AFC Wimbledon contributor Mark Hendrikx reflects on his love for a particular yoghurt as he discusses the match against Charlton Athletic.
Around six months ago, maybe a little more, I was in Kingston with my four-year-old son. He was complaining continuously about being hungry.
These are the trials and tribulations of being a parent. We always find something, somehow, and I walked into a small metro/local supermarket and picked out a yoghurt pouch. I had never heard of the brand I picked up but the logo looked smart and it was his favourite flavour: Strawberry.
Being a reasonable parent, I didn't really look at the ingredients but I did check the sugar content as I wasn't keen on having a four-year-old who was going to end up on a sugar high.
But I did find the name of the brand interesting: The Collective. Little did I expect that this yoghurt would become my favourite, let alone his. Even my 11-month-old daughter goes apocalyptic when I reach for one in the fridge. It is smooth, tasty and very well made. Unlike anything we saw at Kingsmeadow today.
Today's performance by AFC Wimbledon can be summed up by one word: Disheveled. I have not seen a game of football so incredibly lacking in quality as the first half in front of us today against Charlton Athletic.
The referee did himself no favours by being incredibly over-zealous by dishing out cards very easily and for innocuous fouls. Instantly when Robertson was given a yellow card for a foul that Charlton scored from, I voiced my concern that, "Someone will end up being sent off today." A few people around me agreed with me, and my point was shown to be correct by the end of the match. But for what? I shall explain later.
I found, as the first half of football continued, my attention was waning and I started to find corresponding on my mobile phone was more interesting than the match.
AFC Wimbledon could not conjure up two passes without one going astray and the groans coming from all four corners of the stadium were deafening.
I cannot, I simply cannot pick out one player who performed well during the first half of that so-called League One encounter.
There was no fluidity to our game, we didn't ooze the class we usually do on our patch in Norbiton. And "to be fair," as Stuart Deacons from the 9YRS Podcast would say, Charlton were no better.
You see, when it comes to yoghurt I find that the thickness of the food has to be right. And the balance of the sourness of natural yoghurt versus the sweetness of the flavouring must be at the ideal ratio. So during the first half I started to yell at the players, "C'mon Lyle!", "Go on, Tom!", "Pressure him, Dom!" and "Go on, Jake!" My friend Jim, sat next to me leaned forward and somewhat whispered to me, "You know there is a collective for all the names you are calling out?" I looked at him pointed at the pitch and told him flat out, "They are no collective. That is not the AFC Wimbledon I know."
Everyone was the anti-Collective. No cohesion at all and to boot none of the supporters had any reason to taste anything but bitterness oozing out of Karl Robinson's team. They were, after all, leading due to a simple free-kick. But they should never have had 10 men left on the field at half-time. Goal-scorer Holmes' horror-tackle on Lyle Taylor only warranted a yellow card, not the red card I talked about earlier.
Quick history lesson for those not in the know: Karl Robinson used to be the manager of Milton Keynes Franchise. We do not like him. We do not like him at all. He was a derogatory, horrible man whenever he talked about us in the past. So we gave him his comeuppance: Every chance we had, we informed him of our dislike toward him. Even when the linesman nearest to the Charlton fans was struck by a missile from the south-east London 'Collective', we still maintained a togetherness of chanting our dislike of the man.
But that all came crashing down when our Captain Fantastic, Barry Fuller, seemed to have dislocated his shoulder. And then, abruptly, the first half ended.
Much to the delusion of the Charlton fans, who must have thought the world was their oyster, we watched the players leave the field and were close to booing the Wombles. But whatever came about during the half-time team talk worked.
The Wombles emerged with a structure, sense of belief and purpose. They moved the ball forward, not backward, and realised they were losing 1-0.
But one ingredient was missing - the ability to actually pass the ball in the direction required. Passes were being smeared all over the pitch, just never in the direction intended.
Charlton were becoming more and more dangerous to nicking another goal as the game went on but thankfully that didn't happen due to a moment of sheer smoothness.
For once we passed in the right direction: An assist by Tyrone Barnett (the scorer of our winner away at The Valley) and Tom Elliott slotted in from a difficult angle in the 92nd minute.
And then the red card was awarded. For over-celebrating a goal. I honestly saw the referee pull out a red Strawberry Collective pouch out of his pocket and not a card when he decided to send Elliott off.
Because he was waiting for his moment to show off his collective similarity to most of the referees who have managed our matches this season: They are all making massive errors on big days.
Just like the day I introduced The Collective Yoghurts to my son and family. That was the biggest error I have made. Simply because no other yoghurt comes close to being as good.