Tuesday 14th March 2012
Many thousands of Gooners travel long distances to watch our team including those that attend midweek games, get home extremely late and get up again bright an early for a day’s work.
For a large number of those it is often a mad dash to reach their last trains, running the risk of course, of not actually being able to get home at all!
Eight o'clock kick-offs like Monday nights don't help, especially when the game is on a knife's edge with wave after wave of second-half attacks proving fruitless as we headed into injury time.
My personal dash to Arsenal tube station immediately on the final whistle was made with an incredible combination of ecstasy, physical pain and desire to make my own late-night transport home.
The reason for the ecstasy is obvious and the pain was only brought on by the quite crazy jostle as our late goal hit the back of the net!
Another weekend where results had been favourable saw us going into the fixture knowing another three points would strengthen our position in this fight for a Champions League place. For that reason alone there was a real sense of tension in the streets around the ground before the game.
For the third home game on the bounce the atmosphere was fantastic, another example of just what a stage our 'new' stadium can be as we look to the future.
Despite looking relatively sharp in the opening stages we fell behind yet again. As frustrating as that was, heads didn't drop on or off the pitch and why should they? It is not exactly a position we have not become a little bit used to in recent weeks!
It is difficult to say how crucial an immediate response would turn out to be but it was thoroughly satisfying nonetheless, RVP's stunning first touch and cool finish bringing us level after excellent work by the impressive Theo. One-all and the roof lifted off the stand once again.
The second period was pretty much one-way traffic with chance after chance going begging due to a combination of good defending and goalkeeping, bad luck and poor finishing too.
Much has been discussed already, not just regarding anything that happened last night but the whole aspect of what is referred to as 'timewasting' in games. Personally I have never had a problem with these situations as long as two adjoining aspects keep the consistency we all want. The first is that the referee recognises what appears to be going on and adds suitable additional time accordingly. The second is that if the 'extra' minutes prove to be crucial, those responsible for them simply cannot complain at the outcome.
With time almost up last night and the ball deep in our own half we launched one final attack. The number of bodies flying into our visitors' box was fantastic to see, each and every one of them pushing their aching limbs to the very limit in a bid to grab that all-important winner.
The ball came in and as it dropped to the floor Tommy V smashed it home. I've heard stories from Gooners all over the globe ranging from waking their families with their uncontrollable joy to being dumped in a wheelie bin by their Geordie mates but the area where I sit mirrored every part of the stadium I am sure. It was total and utter pandemonium! Get in Tommy boy, get in!
A massive result to conclude a busy period before a nine day 'break' before our next fixture, the tough trip to Goodison Park.
Enjoy the Arsenal free weekend boys and girls and I'll see many of you up in Liverpool next Wednesday.
Oh and by the way... I made my transport home :-)
Over land and sea.
FrankCopyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 14 Mar 2012