Hayes Lane, Bromley
The story of the last two months has been fairly simple to sum up. If we’re playing relegation rivals, we draw. If we’re playing anyone else, we lose. The sublime, yet at the same time ridiculous, 6-3 win at Dorchester in the middle of the previous eight weeks was merely the exception that proves the rule. It’s fair to say that this is not exactly promotion form. The fear is that it isn’t enough-to-stay-up form either.
At the back we’ve been largely hapless, leakier than a Haarlem dike on the little Dutch boy’s night off. In holding back the attacking tide, our defence have made like King Cnut, damp of sock and futile when put up against much more powerful forces.
As a result, we’ve added some personnel to meet the size of the challenge that faces us. First our manager hinted that what we were missing was grit, dogged experience and, most pertinently, male pattern baldness, by signing Eddie Hutchinson and Joe Dolan in the same week, neither man being greatly in need of a comb. Indeed, stand the two of them either side of an empty frame and I’d wager that both would believe it to be a mirror. Watching them shave would be both hilarious and somewhat gory.
At the same time as Right Said Fred were being recruited (are they fit to wear the shirt, or just too sexy for it?), Craig Braham-Barrett was sold to Sutton United. The message was clear; this relegation battle will be for pugilists, not for prancers. However, as this reshuffle failed to make much of a dent in our defeat collection, a little bit of extravagance has been allowed back in with the addition of Christian Nanetti, a man who shares a cultural background with Frankie Dettori, and could easily borrow his suits as well.
Extravagantly coiffured and diminutive, like a hipster pixie, Nanetti pings around a football pitch like a pinball, and gives us an extra dimension over and above the tried-and-trusted hoofola. Since the sainted Wes Fogden was snapped up by AFC Bournemouth towards the start of this season, we’ve been complaining that our beloved club have been as attractive to watch as John McCririck taking a shower. Now, with Nanetti on board, we may well have upgraded in the perving-celebrity- ablutions metaphorical stakes.
Yet, if this be so, based on this Bromley performance we’ve only moved slightly up that ladder. This performance was like catching Adrian Chiles trying out a foot spa. Nothing too offensive, nothing too exciting. Like watching Adrian Chiles at any time in fact, whether ankle-deep in a HoMedics Bubble Mate or otherwise.
One must not expect too much too soon though. After conceding three goals nearly every week for the last five or six weeks, even in the solitary win, a clean sheet was very welcome, and arguably justified the dropping of keeper Lyall Beazley for another new signing, Dan Thomas, who made three excellent saves. Bromley keeper Joe Welch was also required to save low down by Nanetti whilst Dolan and Scott Jones sent shots achingly wide.
So, not the worst nil-all you’ll see, and not the most horrifying outcome for us but nonetheless, the chance to leap-frog the hosts in the table has been missed and now, teetering just above the relegation zone, just two points ahead of Staines, albeit with a game in hand on them, there are just eight games left to save our ever-present status in the Conference South.
I don’t feel entirely panicked as yet, but that final day of the season when we take on Staines at Westleigh Park is shaping up to be the kind of winner-takes-all shoot-out that fate only throws up every now and then.
An exciting, nerve-shredding day it would be, but much as I enjoy a little brinksmanship, I’d rather have safety sewn up by then.
Previously, on dubSteps
24aug10: Bromley 1 Havant & Waterlooville 0
14apr08: Bromley 2 Havant & Waterlooville 1