rapson will be given more of a chance in the minor cups this season, having already helped us win two pieces of pre-season silverware. I noticed the Senior Cups are still being listed as First Team fixtures next season despite an FA ruling that county cups are not regarded as a First Team competition for clubs in the Conference Premier and above, and therefore should not count towards a players appearances during the season. (Can’t remember where I read that, think it was on Tony Kempster’s message board a while ago).

Finally, a massive clique alert as this is probably only of interest to the guys I went to school with, but which Plastic Womble was spotted at the FCUM end dressed in full Police Community Support Officer garb? Perhaps best know to us as ‘An Everton Fan’, this chap gave us all a bad name when he jumped ship to us in the mid-nineties, season ticket and all, before strangely going missing in the AFC era…

Wicked Whispers I know, and no names being mentioned, but if you had asked any of us who would be most likely to end up a a PCSO, I can guarantee we would have all said him! Reverting to type, he wasn’t actually watching the game apparently, I say apparently because Rick saw him, and I wasn’t in a position to give a positive ID, but it definitely looked just like him. Naturally it gave us a huge laugh…

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