Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Duchere: It Ain't Done Yet

To those of you looking for solace in the wake of confirmation that thanks to Hull’s capitulation the English football world will remain upside down next season, first the good news. Going into the final round of games for National, France’s third division, Lyon Duchere still have a chance of promotion. But I’m sorry to say that’s about as far as it goes. If you get to the bookies ahead of Friday’s matches you would get pretty decent odds.

Having in the previous round slid on the banana skin that was away at Chambly, Duchere last Friday went down 0-2 at home to Chateauroux. It was always going to be a tough ask, with their opponents occupying one of the two automatic promotion spots. I don’t have first-hand details of what happened, but they’ve managed to get highlights of the game up on the official Duchere site rather sooner than usual, so the pain can be witnessed. Looked like a tight first half with little in the way of chances in a game which Duchere really had to win. Then on 50 minutes a decent cross from the right was met with a deft glancing header from a Chateauroux forward, with the ball going in off the far post. That probably knocked the stuffing out of La Duche and nine minutes later the game was effectively over as a bit of trickery down the left side sucked in defenders and when the cross went to the far post their guy was unmarked and headed in. Looks like after that Duchere could have conceded more before a couple of late opportunities from low crosses went begging.

As a result Duchere have fallen back to seventh. With the other top-four clash seeing Quevilly Rouen beat Dunkerque 2-0, Rouen and Chateauroux are now sure of the top two places and automatic promotion, both on 58 points, with Rouen first on goal difference. With Duchere and Dunkerque both losing, the way was clear for Paris FC, the form team, to come through. But they lost 0-1 away at relegation-threatened Bastia, while Marseille Consolat were beaten 3-2 at bottom-placed Belfort. Now those results have some significance for Duchere as a win for either of those two and the fat lady would indeed have sung. As it is, it’s stretching a point to say that there’s still all to play for in the final round, but it ain’t done yet.

It is still possible for Duchere to get back up to third and take the play-off spot (against the team finishing third-bottom in Ligue 2, currently Orleans). All that needs to happen is first, that Duchere win away at Epinal, who themselves need to win to have any chance of avoiding relegation (they sit second-bottom). That would take Duchere up to 53 points. Second, that Dunkerque do not win at home to Boulogne (OK, it probably requires them to lose as a draw would put Dunkerque also on 53 points and at present they have a goal difference of +14 against Duchere’s +4, so we’d need a sizeable swing). Third, that Paris FC, currently on 51 points, do not win at home to Creteil (who are safe from relegation and may already be on their holidays); a draw would be good enough for Duchere to be able to overtake them. And fourth, that Marseille Consolat, also on 51 points, do not win at home to Bastia (who need to win to be sure of avoiding relegation). Oh, and fifth, that Chambly, now a place above Duchere on 51 points, do not win their final game, at home to Rouen (who do still have the incentive of the title of champions to go for).

A long shot? You could say that. I am trying to persuade my partner Suzannne that it is still possible. But being French she thinks it’s all done if you’re 0-1 down with 20 minutes to go. It talk to her (at length) about a game that ended 7-6, one at Wembley when a team was behind three times and emerged winners, one when on a dark night in Birmingham a team scored twice in the final seven minutes of extra time to come from behind. Blimey, I even stretched to being 0-3 down at home to Barnsley and coming out 5-3 winners with Steve Dowman scoring twice; but by then even I was aware it was all getting a bit esoteric. Suffice to say that come the end of this week I expect to be telling the tale of how Duchere somehow made it into the play-off and after that how they saw off Orleans to take their place in France’s second division.


a2c said...

Yeah but who does Macron support.

Blackheath Addicted said...

A fair question, any answer to which might require more knowledge of the guy than Wikopedia can supply. Given that it's the place of his birth, where he went to school, and where he met his future wife, it would be reasonable to assume that he is an Amiens supporter (they are second in Ligue 2, one win away from promotion to the top flight). However, a quick Google search of Emmanuel Macron football throws up a recent Independent article which says his wife tells him off for swearing while watching his favourite football team, Marseilles, losing. Why Marseilles? Perhaps another Addick will know.

On that basis, given that Marseilles Consolat are in the mix, it could well be that he would favour them; after all, there isn't a lot of love lost between France's 'big three', PSG (Paris), Marseilles and Lyon (Monaco and others don't seem to arouse much anger). Then again, perhaps he wouldn't want to see another team in Marseilles achieving success.

Ultimately, Duchere have the lowest average attendance in the league, so as a politician he would probably back one of the others in the hope of getting more votes.

Anonymous said...

What about Le Pen? Millwall?

Blackheath Addicted said...

Would seem the natural choice, wouldn't it Anon? But if she was inclined to look closer to home (and her policies suggest that she would be so inclined as to her the Spanners are of course Johnnie Foreigner) she must be feeling perhaps a little abandoned. With Macron presumably well-known in France for his backing of Marseilles, she probably felt she couldn't comfortably adopt them. She does come from an elitist family close to Paris, so PSG could attract her support. But they all voted for Macron, like almost all of France, leaving Le Pen just Pas-de-Calais and Hauts-de-France. Perhaps in the context of Duchere she would opt for Dunkerque (and I hereby apologise to all supporters of Dunkerque). It isn't Calais but not that far away. Otherwise perhaps she might want to consider a career in Belgian politics. I've heard of a small party which failed ....