Daily Archives: January 29, 2010

‘We’ll Never Make It Back To Wembley’ Part Three (or Workington Match Preview)

I faced a difficult decision on Tuesday night. One one hand I had every intention of going to watch a mix-strength side take on Camberley in the SSC. On the other, I was freezing on my way home from work, which was a fantastic time for my wife to call and suggest a takeaway, some wine and a movie. So I faced that classic dilemma; AFC or KFC? Dons or a doner? Vino or the team-o??? (Yeah that last one was a bit desperate).

If it had been any other competition, even an FA Youth Cup game I would have been there like a shot. But faced with watching a group of promising youngsters getting kicked around by an experienced Combined Counties side while our senior players looked on and avoided injury left me feeling a little flat. Big props to the 410 who did turn up though, I’m sure the vast majority wished they hadn’t bothered after we squeaked through on penalties.

I’ve always thought the SSC was the sort of unloved competition worthy of experimenting on, i.e. play the early rounds during pre-season, straight to penalties after 90 minutes, turn the whole thing into a 5-aside tournament and play it over a morning at Goals…

Yet now we turn our attention to a rather more prestigious competition, and one that rewards success with a trip to Wembley for the final, with the merchandise windfall that goes with it. Hopefully a place in the quarter finals will be enough to tempt the many that failed to turn up for the Boreham Wood and Altrincham games and ensure at least a half decent atmosphere at the Meadow.

After eliminating Altrincham we now face the other unsuccessful side in the 1977 League election process, Workington. The phrase ‘grudge match’ has been used elsewhere, and if its going to bring the crowds in then why not? As we ourselves now know, League membership should be regarded as a treasured gift – yet it’s only when League status is lost that you really notice how much it means. Having said that I doubt the Workington supporters will be heading down with torches and pitchforks in search or Ron Noades (and if they were, I might join them…).

The Reds come into the game off the back of a nine game unbeaten run in League and Trophy games, including the prized scalp of Rushden. I would imagine the long journey and unfamiliar surroundings of Borough Park played a big part in this, which should underline why a replay on Tuesday night in Cumbria could prove as disastrous as a defeat. However their build up to the game so far seems to have involved quite a lot of hot air, not in a disrespectful way, and manager Darren Edmondson seems confidence that focusing on work rate and battling qualities will be enough to see us off. If indeed he has ‘studied tapes’ of our matches, I can only presume he would have realised by now his side will need a deeper game plan than that – or cross his fingers and hope we have a collective off day…

As for our Dons, I can only presume TB is currently pinning up the press cuttings in the dressing room as we speak (“Wimbledon used to be a team that was feared but that was in the days of Vinnie Jones. He’s not around any more so our lads have nothing to be scared of.”). Our new signing Josh Parker from QPR (why is it that every other teenager around at the moment seems to be called Josh?) is immediately available and with the loss of Ross Montague to what seems like a long-term injury  (just when he seemed to be finding his feet…), it is likely we might see Parker appear at some point. I have to say during his time at the club, Brown has proved an expert in the loan market, from short-term options like his late season five-player shuffle that got us through the Ryman playoffs to long-term signings such as Elder, he always seems to find the right player. Hopefully Parker will reinforce this reputation.

Apart from that he seems to be playing his cards close to his chest at the moment, so I’m not even going to make a fool of myself by predicting the line-up today. Either way, so long as the lads perform as we know they can, it is odds on we will find ourselves one step closer to being the only group of fans to see their side win the FA Amateur Cup, FA Cup and FA Trophy…

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