Crap, crap, crap. Not the Dons last night, but me sitting here on my sofa, watching Sky Sports News and writing this. It means I’ve blown my perfect sickness record for the year (and its only February!) after contracting what I believe might be the only genuine case of football-related sickness ever recorded… or it could just have been the dodgy egg and bacon sandwich I picked up from Twickenham railway station yesterday afternoon… either way I’ve always felt that spending a morning retching into the toilet bowl is a little bit unfair when you haven’t had the night of heavy drinking beforehand that normally makes it in some way worthwhile…

What? No drinking? I hear you say… well to be honest I would have had a couple of beers except for heavy traffic on the Oxford Ring Road putting a stop to all that. Then a fifteen minute wait to actually park up, in the overflow section behind Frankie & Bennies. It was probably a good thing too in the circumstances. But I’m sure your delighted to be reading this earlier than expected. In fact I know most of you are chuffed to be reading the blog at all – after a few weeks of poor service I’ve been inundated with emails from you offering genuine Rolex watches, sex drugs and the like… all at knockdown prices. Plus I never realised we had so many supporters in Africa, all wishing the Anonymous Don to join their adventure in laundering millions of pounds of cash into the UK. You crazy Africans! I wish I had time to reply to all of you…

Inside the ground, and my trusty travelling partner Maliniok was marvelling at the stadium, telling me that even Polish top flight clubs would be jealous of the facilities (which doesn’t bode well for the Euro 2012 tournament!). And while we marvel at the facilities compared to our Kingsmeadow home, you have to say it certainly isn’t anything we haven’t seen before. Take the stand we were sitting in, shorten it slightly and plonk it behind the goal and you could be forgiven for thinking you were at Mansfield. When looking around (avoiding the open end), squinting the eyes slightly and adding a bit more blue and a bit less yellow, you could have found yourself viewing a future Dons stadium.

Which got me thinking… how would we go about distancing any potential new stadium of our own from the crowd? Even in theory it’s quite difficult… my best idea yet has involved taking a notch of seating out of the stand closest to the touchline and having a statue of Allen Batsford, facing the pitch. So many clubs erect statues of legends outside the ground, facing away, even at Wembley poor old Bobby Moore faces an eternity of watching the fans come down Wembley Way then return home again, destined never to view the action or be part of the atmosphere… Perhaps behind him could be a restoration or replica of the Womble Till I Die gates at Plough Lane, little things like this that would stamp our ownership of the stadium. Even have an area of standing pods, in a corner or above existing seating areas where supporters could gather to eat food and stand together, not for the prawn sandwich brigade but first come, first served. Then if they wish to return to their seats others could take their place, one in, one out. I know it would be expensive, but why not? Anything to break the monotony of plastic seats.

On and off the pitch, Oxford have got it all sorted. They stand head and shoulders above any of their rivals. Wimbledon weren’t great on the night, the lads worked hard and caused one or two problems to their hosts, but you always had the impression they had an extra gear they could step up to if required. And for the second time in four days a Constable ruined my match experience, this time it was Oxford’s James nabbing both the goals. The first was pretty preventable as the Dons defence ended a period of twenty minutes of Jamie Pullen shot stopping practice by finally conceding. It was sloppy stuff but nothing that our hosts hadn’t deserved, although it seemed to be the wake up call the Dons needed. Wimbledon mounted a series of attacks, never really threatening except for a hopeful Nathan Elder header that bounced off the top of the bar. To be honest, despite the high work rate from the likes of Poole and Hatton, and particularly the exceptional Hendry, unfortunately none of them had their shooting boots with them – which was a problem as all the chances fell to our midfielders. It was more like toblerone boots as shots flew high and wide, threatening those Oxford fans sitting in the corners more than the net.

A lively Lewis Taylor was forced off in the first half, replaced by Jay Conroy who found himself involved in the main talking point of the second half. An attempted clearance was charged down by an Oxford man, seemingly with his arms and sending him clean through on goal. With no angle to narrow Jamie Pullen was left exposed in goal, and Conroy selflessly pulled back his man, a clear sending off but leaving the Dons with half a chance of getting back into the game. Conroy seems to be rivalling Elliott Godfrey as the unluckiest player in the squad, for every time Godfrey found himself in the way of a goal-bound Dons shot I can think of a moment where Conroy slipped over leaving his man a clear run; and for all the time Godfrey has spent on the sidelines with niggling injuries Conroy has found himself losing his place due to unfortunate suspension.

Wimbledon brought on Jon Main for a labouring Nathan Elder (presumably his ankle wasn’t quite 100%?), which added genuine pace to the firing line, unfortunately with little time to measure balls over the top the Dons midfield saw the Oxford back line easily batter away. Either that or balls that did put the hosts defense on the back foot ended up being chased down by the not-quite-as-pacy Kedwell, still a better option than watching Jon Main trying flick a ball on though…

Constable grabbed his second to end the game with around ten minutes to go, but credit to the Dons fans, most stayed to applaud the lads off at the end, despite what must have been a very strong desire to beat the traffic. At most other grounds you would say that beating everyone else out of the car park is a shameful reason to leave a game early, yet we deeply regretted not leaving early ourselves as we found ourselves stuck for half an hour without moving! Love the Dons fans reaction after, loudly wondering why there wasn’t another way out of the car park, as if Oxford would suddenly realise ‘Hey! We didn’t think of that! What a great idea!’ after several years of stadium usage…

A free Saturday follows, as the little man at Conference HQ with a pencil and eraser couldn’t work out how to produce the fixtures without leaving clubs with blank Saturdays – maybe the Conference will at least catch up with the 20th century shortly, never mind the 21st. Which probably helps the manager more than we could imagine. Potentially nine home games of our remaining fourteen remain – and I would say all of them are potentially winnable, even the visits of Rushden and Stevenage. The playoffs remain within reach, but by the time we face Altrincham, certain sides will have pulled ahead of us in terms of games played, which could leave us playing catchup for most of our remaining campaign.

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4 thoughts on “.

  1. piggeh says:

    oh – do you know where the above picture comes from ^ as I’m sure someone created that picture for my hattrick team a few years back! Would be good to have a copy as I long deleted it when my hattrick subscription expired.

    • piggeh says:

      by above picture I mean the one to the right. :p

      • anonymousdon says:

        I really love the idea of these statues (which would have to be pretty light!) bearing down on the pitch! Perhaps the floodlights could be repositioned to cast their shadows onto the pitch when the teams come out?

        As for the picture above to the right of what you wrote, and I feel we are about to enter a whole world of confusion here, do you mean the one next to your message? The gravatar thingy? I dont have the technical vocab down to a tee, it all sounds to me more like some movie where a director steals the plot of Pocahontis in order to construct a blog comment based cinema extravaganza…

  2. piggeh says:

    I thought we could go all ‘St Peters Square’ and erect statues of various legends around the circumference of the roofing. Maybe a statue of Dickie Guy/Dave beasant saving a pen, Lawrie Sanchez heading the ball in, errr.. Kevin Cooper.. Only the worthy will join the legends in the heavens of the the Dons ground and look down at what they’ve helped to create.. Elysium on Earth.

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