There will be plenty written about the playoffs over the next five days or so, some of it by myself for this very blog or the WUP, so for now I’ll concentrate on what yesterday actually was – the final day of the season in the Football Conference. It’s going to be quite hard to avoid the P-word, our forthcoming semi-final cast a huge shadow over the event, what with the selling of tickets for the away or home leg before and after the game.
I think I was the only person in the ground actually happy that the game was kicking off later… I had an appalling hangover thanks to a Friday spent drinking, which is turning out to be one of those 48 hour efforts… I haven’t gone out and drunk so much in the course of a day for a good couple of years now (a time span that curiously coincides with our last promotion…) and I’m not planning on doing it again in a hurry unless I have a very good reason – I can think of one, but I’m not going to mention it now…
Fortunately, with Fleetwood home ticket sorted and Fleetwood away ticket sadly not required, I had the opportunity to sneak in and out of the ground without anyone noticing my fragile state. Upon entering the ground, a moment of confusion caused by the fact I still had voucher 6 left in my season ticket book (a reminder of the time I forgot it one night…) led to me pretty much tearing the remainder of the book in half attempting to remove the final voucher – hopefully not an omen of any kind, but kind of handy it happened now seeing as I won’t be needing it any more.
As an occasion it was hard to get excited about – last season I made the trek up to Gateshead to get my last proper football fix for the season (ignoring the LSC…), this time around we know we’ll be seeing the lads again one more time at Kingsmeadow and then who knows? Well, there was one Don we are very unlikely to be seeing again, but more on him later…
In terms of the game, well I’m not sure you could expect more from such an encounter. After Luke Moore opened the scoring after seven minutes I thought the Dons could be up for routing their opponents, the Grimsby players looked as though they weren’t up for a scrap and I got the impression if Wimbledon had needed three points today it might have ended up being four or five. As it was, with minds on the bigger picture, they played out the rest of the game in second gear.
The visitors casually dominated after Brett Johnson’s close range header put Wimbledon back in front, which kind of made up for momentarily switching off to allow Grimsby in for a well taken, if suspiciously offside equalizer. Aside from hitting the bar they could have come back to snatch a point… ok, the plan was to consider this game a final warmup for Fleetwood, but taking that to its logical conclusion would have seen our boys running a risk of injury and/or suspension. Under the circumstances the performance was an acceptable balance between maintaining match sharpness and self protection.
The one player who didn’t really care about such matters was Jon Main, surely making his last appearance in a Dons shirt, Main entered the fray with near enough half an hour remaining and proceeded with his attempts to make it one to remember. Of course, if Main had bagged himself a couple of goals I’ll be sitting here pondering whether we might in fact see him at some point over the next couple of weeks.
The problem is his lack of form over the last eighteen months or so has contributed to his downfall. Main came on and ran around a bit – he looked like he might threaten an admittedly lethargic Grimsby backline, holding the last man coiled up almost sprinter-like, looking to race on to a through ball that never came. Grimsby had trouble dealing with him when he did find himself on the ball, firstly Bradley Wood, obviously not aiming to win any popularity contests in South West London any time soon, blocked him off down in the corner then body slammed him to the floor. This even managed to raise the ire of the previously slumbering KRE, yet the referee saw it a little differently, somehow awarding Grimsby a free kick (which completely passed me by at the time, and I had to look it up…).
Jon Main’s contribution to our football club deserves a greater tribute than a couple of paragraphs here, and it will indeed come, when confirmation comes that Main definitely won’t be at the club next season. Things change fast in football, the choice of winner of our various POTY awards have shown that… we now have new heroes who have the opportunity to write themselves into the history books and pull off an achievement to eclipse those of even Jon Main himself.