I didn’t go to this match. I knew fully well we wouldn’t win. Lightening doesn’t strike twice and we had already beaten Premiership Bolton to then get Sunderland in the League Cup. Furthermore, our league form has been nothing short of woeful so why on earth would I want to travel 220 miles there and 220 miles back on a Tuesday night to see us get hammered by a premiership team?
My son went though. He had to leave town at 1.15pm to get there and he got home at 3.00am – that is dedication or madness. Maybe both.
And as I knew fully well would happen we did indeed get beaten. Only that wasn’t the full story.
Reidski came up to see me last night. I know it is appallingly rude to have a mobile phone switched on when you are with someone but he understood that I needed mine to hand last night just to keep up to date with just how many we were losing by.
20 minutes in and we were 1 nil up. This did not disturb me as we have frequently these past weeks gone one up and have still contrived to throw the lead away – and that against the likes of Tranmere and Huddersfield so what chance did we have against Sunderland? I was though told we were playing Sunderland off the pitch. All that meant though was that Roy Keane would give all his players a bollocking at half time and they would destroy us in the second half .
80 minutes in and another text arrived. I fully expected to read we were now behind but instead I learnt we had just gone 2 up. Still I maintained we would lose, but at that moment I did have secret delusions of another great cup upset. I know! Stupid or what?
5 minutes later and Sunderland have pulled one back. By now we are in the car with the radio on . There was three minutes of injury time to be played…..and we conceded again in the third of those flaming three minutes. Extra time beckoned.
In extra time we dominated but could not score and so the match was decided on penalties. One day I just know the side I want to win will win a match on penalties. If I live long enough that is. Yesterday was not that day. I was nearly in tears when with the tally standing at 4-3 after they had taken 5 penalties we had our last one saved. God knows why I was so upset as it isn’t often I have the chance to say “I was right!” I knew, as already mentioned more than once, that we would not win at Sunderland.
But everyone who was at that match – including Roy Keane and, going by what I have read, all the Sunderland fans too – said we were robbed.
There is something about a love for a football team. At my level you get let down by the team over and again. You think to yourself “Sod them. It’s over between us! I will NOT be getting another season ticket in 2000/2001/2002/ (insert any old year - the same will always have been said)” Then something like last night happens and the love affair is well and truly rekindled and you suddenly just know that a turning point has been reached and your side is now going to make that charge to the top of the table.
(Bet now on the dead certainty that Brighton and Hove Albion will win at Northampton this coming Saturday.)
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