Yippee! The opportunity for a short post-match report. In truth the game should have been declared over after five minutes, by which time whatever game-plan Ablett had sent Stockport onto the pitch with had gone out of the window. What followed was entirely forgettable, but after two defeats out of three at home there’s no moaning from me over the team taking a day off and coasting. There’s plenty of challenges ahead which will test the energy levels. So the day will live long in my mind for the opportunity to shake Killer’s hand in the club shop and if we get promoted it will be viewed as a good day in the record books. At this stage of the season that’s fine.
No real surprises in the starting X1, with Reid starting this time, Bailey and Racon in central midfield, and Mooney and Sodje paired up front as at the start against Southend. There was a case for a change, given their previous showing together, but no matter. The game had barely started before a cross from the left resulted in some beach football exchanges of headers and the ball coming off one of theirs and nestling in the net. Sorry, but I just love games where you’re gifted a perfect start. And it got better a few minutes later. Decent enough cross and Sodje had the time and space to pick his spot with the header. He may not always look elegant, but that’s five goals from him now in seven starts and eight substitute appearances. Killer would have been pleased with that himself.
All that could happen after that start was that we would drive on and score a bucketload, we would relax and they would get one back and suddenly we’re in trouble, or we would relax and they wouldn’t score. It proved to be the last of these. Having bemoaned the tempo with which we've started so many games of late, a key factor in us often having to chase the game having gone behind, to be 2-0 up so early on was a very pleasant change. The rest of the game? We had a few more chances, with Sam and Mooney both failing to convert from good positions (and it is getting to the stage where a few goals from Lloyd wouldn’t go amiss). And they had their moments too in the second half. One cross flashed across the face of the goal, Elliot flapped at one cross and missed, their number 10 had a couple of shots, and one moment of confusion between Elliot and Llera nearly let them in. But when you find yourself reading the programme during the game you realise that it just isn’t a classic in the footballing sense. Take the points and go home.
So no player ratings; it really isn’t fair to judge players individually for that sort of game. For what it’s worth the defence deserves credit for a clean sheet and I have to say I was a little surprised that, after Solly had come on for an injured Jackson in the first half, Parkinson made a further double-substitution with about 15 minutes left. Burton and Wagstaff came on for Sodje and Sam. OK, but if we’d picked up an injury then we would have been down to 10 and this was no afternoon for letting anything slip.
Now its off to another, less des-res part of SE London. I shan’t be making the trip. For many years of my youth I lived in Ilderton Road, Bermondsey and I’ve done my time at the Old Den. I’ve never visited the New Den and somehow doubt that I ever will. It will be another afternoon for taking the points and moving on. If we do, like today I couldn’t give a monkey’s about the entertainment value.