At 5 pm yesterday, I let out a little sign of acceptance as I realised I’m living in a continuous loop.
Like Bill Murray on Groundhog Day, I could predict what comments I would see on Twitter immediately after the game. ‘It was the worst performance ever’, ‘bored’, ‘need a striker’, ‘ley’s see Stacey West put a positive spin on that’. On the field, it was the same as well; the better side on the ball with missed chances the difference between cheering fans and mass overreaction. The dissection was even the same; new players not good enough, wait until January, should be winning games like this. It’s almost getting tiresome. The same faces are desperate to ‘tell it like it is’ on social media (some of which were doing the same the year we drew 2-2 with Carlilse at home, yet still won the league), and the customary tweet accusing me of towing the club line. Honestly, I was ready to write about the game when I got in, but instead, I just didn’t. Because, like Groundhog Day, I’ll be writing the same stuff I’ve written for the last couple of months.
For those who think Mr Sycophant Gary Hutchinson will always put a positive spin on things, I’ll get it out of the way early, then you can get back to the pit of self-loathing you wallow in, and I can focus on ‘telling it like it is’.
1: First League One clean sheet of the season.
There’s no disputing that, right? It was the first League One clean sheet of the season, and our second clean sheet in a row. We’ve now not conceded for 220 minutes (plus maybe 15 minutes or so injury times) of football, and I’ll grant you Bowers and Pitsea were opponents for 90 minutes of that, but given how we looked susceptible every game at the beginning of the season, that’s not such a bad thing. However, those who tell it like it is (I’ll drop the punctuation) will tell you the quality of opponent has gone down. Glass half empty, etc. The absolute truth is Lincoln City never looked like conceding yesterday, and you can say it was a poor opponent if you want, but it doesn’t change the facts.
2: It’s a point away from home
Doncaster is a ground we haven’t won on since 2004, a ground we haven’t had a point on in more than 17 years. We’ve gone there, with them having lost one in six, with them having won four of their last six at home, and taken a point. I know it could (and should) have been more, but is that the sort of game that can be described as the worst in years? By God, I hope not; I remember Gillingham away, Southend away, even Morecambe earlier this season. I remember Oxford at home as well (0-6), were they all better? Really? I’ve managed not to go to losing against the likes of Welling and Salisbury, because people don’t like the ‘look where we’ve come from’ mentality, but the truth is I’ve seen much, much worse performances than yesterday every single effing season since the first time I stepped into the ground. Hell, for those with really short memories, Fleetwood at home last season? Rochdale? Come on, seriously.
3: We could easily have won the game
Fact. If we’d taken our chances, we’d have been 1-0 up inside ten minutes, 3-0 by half time. Sure, they didn’t flow like England v San Marino (rubbish opposition by the way, nothing to see here, etc), but we were the more creative side. If we don’t take chances, then we don’t win games, but you worry if we don’t create chances. We did create enough to win the match yesterday and I firmly believe had we scored early doors, the floodgates would have opened. This is a Lincoln City forward line depleted of talent (Tom Hopper injured, Anthony Scully half fit, players missed in the transfer market), and that’s clear. Also, some of the new signings haven’t had the effect you’d hope, they haven’t become key players, they have missed chances, but we are creating. What makes me howl with laughter, like a werewolf howling at the moon, are fans saying ‘Tom Hopper would make a difference’, when those same fans were calling for him to be replaced last January?
They’re the positives; they were the reasons yesterday wasn’t the outright disaster that the vocal minority thinks it was. If I see the game different to you, fair enough, I can’t make everyone like me in the same way I don’t really like everyone. However, at least be respectful. This site (hopefully) got it’s decent reputation from actually telling it like it is, reflecting the good and the bad, not just lifting the stone and pulling out the dirt and bugs. There are very few games where everything is bad, very few indeed, and I will always pride myself on polishing the nice face of the rock, before showing you what’s underneath. I just genuinely wish that the vocal minority would have the decency to do the same, for all our sakes.