A Following Wind

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Joined: 31 May 2011, 21:48

A Following Wind

Post by JohnC »

I can’t recall a season during which so many on-field developments transpired so overwhelmingly in our favour…..

Our starters were spared any significant absence due to injury. Ward recovered from an early-season scare; Thompson – against expectations – has stayed fit; even Taylor’s injury-break partially overlapped his expected absence due to Republic of Ireland commitments. Pym’s injury came at the end of a run of very indifferent form, so Bursik’s introduction arguably strengthened the team. By contrast, many of our close rivals --Sunderland, Lincoln, Oxford, Ipswich, Accrington and Doncaster -- were ravaged by injury. Portsmouth’s top scorer John Marquis missed the game at Peterborough, as did Gillingham’s Vadaine Oliver.

We Wuzn’t Robbed
Just about all of our defeats were deserved. One might argue about the loss at Sunderland, but I think we’d better stay away from the subject of ‘dodgy penalties’.
Points weren’t snatched away from us in the last minute – except by Blackpool.
I can’t recall any cruel deflections past our goalkeeper – like the ones we benefitted from at Hull, and most recently against Lincoln.
We didn’t ship any own goals – a pleasant change from last season’s four og’s. We benefitted from three opposition own goals (at Lincoln and Ipswich and at home to Portsmouth) to the tune of five points.

Penalties largely cancelled each other out: we were awarded ten and conceded eight. We failed to convert (one way or another) only two, which is pretty good, I suggest; neither miss cost us any points. Opponents (Lincoln and Charlton) missed two, and both proved costly. Overall, penalties loomed large in….

Key Moments
No season will turn on a single event. These seven went our way:
1. Dembele’s deflected winner at Hull put some wind in our sails, coming as it did after the win at Wigan.
2. Grant’s penalty miss at Lincoln. If he scores, we probably lose and emerge from our enforced winter break twelve points adrift of the leaders.
3. JC-H’s penalty at Rochdale was very important psychologically….
4. ….as was JC-H’s late FK winner at Fleetwood….
5. ….as was Bursik’s penalty save at The Valley.
6. Hopper’s Miss (sounds like a racehorse) for Lincoln.
7. JC-H’s penalty against Lincoln.

Scheduling also worked in our favour, even though we didn’t always capitalise. Our first game against Doncaster was originally scheduled for January, during which month they won all four of their L1 games, conceding only one goal. We played Portsmouth at home after a free weekend for us, when Pompey were enduring a disappointing (on penalties, after extra time) loss to Salford in the Papa John Trophy final. The Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral broadcast rescheduling gave us an extra day to prepare for the visit of Gillingham, who arrived smarting from what should have been a demoralising defeat at Oxford, where they surrendered a two-goal lead in the last fifteen minutes.

Only two red cards, and, I think, only two or three games missed through suspension. Pretty good. I think we could easily have had an additional three or four reds.

It Ain’t Over Until….
We scored 16 of our 79 goals after the 80th minute. JC-H has seven of them, four in the 90th minute or later. Opponents scored 7 of their 45 goals after the 80th minute.
In my half-term report, I noted:
‘Only four of J-C-H’s thirteen goals have come in the second half of games, and he’s only scored once in the last twenty minutes (a 71st minute free kick at AFC Wimbledon)’.
Perhaps he was paying attention.

The Lincoln Game yielded not one, not two, but three – count ‘em: three – strokes of good fortune:
The Hopper miss;
The huge deflection on JC-H’s free-kick;
The award of the injury-time penalty.
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Joined: 01 Feb 2020, 15:52

Re: A Following Wind

Post by stumpy »

All good points John and I am a big believer that you make your own luck - behind the scenes on fitness and nutrition for instance curtailing injuries, discipline installed throughout the club to reduce bookings and sending off, never say die on the last minute goals....
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