Almost complete disaster. Massive let down. Toe-curling implosion. Call it what you want, this season is rapidly unraveling.
OK – we have injury problems. OK – on Saturday we played quite a decent team in Bognor Regis Town. But – with the expectations that we had before the season began, Saturday at Nyewood Lane was another unhappy, infuriating and thoroughly annoying game day.
When one thing attempts to be fixed, another thing goes wrong, and when something is done to fix that then some other seam splits or someone suffers from a brain fade to ruin much of what has gone before, and whatever is tried, it doesn’t work. One small step forward, two or three huge strides back.
I can no longer think straight. Some would argue that I never could, but I’m going into matches with a degree of fear in my head. I want to enter a football ground fully expecting my team to win, it’s a good feeling to have. Currently, though, please don’t ask me to exude confidence, when the whistle blows for kick-off, I am wondering how we are going to mess it up this time.
The phrase “individual errors” has come up once or twice, but why does it seem that we’re the only ones making them, or if we’re not, then why are we the only ones not getting away with them? It’s not just this season, it’s not just last season, it’s been like that for a few years. It’s fast become the Kingstonian Way.
You look at the squad listing at season’s beginnings, see their individual resumes, and think: “yep, he’s good, that’s a good player, he’ll do well” but now it’s almost: “I thought he was good, how did get in that side, what the heck do they teach at that club?” as I watch our games with disbelief.
On Saturday there were times that it looked like Bognor had more players than us, especially in midfield. In the first half we definitely lost the midfield battle, and whilst we did create one or two chances (Elliott Buchanan is one of the few who has had a good start to the season, imho), we didn’t deserve to go in at half time level after Elliott nicked one in the last minute of the half. Having said that, Bognor didn’t create too much either and you could argue that they were guilty of being a bit too comfortable.
I thought for most of the second half we played better, but we didn’t really test the goalkeeper very much at all. Ironically though, despite seeing more of the ball, we started conceding more chances as Rob Tolfrey made some good saves, though he couldn’t have done a thing about Bognor’s second goal, which was top class. Elliott came close to an equaliser but then the wheels fell off spectacularly when Louie Theophanous stamped on an opponent’s ankle (I hope without too much damage to the Bognor man) and saw red in more than one way, and as we chased an equaliser, there was another one of those individual errors at the back and a Bognor forward zoomed forward unopposed and got a third.
I just want to start the season again, let’s go back to Weymouth (turn the heat down a bit), get going with pre-season and start again. This is not what we thought would happen, and even with glass half-empty, there was no chance that we would see what we are seeing.
We will go into Saturday’s FA Cup tie against Hastings United (and yes, I did swear loudly when the draw was made…), a team in a lower division, as second favourites. For me, there is nothing for Hastings to be afraid of. They are flying at the moment, they have won every game in their division, scoring goals, keeping the oppo out, they’re at home (I love the Pilot Field but don’t remember ever winning there), they’re playing a higher level team unable to get any positive momentum going, what’s not to like for the U’s?
Apologies for the supremely negative piece, normally, especially when I used to write programme notes, I would try and see a bright side, yes we have mostly got a fine set of players (there should be no disputing that), but with such a good set of players and you have one win thanks to (funnily enough) an individual error, and have only led a match for a total of fourteen minutes all season, confidence is shredded and there isn’t currently the energy or the willingness to look for a bright side. Can we beat Hastings United on Saturday? I genuinely don’t know, I am leaning towards “no”. It’s the biggest game of the season, maybe the biggest game since that away win at Merstham (where Tolfs saved a penalty) that made sure we didn’t get relegated, maybe you have to go back further than that. I am confident that we have good enough players to win the game, but I don’t have the confidence that we can get it together and win that game, so please let me be wrong.