I don’t think any of us would have expected us to bounce back from defeat in our opening League fixture with back to back away wins, but here we are, six points in the bag, sitting in fifth position in the embryonic table.
Most Dons fans have realistic expectations this season, we saw as much from my preseason poll, but letting your mind run away with dreams of another promotion push are what being a football fan is all about – yes, unless something very strange happens, miraculous even (or collectively we have severely underestimated our team), we’ll find ourselves dumped back in reality…
Yet the Dons have already settled a few supporters nerves, notably mine. Firstly, were we even going to be competitive in the new division? Stupid as it sounds, despite being quite confident, I still had moments preseason where I thought to myself ‘What if we don’t win any of our first five game? Or ten???’. I actually had the same paranoia prior to our debut Conference season, I think it was down to seeing recognisable names and automatically presuming they must be light years ahead – it’s still going to take a few games to grow accustomed to our new surroundings.
I had slightly more serious doubts over our ability to hit the net on a regular basis. We relied on Kedwell a ridiculous amount, while I suggested those goals might have to be made up across the team, writing about it and watching it happen are two different things. Four games, two goals in each, Jack Midson grabbing three but the rest being spread across five different players… you couldn’t have scripted it any better than this.
Even better, after initial concerns over our defensive performance, we’ve come up with back to back clean sheets. Ok, this had quite a lot to do with some profligate finishing from Dagenham and, by all accounts (as I wasn’t there… boo!) Plymouth. But we needed to avoid conceding, those clean sheets were desperately needed. And we’ll be better in future because of them. A little luck might have been all that was required.
We have as much of an idea where Dagenham or Plymouth will finish this season as we do ourselves, but from what we have seen it’s likely neither will be up there and challenging. In other words we don’t yet know how big these wins were, and probably won’t until we look back on the season come May. But regardless of strength of opposition, these were big wins, and I mean BIG wins for our football club. Our first victories in the Football League could have been something of a psychological barrier, to get them under our belt so early, so convincingly, so, uhm, away from home…
Now all we need to worry about is getting our first home win, which may or may not come at home to Hereford on Saturday… The flip side to getting a couple of wins and flying up the table early on is a couple of defeats will see us head in the opposite direction just as quickly, and we know regardless of our opponent’s League position, nothing is a given in this division.