Well, I woke up this morning and the world looked the same shades of grey it had done at 4.50 pm Saturday.
Replaying the video of the match (in our household it is not a good idea to suggest that we watch football on a Saturday evening), merely intensified my mood of gloom and despondency. To make matters worse, if that were possible, the Baggies won: it was hardly comforting to know that it came at the expense of Birmingham City.
Of course, as MM is wont to say, there are positives to be taken from the game. It`s just that they seem immaterial at the moment and in any case they don`t put points on the board. Yet again we have thrown away a one-goal lead. To date, that has happened in three games out of five, two of which we have lost. We are also two points down on the equivalent fixtures last year. We can argue that the team is stronger this time round (and it is) but where are those battling draws, which did so much to keep us up last season?
I can`t really blame the manager or the team. The lads played reasonably well, even if Fletcher seemed uncomfortable (nice goal, though) and Foley looked a little leaden-footed (nice assist, though). Stearman surpassed my expectations as a central defender (hardly surprising, I am not a fan) and by the time he had made his obligatory blunder, the game had gone. Manciennne is settling down and his pace came in handy when he raced back to tackle Keane.
We competed doggedly against a demonstrably superior team, in which Bale and van der Vaart were outstanding, and kept them at bay until the last lousy thirteen minutes. That`s a mere 728 heartbeats, though by then my resting pulse rate had quadrupled. I was sweating … looking at my watch every fifteen seconds … willing the seconds away. On the other hand, Dennison`s tone was reassuring … time grudgingly ticked by … and I began to think about daring to hope.
Aarrgghh!! I had forgotten that Ward, along with Stearman and Zubar, are prone to disengage their brain every now and then. It`s an even greater worry that these aberrations seem to occur at moments calculated to cause maximum damage. If Ward intended scything Hutton down, why didn`t the red mist descend near the half-way line instead of in the box? We don`t have to encourage the opposition. The goal sure as hell pepped Spurs up and propelled them forward towards a winner, which sickeningly seemed as inevitable as the one last week.
We were unlucky too. Heads did not go down after the equaliser and we might have retaken the lead. In the build-up to the second goal the referee took out one of our players (what`s with referees and the Wolves?) and at the other end a fortuitous deflection off Mancienne presented Pavlyuchenko with an unmissable opportunity (unmissable, that is, unless you are Ewelumo or Vokes). The third goal? Well, that`s Stearman for you.
We surely are too good to go down, aren`t we? When all our crocks and walking wounded are injury-free and full fit (… and wouldn`t it be nice if Milijas`s personalised training programme will enable him to ‘put in a shift`), we`ll show ’em … won`t we?
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