It has reached that part of the season where teams are desperate to do one of three things:
1. gain automatic promotion (in League 1, this looks like Norwich City and Leeds United at the moment)
2. secure a place in the next four spots (positions 3-6) to gain a place in the play-offs.
(Charlton, Colchester, Swindon and Millwall but with Huddersfield Town in 7th position only 2 points behind Millwall)
3. avoid relegation (in League 1, Stockport with only 16 points, look certain for the drop)
So our tie was 7th vs 5th position with Swindon on a roll (4-0 win mid week) and Town faltering slightly after two draws on a trot.
We weren’t super-confident. As usual with Town, though, they were full of surprises, taking the lead after five minutes! It was a great goal. Roberts took the corner; it was cleared to the dead ball line then picked up by skipper Peter Clarke who held on to it, dribbling it skilfully along the touchline. Then, instead of passing he somehow managed to score from a really tight angle. One-nil up! Sadly, two minutes later Swindon equalised. Even more sadly, they scored again in the 28th minute (woeful defending). In between had been the type of play that sends me into a stupor – boring up-in-the-air stuff. So, we were down at half-time as anticipated.
At half time there were the usual shenanigans. The cheerleaders did their dance to an indifferent crowd. Some geezer who used to be in Hollyoaks read out the winner of the prize draw and went home again. Four blokes from the crowd (always blokes – women have more sense) tried to score a goal by slotting the ball through target with a hole (think upended miniataure trampoline. It looks easy – isn’t). One guy actually scored, much to the chagrin of the MD who said he’s now have to find a prize. The man in front of me poured hot chocolate from a flask. The girl to my right continued to text as she had done throughout the first half. Meanwhile in the dressing room, Town manager Lee Clarke must have been saying something inspirational because in the second half we were up and at ’em. Play was sprightly and energised. On 50 minutes Anthony Kay scored with a header, again from a corner kick. Woah! Go Town. Forget the draw – we wanted three points. We would have had them as well if the Swindon Goalie David Lucas hadn’t been so good at his job, dammit.
So it ended 2-2 but we went home happy. Carlisle on Tuesday. Hmmm…