Monday, 10 August 2009

Playing the long game

When you’ve just lost the first league game of the season 3-1, at home, to one of the sides you might not instantly fancy to be ‘contenders’, emotions are bound to be mixed. More so if your pre-season has been a series of tough matches against superior, higher league opposition (plus one of the sides you left behind last year, who you only beat on penalties). Mix in triumph-turned-to-tragedy (the Division Three Championship, then your young captain’s terrible death) and a blend of upcoming youth and incoming experience which has yet to gel, with obvious gaps at the back and at the front, and… well, there’s an awful lot to contend with, and much less to go on than you’d like.

Suffice to say that Dumbarton manager Jim Chapman has his work cut out in the coming weeks. Alloa stung, undoubtedly. But it is only the first game. As a friend commented to me in an email yesterday: "We had seven clear cut chances and scored only once. They had three and converted them all. But no panic. 35 games to go..." What's more, we doubted many times last year, before that stunning seven-match run-in to glory. I stick by my judgment. Jim’s the right man moving towards the right blend on and off the pitch. We’ll finish mid-table. Or better. Then again, as Arsene Wenger commented earlier this week: “Football is unpredictable” – unless you’re the Old Firm in Scotland or the top few in England, perhaps, and even then…


Fr Kenny said...

Don't be down about losing to Alloa. Believe me, they will do well this year and may be promotion contenders. Their manager, a personal friend of mine, Alan Maitland, has always been successful although he is derided for never having played professional football. An excellent man, tactically astute, with a flair for picking up ordinary players and bringing out the best in them.

Goals will come! Worry not!

Simon Barrow said...

Interestingly, the bookmakers have reached very different conclusions about Alloa.