Date:Sunday September 17 2006
On a nice sunny day one week ago, I sat off on my bi-weekly jaunt up the A1 from Cambridgeshire to take in the Colchester match. Surely this was just going to be a formality with three points in the bag against lowly opposition. Afterall we had put behind us that miserable home defeat against Hartlepool in the Carling Cup and had come away from the last game against Crystal Palace with a well-earned point that could so easily have been three.
The last match I had seen at Turf Moor was the Wolves match. Another match where we looked hopeless and managed to devise a system to give Wolves the bragging rights. One of the most difficult things for me, is to drive back home after a defeat, that three-hour journey back looks grim without that motivational buzz at the back of your mind that your team are playing well and winning. I am lucky that I can stay overnight at my mum's place in Waterfoot and sleep off the depression. Nevertheless it is still a struggle to drive back on Sunday morning knowing you dont feel like reading the Sunday Papers when you get home.
Anyway that was Wolves, this time the sun was shining and it was going to be easy peasy with three points in the bag and a nice trip back wasnt it? Er no, we were hopeless again and all the dreams were shattered and that drive back again haunted me once more.
Folk at the game I spoke to after the match or during it were of the same opinion. Steve Cotterill seemed to have lost the plot, the team would be lucky to avoid a relegation battle and life was not going to get any better.
What on earth was going on? I had been to only home games so far and seen them all except the midweek Carling Cup match against Hartlepool. The only one where the journey back had been comfortable was against QPR and even in that game it was more a job well done than an impressive awe inspiring win.
So following Colchester, Barnsley three days later were the next up. I was stuck in Surrey in some boring hotel completely IT-less. I didn't even know the result until Wednesday morning when I risked the wrath of my client's IT Department as I sneaked a look at the match reports via my client's laptop. What the ****? 4-2, Gifton hat-trick and we came back from 2-0 down? Naw that cant be right, someone is having a larf.
Tears of joy followed by tears of regret! Damn it, why do I always seem to miss the good ones this season!
So where were this team that had lost the plot three days earlier? My gawd we were sixth
We now come to yesterday,Stoke at the Britannia, another match I could not get to but low and behold we do it again with an impressive win 1-0 !
Wahey we are going to win the League! Well alright I didnt really say that but realising we were now 3rd, the Roller Coaster Car third from the front had started to rise again. The question now was how far to the top was it and what sort of plunge awaited on the other side?
The emotions of being a football fan strike all the time but what emotions lie around the corner?
If I was to sum up our situation, it would have to involve the word inconsistency. Our away form seems to be the key at the moment. Not only are we coming away with vital points but we also seem to be playing entertaining football. If we dont play that well, lady luck seems to be helping us out if you consider the Owls match for example.
Our biggest problem these days seems to be our inconsistent home form and I just hope the Barnsley result will be a turning point so I dont have too many more uncomfortable drives back to Cambridgeshire.
So we are definitely inconsistent, but if we remain inconsistent and can somehow finish in the Top 6, then I will take inconsistency!
It seems however that no team has taken the division by storm to date. I am not sure if we are going to see a runaway Reading or Sheffield United this season or not. However we are only three points away from the two top teams at the moment with Cardiff and Birmingham currently being the teams to beat.
Inconsistency is one thing to address, if I was to select another it would be to try and develop a killer instinct when we get the lead. Coming away from Stoke with three points was a job well done and there were lots of positives to take away from the match but for the sake of my heart, could we try and get that two goal lead please and put some of these games to bed earlier Having to sweat though over 90 odd minutes with a slender one goal lead scored after only 35 seconds is not good for my heart!
Right then we are now somehow third. All to play for and the next match up will in my opinion be the real test. Southampton have been showing good form of late and are now just behind us in the League. They are probably not relishing a visit to the Turf this Saturday and we need to make sure that with nill points they wont relish the return home. We should be on a high now, the confidence should be building. Please dont foul up this time lads, the roller coaster is now hopefully on a very steep climb for the next few weeks at least. Lets at least make sure we play entertaining football, if we dont get anything out of the match at least we can say we tried our best and my journey back might not be as uncomfortable as recent weeks. I wont really be happy though unless we get those three points and somehow manage to say we are still in the third car of the Roller Coaster. Good lord how good would it be if we even find ourselves in the second or first car?
Date:Sunday September 17 2006
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