I think I’ve made my feelings on this run in very clear indeed. Enjoyment is not entirely a part of the experience for me, not until I know where we’re going to finish.
Maybe I care too much, maybe I’m missing the point, but I struggle to enjoy games we’re not winning. I’m not fickle, I just have a sick feeling in my stomach at the thought of failure.
I know where it comes from, it’s the years of dirge we were served up between 2008 and 2016. It’s the stench of struggle, the insane fear of watching the club that I love so dearly ever fall into decline. I once said something along the lines of hope being integral to everything. every season you start out in August with hope, but ultimately it is that hope that kills you.
I’ve only watched us a third-tier side once and I so desperately want that experience again. In the dying embers of last night’s encounter I looked to the skies, searching for one of the Imps long since departed to give us a helping hand from above. I used to do it when we were in the National League, asking a higher entity for help. Never God, he wouldn’t give a toss about us and if he did, why favour us over anyone else? No, I’ve asked my Grandads (both of them) as well as my Uncle Jeff who I think came once to the Bank.
Last night in the 90th minute of a tough match to watch, I asked Pete Newton. Like those before him, he came up with the goods.
These equalisers, these moments that make a draw feel like a win, or a loss, they don’t happen by accident. The probably don’t happen because of long since departed fans either, but I like to think otherwise. They happen because a side fights, even when things are going badly. They come about through belief, something Stevenage had ten days ago and something our side had last night.
Launching long balls into a box filled with six-foot players helps too of course.
To whoever is sat at table 2 in Wetherspoons, Morecambe: my Dad says your welcome.
Turns out the app is more complicated than he thought
— The Stacey West (@Staceywestblog) February 26, 2019
He should have said you’re welcome, but predictive text doesn’t pick up on grammatical errors.
Let’s not beat around the bush, nor dress it up as anything other than what it was. Lincoln City were poor last night. We started well, in the first ten minutes I thought we were by far the better side, looking threatening and alive. How many times has that happened in recent weeks though? The players come out all fired up then one misplaced pass, the crowd groans and like a house of cards, it all comes tumbling down.
Is it confidence? I’m not sure it is. The 617 boys were loud and proud and I thought the stadium reacted well when we went 1-0 down and intermittently throughout the second half too. For some reason though, the players lost their composure and once it had gone, they couldn’t get it back.
Here’s something I’ve not said in a long while: few players can bring any credit out of the game from a technical point of view. Passes went astray, decisions were made that invited pressure and players looked on completely different wavelengths. I can recall too many to mention, but how about Matt Gilks playing the ball to Harry Toffolo, who failed to trap it and let it go out for a throw?
How about Neal Eardley slicing so many balls out of play he’d look more at home in a butchers slicing ham? Mark O’Hara got caught in possession more times than Snoop Dogg and Tom Pett looked as comfortable on the wing as a centre half. It was disjointed, uncomfortable to watch and it made Exeter look much better than they were.
I heard someone say they were one of the better teams to come to play us this season, I can’t let that go unchallenged. They had a couple of decent lads, sure. They played the ball around nicely too, but the space was there for them to do so. Our shape allowed them to look better than they were. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not a bad side, but were they worthy of a win? No. Newport were a better side, Stevenage were a better side and Forest Green certainly were.
How many times did Gilks have a save to make? Aside from the free kick, how many big moments featured the Scot? Very few. When they did get decent chances it usually came through our own lapses in concentration, much like the goal. It was a great free kick by the way, nobody was stopping it, not even an eight foot keeper with hands like chopping boards parries that.
Bruno felt he might have had a penalty in the first half, but I imagine looking back he will feel the warm Cowley breath on his neck as he’s politely advised not to go to ground so easily again. We’re not getting penalties when a 13st, 6ft forward is hauled to the ground so we’re certainly not going to get one when a light weight winger blows over in the breeze, or at least thinks he has.
Were they worthy of their lead at half time? Yes, they had found neat patterns of play and some penetration, but in the main it was because we were worthy of very little that they deserved the lead, not because they were the best of two good teams.