Monday 24th October 2016
Every season we play you get games like Saturday. Even those where we have gone on to win the league. Matches against teams that everyone expects you to not just beat but take apart. Yet although it was disappointing and frustrating I have certainly come away from other games feeling far more negative.
Friday night was all a bit strange for me. Almost surreal in fact. Back in 1998 we sealed our 2nd League and FA Cup double. Marc Overmars and Nic Anelka banged in the goals as we overcame Newcastle at Wembley and Tony Adams’ ‘would you believe it’ moment depicted by his statue outside our new home put the icing on the cake of a league title success that looked miles away around Christmas that season.
On October 22nd that same year, just as we did everything we could to achieve the same again, I went to a gig at the Shepherds Bush Empire. When I went through the doors my baby sister was very much in the late stages of pregnancy. And by the time The Black Crowes had finished their set and I headed into the West London night not only was I an uncle for the first time but she had given birth to twin boys!!
18 years on and on Friday I went along to a party where they celebrated what used to be referred to as ‘coming of age’. Being quite fond of the occasional ‘jolly’ I got involved as always, doing my best to be that embarrassing uncle I hope they are proud of us much as I am them! But if I didn’t feel 28 years older than them on the night…….I certainly did the following morning as I got ready to head up to the streets of London N5!
Being away from my abode my journey didn’t follow the usual routine although once in the more familiar surroundings of our football club the match day build up certainly did. And with the nausea gone and feeling ‘back in the game’ I was as confident as anyone that we could come away from the day with another positive result.
If ever the point there is another team out on that pitch was relevant it was Saturday afternoon. Defending in great numbers and deeply throughout the game made it extremely difficult to break them down. And in the first half they not only created a couple of opportunities but they were arguably the most clear cut in the whole match. And for that our visitors deserve credit just as much as we might analyse our deficiencies.
We were better in the second half I felt and came close to scoring on a few occasions especially as the game wore on but overall we simply weren’t at our best.
Taking the positives however, thanks to good defending and a couple of great stops from Petr Cech in the first period we didn’t concede. And if you achieve that you will come out of the day with more points than you had before a ball was kicked.
And for me, when you don’t necessarily deserve to win the game it is far easier to swallow than if you completely batter your opponents without winning.
Nottingham provided a thoroughly entertaining midweek night out a month or so ago and the result that night earned us a home tie against Reading. Both clubs were of course involved in a fixture in the same competition in recent times that will go down as one of the most memorable in League Cup history.
To equal the fare produced that night is quite an ask but an entertaining evening and successful progression through to the last eight will be equally satisfying should we achieve it this time round.
Come on you mighty reds!