Tuesday 31st January 2012

If my memory serves me right there seems to have been a few of these winning-from-being-two-down situations when we have played Villa down the years - both for and against us.

On an extremely chilly afternoon many of us watched the Sunderland v Middlesbrough game in the build-up to ours without knowing, of course, that we would be going on to play the winners in three weeks time.

By kick-off the draw had been made but very quickly our thoughts turned to what we all knew was never going to be a foregone conclusion. Villa have a team of well-known, established international players and they were all available on Sunday. Throw in our most recent evidence, the extremely tough away game in December, and only a good performance would see us progress.

The news pre-match that numerous players were returning to the squad from injury was definitely positive and we started the game well.

I am always extremely confident we can score goals in any game as collectively I believe we still look dangerous going forward. I use that word because collectively we have struggled in recent weeks to keep a clean sheet and ultimately this has proved costly.

Sunday proved no different in the first half when we found ourselves going into the break two goals behind, despite enjoying much of the possession and chances.

Anyone at the game will tell you the atmosphere around the stadium at half time was extremely low as you would expect. I am a very positive person in all situations but I was struggling to find one aspect, especially with the discussions going on all around me.

At that moment, for numerous reasons, the 45 minutes or so that lay ahead felt like our most important for some time.

Our immediate reaction after half time was crucial and like against Man United last week it was more than positive. In a mirror image however, two or three big chances came and went early on and I couldn't help but feel it could be another one of 'those' days.

For me we scored at exactly the right time. RVP buried the penalty after Rambo was taken out latching on to Songy's through-ball and all of us looked at the amount of time left knowing we were right back in the game.

Theo's superb run and good fortune after Villa's attempted clearance in the panic his effort had created ended up in the back of the net meant London N5 came alive. There was still loads left on the clock and we were absolutely dominating the game.

Watching our centre half flying down the wing and into the box was as good an example as any of how much we could smell victory, RVP smashing home from the spot after Laurent was fouled bringing joy we could only dream about ten minutes earlier!

We saw out the remaining time and whatever way you look at our current situation, it was a fine comeback in a position that could have seen us totally crumble. Add that to other players returning to the squad and we head into February on a more positive note.

Bolton away has always been a tricky game. After a difficult start we go to the Reebok at a time where they have started to turn their fortunes around. We need to take the positivity we all left London with on Sunday into Wednesday night and produce a performance good enough to take home a crucial three points.

Those of us making the long journey north can play our part by making some noise.

Keep the faith.


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31 Jan 2012