Can we do it? That’s the question on everyone’s lips after the Grecians extended their unbeaten run to ten games following Saturday’s credible goalless draw with the league champions.
Paul Tisdale would no doubt have taken seven points out of nine before the Plymouth game, but with Wimbledon notching three successive victories in that time, City are still very much the outsiders for that last play-off spot.
What’s more, Neal Ardley’s Dons have a potentially crucial game in hand at home to Portsmouth, so it’s very much theirs to lose at this stage. However as we saw with Luton last season and ourselves in 2012-13, 7th place for Wimbledon is still far from certain.
Their run-in does look favourable though. A visit to relegated Dagenham & Redbridge tomorrow is followed by home ties with Orient and Pompey, before Stevenage away and Newport at home on the final day. Three wins should do it, so City will need to call in some favours, starting with Jamie Cureton tomorrow.
Interestingly, since the 2003-04 campaign 72 points has been enough to qualify for the play-offs, but that looks unlikely this year. 73 or 74 points will likely be the figure needed for the Grecians, and that’s if Wimbledon falter on the home straight.
City won’t sweat over their final two games – lacklustre Morecambe at home and a trip to face a Luton side that have lost three of their last four at home – meaning this week’s tricky double will ultimately make or break our season. Mansfield at home has the feeling of must-win about it and, if successful, a point on Saturday against promotion-chasing Bristol Rovers could be huge.
Tisdale’s men can’t worry about Wimbledon at this stage, they just need to focus on getting to that 72 or 73 point region and put some pressure on the Dons. If they can handle that pressure, fair play to them. But should they buckle, City need to be there to take advantage.
Ben Mayhew shows the League 2 probabilities after Saturday’s results as:-
You can find his narrative at https://experimental361.com/2016/04/17/updated-probabilities-17-apr-2016/, and can follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/experimental361