June 20 2013 Latest news:
Noah Broad, London24’s AFC Wimbledon blogger
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
“In short, it was a dismal defeat to the team languishing at the bottom of the table. These are games we must win, and there can be no excuses.”
It was not a happy Valentine’s Day for the 409 Wombles that travelled to Northampton on Tuesday night. In short, it was a dismal defeat to the team languishing at the bottom of the table. These are games we must win, and there can be no excuses.
The recent snowfall enforced an unscheduled winter break, as frozen pitches meant that matches against Bradford and Cheltenham were postponed. Already familiar opposition, Bradford would have been a chance to avenge our disappointing FA Cup exit. In contrast, a match against the league’s surprise package Cheltenham would have been tough for different reasons; the Robins have barely dropped a point since we demolished them 4-0 back in September.
Immediately, it was frustrating that Terry Brown’s side were denied the chance to bounce back from the poor performance in the home defeat to Aldershot. To add to this, the rearranged matches are set to test our already small squad with a congested fixture list.
The fortnight off can perhaps be seen as a blessing in disguise: AFC Wimbledon currently have a 22-man squad, so when the injury list reads around seven names long, the extra time allowed for some key players to recover can be seen as a short-term positive.
Indeed, it is only a positive if you use the time well and come back with a fully fit squad and perform well. The fact that the next playable fixture was away to Northampton, currently rooted to the bottom of the table, would suggest that there is a good opportunity to begin to string a few results together and propel AFC Wimbledon’s name up the table.
However, we succumbed to a bitterly disappointing 1-0 defeat in a game that we MUST be winning. Our season will be defined on results against teams beneath us in the table, and yet we have now lost home and away to Northampton without scoring a goal.
The return fixture, as we will all remember less than fondly, saw the Cobblers win 3-0 at Kingsmeadow. The most depressingly hard-hitting statistic is that Northampton had not kept a clean sheet since that fixture on 13 September. They are a poor team, coming in to this fixture off the back of three straight defeats, and we rolled over to gift them another three points.
The Jason Euell impetus seemed to be the reason behind the side’s promising start to the calendar year, but on the field he has not enjoyed the same successes as fellow homecoming heroes Thierry Henry and Paul Scholes. Euell may return to Charlton this week having played only 132 minutes of football over two matches and without playing in front of his home crowd at Kingsmeadow.
I hope his loan is extended to allow Euell and the Wimbledon fans to have THAT moment that both Arsenal and Manchester United fans have both enjoyed – a goal in front of the home fans.
Unacceptable losses like this one to Northampton highlight some of the problems the team face. Clean sheets have been something we can barely buy this season; we have amassed a grand total of three clean sheets all season, which along with Plymouth is the joint lowest in League Two. You have to look all the way back to October to find the last time our defence did not concede a goal, and that was in the 0-0 stalemate away at Shrewsbury.
The one piece of good news is that two thirds of our midfield have agreed to extend their loans. George Moncur and Billy Knott have been given permission to extend their stay at Kingsmeadow by West Ham and Sunderland respectively, while Euell and Gavin Hoyte may return to their parent clubs in the coming weeks.
After all the doom and gloom about this bitterly disappointing defeat, we must remember where we are. We are still a League Two club!