Greetings from Northern Ireland! (At least that’s where we’re supposed to be when this gets published, Manchester Airport clusterfuck permitting.) Apparently, it’s not really appropriate to wear a balaclava here. Or a Celtic scarf. Or a ‘Bollocks to the Jubilee’ t-shirt. Hmph.
Steve Evans claims that John Sheridan shook his hand at full time at Stevenage and said, “we’ve just turned up with balaclavas and stole the points”. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! What a magnificent, pisstaking shithouse. I’d say that tax evasion is robbery as well Steve, but that’s another story. The advantage of not being at the match and following it on Twitter and the BBC website was that I didn’t realise just how under the cosh we were until reading the match reports. On the other hand, I was refreshing the BBC website at 5pm screaming “WHY THE FUCK ARE THEY PLAYING SO MUCH INJURY TIME? DID A PLANE LAND ON THE PITCH OR SOMETHING?” Imagine how we laughed when we found out that the reason for our prolonged agony was that a corner flag broke, and it took five minutes to replace it. League Two, ladies and gentlemen. League fucking Two.
(Not, sadly, from last Saturday’s post-match interview. Maybe him and Mo should swap hats.)
By all accounts, we were really up against it at Stevenage, and it sounds like exactly the sort of game we would have lost by 3 or 4 earlier in the season. Piergianni was immense and won everything in the air – it turns out if you play him in a back four and let him do what he’s good at, he’s a good solid centre half at this level. Put him in the middle of a back three and ask him to play it out from the back, not so much. But what do I know. If we had a bit of luck, then God knows it’s overdue. There was nothing lucky about the goal, though. Brilliant Hollywood pass from Clarke, and a great header by Hopcutt to bury it. I have to admit I was less than enthusiastic when I saw that Hopcutt was starting and, well, seriously, what do I know.
It was a must-win game, and we won. We’ve still got a mountain to climb, but we haven’t plummeted to our death off it yet. Just the small matter of Port Vale (currently 3rd) today, Northampton (4th) on Good Friday, and Forest Green (7 points clear at the top of the league) on Easter Monday. But we’ve given ourselves a chance, after being dead and buried in January, and Barrow have got a worse run in than us. And who’d have thought we’d have put 5 past Forest Green at Boundary Park? Conceding 5, yes, that was exactly what I expected. It’s a strange league, and strange things happen. And it’s in our own hands.
We all know there’s a bigger fight to be fought for the club long term, as the joint statement yesterday by Push the Boundary and OASF made clear, but we need to get behind the team to give ourselves the best possible chance of winning that, too. Safe journey and cheer the lads on for me if you’re going to Port Vale. Tiocfaidh ar la.