Daily Archives: August 10, 2009

Eastbourne Borough v AFC Wimbledon – A Match Preview

ebfcThe games do really come think and fast early in the season. Do I really need to write a preview yet? Yes! I won’t take a break tomorrow in order to leave work early, then I need to head off for Eastbourne at 4.30. I’m going to Eastbourne via Lingfield, as a friend of mine is going racing and its worth getting picked up from there in order to benefit from a lift back to Anonymous Dons Towers in Surbiton Village.

While I’m on the subject of that small part of Surbiton between Maple Road and the river that doesn’t really exist unless you are an estate agent, or like me a snobbish social climber who wishes to clarify they definitely don’t live in one of the ghetto areas of town… Anyway, back to the point. I had a nasty case of the Mondays today, and I only snapped out of it while walking down a side road that leads to where I live. I spotted a Dons sticker in the window of a blue Subaru parked down there, which reminded me that Tuesday will bring football, our first away trip of the season, and all the excitement that entails. So, to the owner of that vehicle, thanks a lot! (And by the way, of you live down that particular street, get in touch… you may have the pleasure of becoming the Anonymous Dons personal chauffeur at some stage in the future…).

So all this filling is down to the fact that, erm… I don’t really know too much about Eastbourne Borough. Now they were one of the few clubs I managed to knock out a Conference File for (and for those of you who missed it – https://anonymousdon.wordpress.com/2009/07/01/the-conference-files-eastbourne-borough/). A decent little club who appear to have a lot going for them… an opinion I will backtrack on in my match report if they manage to beat us…

Anyway, The Dons find themselves carrying the tag of Unbeaten In The Conference – Ever into this game. Failing to continue our winning start of season record is tempered by the fact that the last time a Wimbledon team lost on opening day was to a certain Manchester United in 1996…

Eastbourne will be looking for their first points of the season after dropping 0-3 to a Wrexham side that sound like they might be a bit of a handful this season, and probably fancy their chances of taking points off the Dons. It seems like a big crowd is expected, with the game all-ticket for Dons fans (except for those who turn up on the night with no colours…). Having taken a look at the Eastbourne side for that game, no-one leaps out except for Danny Knowles who used to play for Grays and Woking (I think…) and the much travelled Simon Weatherstone (much travelled in that I know he has played for a few Conference sides, just I can’t remember which!).

I’m on safer ground with striker Jamie Taylor… yes, that Jamie Taylor, who scored some belters for us some five years ago now (it seems so long ago…). Finally, The Sports manager Garry Wilson has guided them to where they are today from County level, but more importantly used to play or the brilliantly named Kirkintilloch Rob Roy FC…

On to the Dons. Terry Brown certainly seems confident, yet he has no reason not to be. This is where the squad really comes into play, and my expected team lineup is a follows;

442

Pullen

Garrard

Duncan

Lorraine

Johnson

Moore

Taylor

Gregory

Hatton

Kedwell

Main

SUBS

Brown

Judge

Godfrey

Hussey

Rapson

Not sure I can justify this as anything more than a hunch, but like Saturday I might be close with the 1-11 but Terry could have them playing in any formation. Moore for example could have a free role behind the front two, or on the left. If Moore plays behind the front two expect Hussey to come in at left back and Derek Duncan to move forward, Hatton would presumably be sacrificed in this situation. Hatton could also miss out if Terry favours Wellard, or gives Godfrey another go instead.

With both Kedwell and Main starting, its a chance for Rapson to take his place on the bench, unless Moore doesn’t start of course. In that situation Moore will be there as a replacement forward – a situation that those who missed pre-season are in for a treat, as he works so hard for the team. Of course there is a chance that Moore could even start upfront, especially if Kedwell isn’t as fit as he made out to the papers last week…

Picking the starting lineup seems nigh on impossible when you sit and work out the potential variations – yet last time out I got 9/11 starters… how close will I be this time. Only Terry knows…

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Second Thoughts… Luton Town 8.8.09

It was a tale of two penalties at Kingsmeadow on Saturday, and having seen the various penalty decisions from various angles I have changed my mind on both of them several times over. It really depends on what angle you see them from. First off, for those of you who haven’t yet seen this, the match highlights courtesy of AFC Wimbledon TV

http://www.afcwimbledon.tv/video/highlights/afc-wimbledon-v-luton-town/ (Sorry was hoping to inbed this but it seems I can’t do that… Oh, well, remember to come back!)

I have a habit of watching whats going on in the box and using the corner of my eye to track the ball, rather than the other way round. But even I couldn’t see what had happened at full speed. The best angle to watch from was the Sky Sports News pitchside camera (about 1.00 in below).

