Monday, 5 December 2011

Once more round the block

It was a battle, it was a war, it was as close as we've been, it was the best opponents in the league. We passed through the furnace just like we knew we would have to and we now stand on the other side, a team apart, six points clear and toasting to success. This is the halfway mark, no surprises remain, we've faced every team, beaten all but one (and I assure you on the return fixture we will be coming for them like the wrath of almighty god) and this weekend beat our last challenger, ironically the last team we played before the turn-around. They were good, but I think they knew it, something we have suffered from ourselves. They tried to come into our house and tell us what to do, we allowed that for a time, some say deliberately, then turned up the volume and got the job done. I was personally proud to score our second goal (which proved decisive, though I'm not sure Mark would be happy with that description), but I'm not going to harp on about my performance. There's two reasons for that, one, as I've been made aware I spent plenty of time last week discussing my position and what I would do, that's what I did so there's no need to re-visit it (just remember though, you heard it here first before you saw it on the pitch!). The other reason, the main reason, is because in a big game like that everybody had to bring their all and fight to make that win a possibility, it doesn't matter if you're putting the ball away, making the crucial pass, the crucial tackle or marking a man out of the game. The team we played would have hurt us if there was any liability in the team, there was none.

I think that the selection issues are becoming more problematic for us H and coach. After a crucial win like that, every man deserves to be in and yet there were important members of the squad missing, players who themselves have done nothing wrong other that miss the game itself (which is a cardinal sin in its own right, but doesn't lessen their ability). It is a testament to the players who have come in to give them that problem and it's one they'll approach fairly, because fair is the only way it can be.

It would be easy for me to say that we have it easy now we are six points clear halfway through the season. If we repeated the first half of the season we would win the league that much is true, but you shouldn't need a guy like me to tell you it doesn't work like that. The next half of the season is strewn with difficult away fixtures to all of the teams making up the higher places in the table. Dangerous places to go. Our away form has been somewhat inconsistent with some of our worst performances coming away from home so good preparation and a focused minds are going to be key when we make those long trips, the other teams are not going to give up trying to catch us so we cannot afford to give up any ground. That starts next week with our last game before Christmas. In some ways it is more vital than last week. It's a bit like how a team is most vulnerable just after it has scored, our newly found gap is in great danger next week. I won't allow our Christmas to be ruined by this last game and if there is any player who thinks we have it easy from here on in, they might just be the player who helps H and coach make those selection headaches go away!

So there we go, lap one of two is over and now we have to go out there and win the second half of the season as well. Next time I'll be reporting on our last game and after that they'll be something of a 'Christmas special' blog which will feature every player who has played for us having their own 'champagne' and 'turkey' moments. I've got a few ides already but if you have any suggestions you know where to find me, thanks for reading!

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