The incredible gate. Even taking into account the couple of hundred Slough fans there, there were in excess of 2000 people at Latimer Park supporting the Poppies. Or, at least hoping to see them win. I can't remember the last time we had that many or our people in one place? It must be years.
The First Half
Without getting out of first gear we eased into a 2-0 lead. It was all too easy. And as soon as our strikers got in the act we would surely finish this game. Bring on the Plastic Jocks.
The incredible gate. We all trooped up early to ensure we could all get safely into the ground. As much as we all know that we don't have a right to stand or sit anywhere in particular, it's still a shock to arrive at your usual spot 55 minutes before kick-off to find where you usually stand, all alone, is now 3 deep with people you've never seen before!
It's extremely doubtful that this situation is likely to be repeated soon, but part of me will be perversely annoyed if at our next home game at home to "Anonymous M4 Fodder FC" all those people hogging my spot aren't there again...!
The Second Half
Slough upped their game and we wilted. That's the bottom line. But the more disappointing aspect to this basic statement is that Slough adapted, and we just tried to hang on. Unfortunately this is a noticeable flaw in Dean's managerial technique. We have not unduly criticised Thomas's efforts this year. 3 defeats in 30 odd games deserves respect.
However, on numerous occasions we have seen games start to drift away from us, and looked for a little more imagination from our bench. Deploy some width. Angle our forward balls rather than simply pump it down the middle. Try to bring the ball through the middle of the park.
Rather than change things to try to boss the game we all to often rely on our immense defence keeping the other team out, whilst hoping a forward player conjures something through a bit of individual quality rather than re-jigging the team shape to hurt the opposition.
Against Slough, as the tide of the game was turning against us so obviously that even the people on the Morrisons bank could see what was happening, Dean again relied on toughing it out and waiting for the final whistle. Throwing Dubi on AFTER we had gone 3-2 down was not exactly the most sparklingly dynamic substitution ever made! When we were still in the game, perhaps getting width through Bukasa, and Hamilton, with Dubi down the middle would at least given the opposition something to think about.
Unhappily, both Sandy and Moreman chose the last few games of the season to fall some way off the pace. Dean could and perhaps should have recognised this fact before we were reduced to ineffectually chasing the game.
|"Where were you when we were shit?!"|
But enough moaning. We lost a game of football fair and square.
We had a good season. We didn't get taken over by a conman. We didn't get relegated. We didn't have to play at Non-Park. We should be starting next season stronger than last season.
We'd all have taken that at the start of the season!