If the first half of the season was a joy to behold, recent form has suggested that I’m not quite as good at this game as I thought I was. January to March sees a slip of title-threatening proportions.
Coupe de France
Having met the board’s expectations by December, I was secretly hoping that we could go a bit further and give maybe even give a Ligue 1 team a scare.
The round 9 draw is favourable, and we chalk up another victory against lower league opposition, scraping through 3-2 aet. Round 10 sees us up against Ligue 2’s FC Nantes, and given the previous tie’s performance, I’m not looking forward to it. Pfft, why was I worried? We pump them 4-1 in one of our most impressive performances of the season!
Round 11 fixtures come up around the end of February, and we’re playing Ligue 1 team, Angers SCO. This is where we should be testing ourselves, and that’s certainly what we do. We go down 3-2 aet in a game that the stats said we should’ve won.
Championnat de France National
And that’s where the good news ends, I’m afraid.
The defeat to Angers SCO is the second game in a run of 7 consecutive fixtures without a win. 6 of them are in the league, meaning that the lead we’d built up – we were 11 points clear at one stage – is now down to a measly point, with only a handful of games remaining.
January’s form was fine; it’s February and March that have broken us. And a couple of morale-destroying team talks have not helped.
Ultimately, we’ve done enough to more than exceed board and media expectations – I think the worst position we can finish now is 4th – but to not get automatic promotion after the form of the first half of the season would be a disappointment. Although, we’re still a part-time team who only draw crowds of around 300, so we’d likely come straight back down again.
It’s in our own hands. We can still win the title. We just need to win a game or two…