Thursday, 5 September 2013

If only we could hold on to a lead…

Below is the article I wrote for the Scunthorpe Telegraph which was tweaked a bit as I blabbered on a bit and put into the sports section of today's paper. Anyway if you didn't get the paper, enjoy the read on here instead!


If only we could hold on to a lead…
The League 2 table would look a lot different right now for us if we could. We have been in a winning position in 4 out of the 5 fixtures in the league so far this season, and bar the opening match of the season VS Mansfield, we have thrown away our precious lead 3 times. Undoubtedly the most disappointing was away at AFC Wimbledon though.
Let’s go back first of all to the Mansfield match. I left GP with a great sense of optimism and was extremely looking forward to what I hoped would be a successful season ahead. Mansfield were no pushover and you could tell that they were a team who had rarely lost in the last year or so, but in the end 2 first half goals in quick succession were enough to quieten the rowdy yellow faithful who were just happy to be back in the Football League. Fair play to them!
So on to week 2 against Bristol Rovers and after taking Championship side Barnsley all the way to penalties in the mid-week Carling Cup match, the optimism grew even more… Despite not picking up all 3 points I still felt happy with the point gained. If we were to keep picking up maximum points at home, anything gained away from GP was a welcome addition rather than a necessity. So 3 games (2 League, 1 Cup) into the new season and the optimism was still there.
Dagenham and Redbridge. Ah I won’t forget the way this match ended in a hurry. After a particularly encouraging first half performance we seemed to lose all momentum going into the second and allowed the Daggers to get on top. Had it not been for some terrible finishing from the opposing team the match would have already been out of reach when Mirfin headed home to make it 1-0 to the Iron. This had come in the 88th minute and admittedly against the run of play, however, Manchester United are famous for playing poor and still grinding out results – Maybe we were going to be that type of team this season? Nah, Dagenham equalised in stoppage time after one lack of concentration in the defensive line. 1-1. Heart-breaking.
So 5 points from a possible 9 wasn’t a travesty at all, and now saw the Iron travel to AFC Wimbledon. Me and a couple others donned teletubbies outfits and headed for London with maybe slight less confidence than usual after the two disappointing draws. What followed was just… demoralising. 2-0 up at half time and deservedly so. Perfect, what an away day we thought! This changed in the 60th minute when they pulled one back. What happened next? Let’s not talk about that, but we lost. 
My optimism levels had now gone from “Play-Offs are a reality” to “I’d be happy with mid-table” in a matter of weeks. Maybe I was being over dramatic?!
On Saturday we welcomed Newport County to GP and this was a game we really needed to win, to get the fans behind the players more than anything! After 1 minute we took the lead and what had happened a week prior vanished! But once again we failed to kill the match and Newport equalised and took a deserved point back to Wales.
So what are my expectations going into the next few fixtures? Let’s not talk about expectations but more instead my hopes. I hope we can take at least a point away at Northampton and then follow that up with some dominant home performances. After all its early days and a few decent results in a row leave us dreaming of promotion once again.


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