Hope Springs Eternal In The League of Bottlers!

Feeling down after last weekend? Worried that history’s repeating itself? Fear not! You’ll feel better when you learn to embrace the flaky nature of all the other promotion contenders. Welcome to the League of Bottlers!

Last Tuesday’s results illustrated just how incapable any of the sides at the top of the table are of striking out and winning this darned league. Someone will do it, but it looks like it’ll be by default, by blowing it slightly less than everyone else did. Three sides with their eyes trained on the Football League played last Tuesday: they managed one point out of nine between them.

We felt down after last Saturday’s capitulation at Ebbsfleet, and with good reason. Wrexham showed real heart in the second half and could easily have got a point out of the game after a frantic conclusion. However, that couldn’t mask what happened in the first half. I’m struggling to recall such an abject forty five minutes from a Wrexham side, and before you wonder, I haven’t forgotten what happened against Barrow three weeks ago!

Defensively we were all over the place, and our lack of threat going forward was alarming in its familiarity. As I pointed out last week, in recent weeks we’ve only looked threatening when we take crazy risks: the Ebbsfleet game proved my point as we hauled ourselves back into the game by playing the entire second half like we were chasing a 95th minute equaliser. At least we didn’t send Rob Lainton up for all our corners after the break!

But take heart! The teams around us seem to be suffering from the same problem. Salford City are the only side in the top thirteen who have won their last two games, and are the only team in the top seven who haven’t lost in three.

Incredibly, considering our dip in form, Orient and Salford are the only sides in the top seven who have earned more points than us over the last three games. We’ve faltered, but not lost ground because everyone else is faltering too.

We now need to lean on the home form which has underwritten our promotion push. We’ve won four of our last five home games, and although I’m not going to pretend that we’re prolific at home, we have scored in eight of our last home league games. That stands in stark contrast to our bluntness in attack when we’re on the road.

Three of our five remaining games are at The Racecourse, starting today against a side which is already relegated. We’re wobbling, but everyone else is: if we can regain confidence against Braintree and maintain our home form, everything is still in our own hands.

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