It was an obvious foul, however slight. Paul Lorraine lost his man, in panic reached back and grabbed a bit of shirt and the guy has gone down. Fair play to the ref, he had the confidence to give what he saw. You will hear a lot of pundits going on and on about how if every incident like this resulted in a penalty, there would be a dozen given in each game.

But the ref can only gives what he sees, and it’s really not down to him to judge the severity of the offence in the first instance, just that an offence has taken place. Perhaps if Blackett had a handful of Lorraine as well the official might have ignored it, or given the decision in favour of the defending team.

Of course no-one really minds too much if a ref goes giving tame penalties like this one, as long as there is some consistency. And Mick Harford knew that not many referees would be observant enough to have given his side their penalty when he said ‘We were worried the referee might want to even things up for the first one’…(or something along those lines…).

But judging by the damning evidence shown in both videos, I think it’s a bit rich for Mick to be moaning about that. Firstly, one absolute fact shown by both videos, which backs up what Mick and some Luton fans have said over the past couple of days, and that is there is no doubt that Blackett got a touch on the ball. The problem was, he had to go through Main to get there. Perhaps Mick still thinks its the eighties, as ‘getting a touch’ hasn’t been an excuse for hacking someone down because they got in the way of the ball since he was a trainee…

The problem is, Mick is already a manager under pressure, and following a game his side should have won, he was always going to take any excuse going for their failure to close the game out. I have no doubt it will be a very different story if some of our players don’t get up to speed before our visit later in the season, however whether Mick is still manager by then relies on Luton using their obvious advantage in terms of the quality they can field to put annoying, hard-working sides like ourselves to bed.

In fact it could be said the respective managers won and lost points for their teams. Terry Brown resisted what must have been a huge temptation at half time to haul off either Godfrey or Hatton, waiting until over the hour to do so. It’s fair to say the two of them had bad games, yetthey ran themselves into the floor making sure Luton had bodies in the way of themselves and our goal. However I think I am justified in saying neither was quick enough while in possession of the ball, yet both players are talented enough to release the ball quicker as soon as their brains catch up with them. As far as Main is concerned, he was the right player at the right time, and a huge victory for the patience shown by Terry Brown.

While we are on the subject of poor performances by midfielders, why did the moronic minority in the JSS target Hatton and not Godfrey, or even Hussey? I’m glad they didn’t because no-one deserved having ‘Off! Off! Off!’ chanted at them by their own fans… Now this really pissed me off as I only mentioned it the other day as an example of some horrific abuse given by our own fans.

Now I’m not going to go on and on about it (well I might…). It has been mentioned that this is becoming a personal crusade of mine, and I can assure you all that wasn’t my intention, but I feel I have received enough positive correspondence on the subject to justify the original article. Seriously, I can turn a blind eye to the odd muffled shout of frustration, anyone can. Rob Dunford mentioned on SW19 that he thought the idea may have been a bit naive, and in terms of attempting to create some kind of football utopia he is bang on the money, but once again that was never my aim.

All I am asking for is for certain individuals to think about the bigger picture. Once these people join together in the form of negative chanting it has gone too far. I’m not saying Wimbledon fans have always been so enlightened. I remember when Laurie Sanchez was the scapegoat for everything that went wrong on the pitch (including a few occasions when he actually wasn’t). I remember chanting for the head of Peter Withe, and screaming ‘You ruined everything!’ at Egil Olsen as he trudged off after that defeat against Sheffield Wednesday.

The difference was, on those occasions the discontent had reached a critical mass where the vast majority of supporters understood our only method of intervention was vocal, despite the obvious damage it could have caused. Today, I’m not sure any serious criticism of players or management is justified. When mistakes have been made, the time and the place to discuss them is in the bar, back at the pub, on the guestbook, or maybe as a response to one of my posts.

While we are on the subject of criticism, its now time for my AFC Wimbledon match ratings…

Pullen    7

Garrard    5

Hussey    5

Lorraine    6

Johnson    6

Gregory    6

Duncan    6

Taylor    6

Hatton    4

Godfrey    4

Kedwell    6

SUBS

Wellard    5

Main    7

Moore    6

By the way for those of you who are wondering, the marking goes something like this;

Sack him    1/2

Drop him    3

Unacceptable    4

Poor    5

Average (Acceptable)    6

Above Average    7

Good    8

Brilliant    9

God-like    10 (doubt if we will see one of these performances in our lifetime!)

I’ll probably have to reproduce that guide every week now, but so be it… 

So where does this performance leave us heading into the Eastbourne game? Well, that’s a story for another article…

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