Tuesday 22nd February 2011
Going to Leyton Orient was always going to be an experience and I never expected anything less than a difficult game. Although we lacked a little bit of a cutting edge on the day, we had enough chances to score again and find ourselves talking about a performance that could only be described as thoroughly professional.
All the time there is only one goal in a game, however, we all know it is too fine a margin to be guaranteed of victory, even in a game you dominate. That's the same whoever you play.
On a personal note it had been a fairly messy weekend, not for any particular reason, just one of those that come along now and again. As far as Sunday's events are concerned it meant travel to Leyton was less than comfortable.
As life goes on I find it funny how our attitudes change. I remember when football stadia in this country started to be re-developed, for example, starting of course with the terraces disappearing one by one. At the time I was one of those hugely disappointed that my favoured routine and vantage point was being taken away.
Similarly, I much preferred the traditional old seated stands I frequented rather than all the modern structures being constructed to replace them.
After visiting Portman Road in the Carling Cup semi and Brisbane Road on Sunday, my views have definitely changed. This is not a criticism as of course I understand the financial restraints that limit the developments for many clubs but, despite me being a fan of tradition in football, this season has definitely confirmed I don't miss the battle to get to and from my seat, the severe lack of leg room and a chunk of the pitch being obscured by a post holding the roof up!
Saying all that, I absolutely love going to a ground we don't often get to visit and Sunday gave us just that. I am a bit too young to remember our encounters back in the early seventies, my only visits to watch us play coming in pre-season friendlies where the likes of Paul Shaw and Anders Limpar spring to mind!
Ten changes to Wednesday's line up definitely wasn't a shock to me, especially with our current schedule including a hugely important league fixture on Wednesday and a cup final at the end of the week!
As mentioned above, not grabbing a second goal having been so dominant proved to be our downfall on the day. It made it easy for our hosts to never give up knowing they were well and truly still in it. Credit where credit's due, their hard work and belief proved fruitful with their late equaliser.
A replay it is then with the 'prize' a nice easy trip to Old Trafford! Another game that we could probably do without but all the time we have a relatively fit squad we can use to its full extent we should be OK.
Stoke next then and a team where we know which aspects of their game we have struggled a little bit with over the last few seasons.
As a result we need to make sure it is us that dictates the play, dominates as much as possible and take our all important chances when created.
Let's hope it doesn't snow!
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