West Leigh Park, Havant
Our hopes for the season are like an orange. There I said it. I can tell you were expecting me to.
At the start of the season, with them away wins and that, our orange was plump and zesty. And why not, Manny Williams was scoring goals with such regularity it was though he was working away to a speed-metal beat; the defence appeared as solid as a nun’s chastity; we had about us a play-off challenging flair.
However with our six game form guide reading no wins, four draws and two defeats, the vibrancy of our orange’s colour has dulled, its skin is waxy and pallid; its firmness and buoyancy, like a great aunt’s bosom, has gone south.
What we are faced with is the prospect of going into the harshness of winter with a damp orange so whiskery with mould that it gets shortlisted for Beard of the Year. And, lets face it, no-one wants to find that in their stocking, festering beneath the candy canes and the bag o’ walnuts.
For some reason, it just isn’t happening anymore. As my esteemed colleague Lammy recently put it, “We seem to have developed two ways of playing. 1: playing really well and not winning and 2: playing poorly and not winning.”
Often we’ll have our chances and just not be able to put them away, as with today’s game, leaving us open to the suckerpunch when the almost inevitable howler comes. Today it was Gary MacDonald who must suffer the hot burning cheeks of shame, as his throw-in went straight to Dorchester feet inside our own half, allowing Jamie Gleeson a clear run and the chance to unleash a daisy-cutter that easily beat Aaron Howe, with twelve minutes to play.
The saddest part of this is that we’ve come to expect it; dominate the first half, score none (or not enough) and to throw it all way in the second period. There is no recent evidence to suggest that next weekend’s away game at Hampton & Richmond Borough will pan out any differently.
Regardless, I’ll be there, and so will our dimmed orange, looking increasingly like David Dickinson’s cadaver. I’m not sure if in the life of an actual fruit, a Dr Who-like regeneration can occur, but with any luck the orange that represents our aspiration can be given a new lease of life in south London.