Well, here we are entering the final game of the season with something still to play for this season. Thankfully, we’re not battling relegation, or fearing the worst, instead our fate is very much in our own hands currently placed 6th position in the League One standings.
Despite two losses on the bounce, at the hands of Fleetwood Town and Oxford United, we somehow have a chance. I guess it’s up to us to make the most of it then? Before the Fleetwood game, I didn’t anticipate two losses on the bounce, however both games left me with different thought processes at full time.
Fleetwood goes down as “One of those days”, we truly played the Cod Army off the pitch, and on another day would have walked away four or even five goal winners. How didn’t we score from a set play, how did Gregory not walk away with at least a couple more goals to his season tally? Even though we somehow lost the tie, we managed to retain our place in the play-offs.
Last Saturday’s performance will go down as probably the worst performance of the season, especially at home going down 3-0 to mid-table Oxford United. With nothing to play for, Oxford rocked up to The Den with the sole aim of ruining our play-off hopes. Playing with confidence and no sign of fear, the visitors played us off the park, leaving us to chase shadows for 90 minutes.
We created nothing going forward, but for O’Brien’s guilty miss midway through the second half, I can’t remember Simon Eastwood in goal making a save. Whereas on Easter Monday Fleetwood nominated their goalkeeper man of the match, the Oxford game ended on a very different note. For the second time in less than a week, I thought we blew our chance of promotion…
Despite suffering a second successive defeat at the business end of the season. WE STILL OCCUPY 6TH POSITON AND THE FINAL PLAY-OFF PLACE!!! I don’t understand how, but thanks have to go out to Phil Brown and Southend United. Viewed as the chasers, and arguably with less pressure the seaside club also suffered two successive defeats at the hands of MK Dons and struggling Shrewsbury. Also a special mention goes to Rochdale, who at one point on Saturday occupied 6th position, but handed the place back to us drawing 1-1 with Oldham.
I’m not suggesting we’re destined to now make the play-offs, but if we manage to pass by three golden chances of finalising our league position, serious questions will need to be answered by Neil Harris. Perhaps you need a bit of luck to get over the line, but Sunday we need to go out and earn three massive points.
Despite all the hope and anticipation of what might’ve been a dream season back in August, we’re now in the reality of needing four wins for promotion. An over used pun incoming, but we now have four cup finals to deal with. Play like we have done before Oxford, I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t win on Sunday away to Bristol Rovers.
Do I believe we’re going to win promotion this season? A lot hangs on not only us winning this weekend, but also who finishes in third position. Potential outcomes include one of Bolton, Fleetwood, Scunthorpe or even Bradford finishing in third position should results go their way.
Whilst I fancy our chances against any opposition in a one off game, having lost twice to Bolton this season, they would certainly be the one time I’d like to avoid. However to win promotion you have to earn it and face anyone that comes your way.
Onto Bristol Rovers on Sunday then…