It’s game day, and it’s a strange one. The original plan would have seen us being away this weekend and missing the game against Barrow as we would have been in Leicester preparing for a Paul Weller concert at De Montfort Hall, a perfectly acceptable reason to miss any home game. Plus, a weekend in Leicester would have meant meeting up with old friends, and we’d also got a Van Gogh immersive experience at All Saints church booked in (me more for the chance to nose around inside the medieval church than for Van Gogh).
Instead, I’ve got the lurg, which meant we cancelled the entire trip to Leicester. And not wanting to cough over anyone (I’m mainly thinking of the two Murray Goldbergs who sit in front of us), plus still not feeling great, I decide I’m not going. Helen is umming and aahing and makes the decision to go by herself late on. I doubt she would have made it in time for the kick off, and all the programme sellers will have disappeared.
Since our last game, there was a mid-week defeat away to Salford City, and our scheduled away game to Sutton United was postponed as they’d made it to the Papa Johns Trophy final. Inaction coupled with other results saw us slip back into the bottom half, and we start the game in thirteenth, eight places and fourteen points ahead of our opponents today, opponents who are only three points above the relegation places.
And so, I’m at home “watching” the game with Gillette Soccer Saturday on the TV, and BBC live feed on the laptop, and it doesn’t have the same feel to it. There is no random drum beating and basic chanting. There is no telling from the very ‘just the facts’ text updates if the ball has gone sailing out over the stands. There is no knowing whether the manager has shat upon the officials’ lunch again and the decisions are all going one way. (Although the post-match debrief from Helen suggested the latter may have been the case in the first half.)
There doesn’t seem to be much action at all. The sun isn’t in my eyes at home, no need for a cap, and even though I’m not there I know what songs are being played over the PA at half time when it eventually comes after six minutes of added time. But at least I can see ours is not the only game goalless at half time in the division, it’s one of nine of them.
A different text report (from Helen) suggests the game is comedy gold. I suppose it doesn’t always translate. The BBC text show a flurry of early pressure from Crawley, but not quite a breakthrough. The excitement was getting too much for the cat and he’s curled up and gone to sleep on the pouffe.
It’s the text from Helen which wins the race to tell me Crawley have scored, Soccer Saturday came second, and it was Kwesi Appiah. And then three minutes later BBC catch up. There is more pressure, but not a second goal.
Then there’s the nervous period where a few chances are shown for Barrow, and a late save, and it’s Soccer Saturday that sneaks the final score in first, then a text from Helen to say it’s official. Not the score, but the fact that I’m the jinx. And about five minutes later BBC confirm full time. Even watching by text when Crawley are trying to hang on to a lead is stressful. Watching through my fingers again.
Helen reports back that Al asked where I was, it’s good to see he’s concerned that he wouldn’t be getting a mention in the latest blog.
With a Hartlepool draw, the win sees us jump back above them and back into the top half of the table, only the eight points behind eleventh place.