Last time I found myself leaving my house during the hours of darkness for a long away game the 3-0 defeat at the hands of Everton made it an even longer and painful journey home. Despite the excesses of a messy Easter weekend not making it the most comfortable of trips, the three hard-earned points at Hull's KC stadium softened that pain quite magnificently!
We have a good record in the city in recent times, 100 per cent in fact at the Tigers' impressive new stadium, but I don't remember our previous two trips being graced with so much pressure.
Praise for the way fans are treated is rare but I must heap plenty of it on our Sunday hosts. The local fans were welcoming and friendly and without going into too much detail at least twice the local authorities went beyond the normal call of duty to help out our travelling party. Only simple things but unexpected, rare and very much appreciated.
With plenty of moisture in the air the atmosphere in the stadium bordered on tropical, not an adjective we tend to hear associated with the north-east of England! It made for a good atmosphere with both cup finalists in great voice, the songs containing much of the humour so unique to football stadia.
I expected our hosts to make it very hard for us, especially in the opening exchanges, and we had to defend extremely well to keep the scores level. With the likes of Mesut and Rambo back in the starting line-up however, that speed and sharpness going forward always made us dangerous on the break.
Our opener of course was the perfect example, a swift passing move finished in a way that demonstrated just what we had missed during Rambo's injury. A crucial opener that definitely calmed the nerves.
Our second was similar in its creation after a touch-and-go decision went our way midway through our own half. Our hosts were guilty of a lapse in concentration and boy did we punish them, Poldi smashing home Rambo's lay-off to the delight of the travelling Gooners.
Once we grabbed our third early in the second period it was very much game over.
A very satisfying away day then as we look forward to a football-free weekend. That is of course until Monday when we welcome the Geordies to the home of football.
Every game is crucial until we call it a day for another season in May. We can do our bit to help achieve our goal.
Come on you Gunners!
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