Charging To Safety
I never thought League One football in 09/10 would be a very real prospect again back in November but tonight's win against Yeovil has left us within one win of getting out of the relegation zone.
Tonight wasn't the best advert for the game you will see. Both teams came out to defend and defend they did. It was scrappy, uneventful and pretty frustrating, partly down to a petty referee.
The deadlock, and deadlock it was, was always going to be broken on a set piece. It came from a corner on the stroke of half time and thanks to a flapping goalkeeper the ball fell to Byron Moore on the edge of the box to fire into the back of the net, with thanks to a toe of Clayton Donaldson.
Surprisingly this didn't seem to spur Yeovil on to make a go of it in the second half and the game continued at a dreadful level of quality. Yeovil never showed enough quality to make John Ruddy work, even the introduction of hot heads Gary Roberts and Luke Rodgers made minimal difference.
Maybe the ticking off from a couple of coppers during the half time interval put a dampener on the rebels return?
I'm sure both Roberts and Rodgers would have loved nothing more than a goal at Gresty Road but even I felt it was somewhat of an anti-climax. I know Rodgers is a pretty dire player but his headless chicken routine can be worrying when he's playing for the opposition, there's always a chance he'll get a break somewhere. Whilst Roberts; well I wanted a couple of Occy vs Roberts moments, we had none. In fact, both of them went missing during their small second half cameos.
With 10 minutes to go the game was wrapped up. A cross by Brayford from the byline, near the corner flag, was, well, thrown into the net by the Yeovil keeper. It is possibly a thank you gift for Ben Williams doing the same thing at their place a couple of years ago...
So everyone went home happy again with Gudjon Thordarson currently a god amongst Alex fans. The transformation under him has been a joy to see, he's proved every doubter wrong thus far and long may it continue.
As for the players tonight, they were alright. They did their job, no-one really excelled though. Brayford, Broomes and Woodards were the pick of the crop. Somehow it was Tom Pope who managed to win sponsors MOTM despite failing to do anything all evening but whinge and continually lose the ball. Even Dean Ashton at his best didn't get such treatment.
The night got better upon learning results went pretty much as good as they could have done. A few teams around us were playing each other so it was important no results went the right way and thanks to a draw between Brighton/Northampton and defeats for Swindon and Carlisle we now sit just two points off safety.
We visit Brighton, who sit one point and one place above us, on Saturday and a win there would take us out of the relegation zone if one of Orient or Swindon lost. That would be a pretty big achievement after these last seven months or so.
We're now three wins on the trot, four homes wins on the trot, 2nd in the form table, confident as we've been in years with momentum behind us. We're the team no-one wants to play at the moment. Bring 'em on.
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