Malcolm Dawson writes……whilst not mathematically denying us one of the two automatic promotion spots, yesterday’s result finally extinguished any realistic hope of avoiding the lottery that is the play-offs. At the start of the season I don’t suppose there are many supporters who would have said that only losing a total of three games out of 44, two by the odd goal and one after having a man sent off early doors, would be considered a failure but there are plenty of brickbats being thrown around in the wake of our 19th draw of the season.
A draw was really of no use to either side (although Portsmouth might still get an automatic promotion spot if they can win their last two games and either Barnsley or Luton fail to get maximum points next Saturday) so I was surprised that Pompey weren’t more adventurous in their play and that they were prepared to indulge in a lot of the time wasting tactics that seem prevalent in this division and having succeeded in getting Glenn Loovens sent off at Fratton Park, seemed to be trying the same trick, this time with Aiden McGeady one of their prime targets.
Some pundit or other was saying on the radio how successful Tottenham’s season has been so far and this is a side that has lost 12 times from 36 games. The ease with which social media allows instant reaction will no doubt be rife with those quick to point out how dreadful this result was towards the end of what to them has been a dreadful season. But those taking a more thoughtful and objective view will be of the opinion that our disappointment stems from hope and expectation. Some of us hoped we might go straight back up whilst others expected us to run away with the division. Games we might have expected to have won have seen us drop points and while our record might have seen us finishing in the top two most seasons, this year the form of Barnsley, Luton and Portsmouth have meant it hasn’t. That Spurs record shows 12 defeats but only 1 draw and dropping points at home to the likes of Shrewsbury, Wycombe, Accrington Stanley, Oxford and Fleetwood as well as a failure to hold on to leads at Wycombe, Oxford and Scunthorpe have ultimately cost us a top spot.
What I haven’t been disappointed with this season, is the effort and commitment to the club that team have shown, even if they haven’t often been dominant in games and haven’t always been able to get all three points. Unlike some I can’t fault the attitude. But the big success for me, whether we go up or not is the efforts the club has gone to reconnect with the supporters and after years of being treated like a customer with my support less valued by the club than by my local supermarkets, I once again feel a part of the SAFC community. The parade of miners’ banners, one of which was from Eppleton where my dad worked most of his life and which dominated the view from my bedroom window when I was growing up, yet another example of how the ownership is trying to re-engage with fans and whilst there will be sound economic reasons for them doing so, I am pleased to see it.
Anyway, my introduction seems to be almost as long as Pete Sixsmith’s match report. He was less than complimentary about our opponents on the way home last night. Has he tempered his views after a night’s kip? Let’s find out.