Tooting and Mitcham United Football Club lost on Saturday.
That’s not a phrase that we have had to utter since last season. Since last March to be exact, when we went down 1-2 v Cheshunt FC. That result was probably the dropped points that put paid to our attempts to make the playoffs last year.
This season however has started in a much more positive fashion than last year’s campaign. A twelve game unbeaten run, including seven league games, has bought a good feel vibe to Imperial Fields. Seven league games with only two points dropped is a stark contrast to the first seven matches of last year. Rather than nineteen points the team had a disappointing seven. What a difference a year makes. In truth a lot of changes, a lot of hard work and support from many people, has made the difference.
So Tooting and Mitcham United Football Club lost on Saturday.
It might not feel good to say and hopefully we won’t have to get used to that feeling, to that hangover, that comes with a weekend defeat. Saturdays result, and the subsequent sore head I am sure most of us felt over the following days, has given us a preview to what losing feels like this season. The nature of football at this level means that it is inevitable that we will feel this again. Non-league football calendars are relentless with league and cup games coming hot on each other’s heels. The hope that we hold on to is that as those games come thick and fast as do the positive results and a steady slew of points.
The management, coaches and players have big aspirations for the season. The start of the season has built a foundation for those goals to be reached. These plans are not undone by a single defeat in an FA Cup qualifying round game.
I was personally proud of how the club, as a whole, held itself after the loss at the hands of a well organised and well drilled Poole Town FC. The players, although clearly disappointed with their own performances, knowing that they had been outplayed, made sure to head straight to the seasons highest home crowd and commiserate with the fans. The management were good humoured and articulate when interviewed by local media and when speaking with the fans after the match. The fans themselves applauded there team and were in good, if not slightly deflated, spirits at the final whistle. This extended into the clubs bar, where I heard that a good number of our players enjoyed the generosity of our fans. Some not leaving until hours after the match had finished. Not drowning their sorrows, rather celebrating in the face of defeat.
Ultimately the loss on Saturday was against a team currently at the top of the league above. No shame in that, especially when we have the scalp of a team two divisions above us already under our belt.
The first defeat of the season, we have been spoilt. A proper treat to be so far into the season and yet to have tasted defeat. We held our head up this weekend and as a club we should be proud of that, let’s keep to that standard. Let’s revel in the victories and the odd defeat.