Last season we played Portsmouth in the quarter finals of the FA Cup and lost. A couple of weeks later we played them in the league and won - a moral victory seeing as we were already guaranteed safety, and we would have much rather had the semi final win. This season we played Bolton in the quarter finals of the FA Cup and lost. A couple of weeks later we played them. Again we won, but the circumstances meant so, so much more than getting to Wembley. I'll take the three points over the FA Cup semi final. As for the title of this blog, well, it alludes to quite a few areas. The first one being of course; the players.
I don't know what McLeish has been feeding them during the international break but I hope he carries on giving it to them because they were on fire today. The tempo from kick off was great and we got an early goal which showed just how up for it they were. The defence were especially superb, especially in the last ten minutes when Bolton were piling on the pressure they coped with everything. And then the man behind them too, England's rightful number one it seems, had another blinder today. We really have been blessed with great goalkeepers over the past couple of seasons and some of the saves Foster made today really could be put under the bracket of 'world class' - take note tonight of two he made right at the death, one of which God only knows how he managed to tip it over!
The midfield were also excellent, they kept the ball superbly and some of the balls they were playing made you wonder how we are in a relegation zone (and then you remember performances like Wigan away and realise why!) The partnership of Phillips and Jerome up front worked really well, and hindsight will probably tell you Phillips should have played more this season, and definitely should have played in the last game against Wigan.Those two up front seem to be just the right mix: Jerome to win the ball in the air to knock down to Phillips who will always do something for you.
The next subject the title of this refers to is the performance as a whole. Every single one of them were up for it today. All of them. They were a team today, and defended not only for the cause but for each other as well. I cannot fault any of them because, although there were some misplaced passes and times we/Jerome should have scored, they all gave it everything today and at the end of the day we came away with three very valuble points - so we can;t complain can we! What summed it up for me was when Roger Johnson came over to the Tilton at the end to applaud us and he started pumping his fists and shouting. That's passion. And that's what every single one of them showed today.
The final thing the blog title can apply to today is the fans. We came out in our numbers today and sung, cheered, applaud the team onto victory. It is a cliche but we were the 12th man today and although we went quiet towards the end because of the nerves, but the rest of the game the support was great. With just under 3,000 going to Blackburn next week we should look to create another great atmosphere but today proves just how much it helps the team.
We can forget the missed chances, the dodgy decisions from the linesman and anything else for that matter: all we needed to do today was pick up the three points and we did. Well done to every one today. You were all absolutely brilliant.