Its taken me a couple of days to come down sufficiently from Fridays events to actually put in words what I’m thinking at the moment – these playoffs are having a greater effect on me than I can ever remember having about football (or anything, for that matter)… although it’s probably all relative, I remember being a little hyperactive before the Leicester League Cup semi among others, and I suppose its human nature to presume the event we are currently experiencing must be bigger or better than anything that has gone before.
Unlike the Leicester game, we are bringing home a tangible advantage rather than considering a 0-0 draw job done. Yes, it still isn’t quite job done yet, and we shouldn’t allow ourselves to forget that. Fleetwood still have the ability to cause us a few problems on Wednesday night if we allow our performance and work rate to drop, and I’m sure Terry Brown will insist his players approach this game in much the same manner they did Friday night.
As for Fridays performance, well, the result was beyond what I expected to say the least. Our players showed absolutely no nerves, it was the most composed performance I have seen for quite some time. Best performance of the season? I’m having difficulty remembering another, perhaps the second half against Crawley at Kingsmeadow? Lets face it, if someone had come up to you before the game and told you they had a bet on for the Dons to run out 2-0 winners, immediately you would have marked them down as the sort of casual speculator whose only previous gambling experience was an each-way on Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest a few years back.
But did anyone else come away thinking ‘that was a great performance, but the result could have been better’…? Just writing it makes me feel a little ungrateful, but had Gregan gone off for his assault on Gwillim, as he should, you got the impression the Dons would have run away with it, but besides that we had enough chances after the second went in to really kill the tie. Thats not really a criticism, I’m just rueing what might have been – especially Brett Johnsons miss. I feel a little sorry for Brett after that one, he’s been knocking them in from all over the place for the last couple of weeks then he fluffs a chance that looked the easiest of the lot. To be fair to Brett I think he was expecting Luke Moore to get a touch as the ball came across, but if it had fallen to one of our strikers they would have buried it.
For all the impressive forward play we saw I was most impressed by how solid the back four looked. The Fleetwood forwards seemed very quiet, in reality they just didn’t get a look in. I seem to remember Magno Viera having a half chance that Seb did well to narrow down and eventually block (with his face). Beyond that Junior Brown was the hosts only player that stood out… I was thinking all the pressure to be on the Dons having finished second, but the expectation from the home fans seemed to be too much for Fleetwood on the night in what was the biggest game in their history.
They have nothing to lose on Wednesday night, which still means I’m feeling the nerves a little (and it’ll be ten times worse on the night). If we can grab an early goal, I really can’t see Fleetwood getting the three they will need just to level the tie. Having said that, I’m not making detailed plans for Manchester just yet…