I couldn’t make it to Wrexham in the end, either fortunately or unfortunately depending on which way you want to look at it. And now I’m worried that a pattern seems to be emerging… when I can’t make a game, we seem to lose 0-1. Although according to the BBC North Wales commentary we did sound slightly unlucky to go down in what sounded like a poor game. Returning Wombles have now assured me I was correct, and I’m looking forward to any video highlights that might become available to see the Wrexham goal – which sounded slightly dodgy to say the least.
The defeat has rocked our play-off hopes, despite remaining in the top five, as sides below us also won. Now I said a couple of weeks ago that I would prefer the points in the bag to games in hand, but the truth is we now don’t have enough of them to hold our position against Luton for example. The Hatters are just three points behind us with four games in hand, and although our superior goal difference could be considered an extra half point in our favour, can we really see them only picking up four points from those games, regardless of the opposition?
No, we are still playing catch-up as far as the playoffs are concerned. By the time we return to league action against Forest Green on February 6th, we could find ourselves well off the pace, as an albeit shaky Kettering side face Gateshead and Crawley, Luton play Histon and Ebbsfleet, and Rushden are up against Wrexham and Hayes – and play again on Tuesday 9th against Eastbourne. So by the time we visit Cambridge, a tricky journey at the best of times, coming back with three points will be essential. With back-to-back Tuesday night visits to Luton and Oxford following, come the end of February our play-off odds will be a lot clearer.
We face two cup games this week. We face Camberley in the SSC on Tuesday and its unlikely we will see a Dons side as strong as the one that overwhelmed Ash in the last round. I will expect a side full of Marcus Gayle’s young Dons should be enough to overcome our CCL opponents despite our opponents currently enjoying second place in their division, and an extended run in this competition would give our youngsters some great experience.
However, Saturdays game with Workington will be the fixture Terry Brown will be focusing on. The FA Trophy has always been our target, and with a place in the quarter finals at stake I think we are all hoping for a professional performance against our Blue Square North opponents. Lets hope more than a couple of thousand can be bothered to turn out this time, as this is a competition we can genuinely win… I’m not sure we can overturn Oxford or Stevenage in the League, but as we have already seen in a one-off game against either of them we have nothing to fear… although a two-legged semi-final could prove more tricky!
The luck of the draw could decide how hard the route to Wembley will be, and lets not assume the Workington game will be a walkover… they are a tough BSN side and Wimbledon will have to be at their brilliant best to overcome them. Anyway, more about both cup games later in the week. All I can suggest is that we don’t look too closely at that League table in the coming weeks, so lets allow ourselves to be distracted by the Trophy!