Another quality away day
There are many aspects that make up matchday for those of us lucky enough to be in a position to attend the actual games. For me the huge differences between home and away fixtures are what make them both so attractive in their own right.
There is something very special about an away day when everything goes right. Ignoring the sending off, Saturday was definitely one of those.
The journey to West Bromwich is not necessarily a long one for our group but the pre-match venue is one of those where getting there early is hugely attractive! Refreshment of the liquid variety is available at all games of course, but if you are a fan of Indian food this particular establishment offers an extra dimension!
Consequently we found ourselves parked up shortly before 11am and once we found a suitable bookies to place that 'has to be done' bet on the Grand National we settled down in the Midlands sunshine for the pre-match build-up.
The relaxation and enjoyment didn't take away the fact we all knew it was going to be another tough game and the walk to the stadium was laced with the PMT you would expect as a result.
Like at Swansea a few weeks ago I felt we controlled the game for long periods but our hosts had their share of attacking moments, especially early in the game and, of course, once we were down to 10 men.
We held firm in both periods and the time in between saw us score the all-important two goals to see us go home with the three points.
Tommy Rosicky will remember the game for some time I'm sure. Not only did he brilliantly clear off the line early on, it was the same part of his body that nodded us into the lead after good play from Gerve down the left-hand side. Cue the first away day jostle.
That was nothing compared to when you score an important goal at the end where we are gathered so as Tommy thumped home after his first shot was parried right in front of the travelling Gooner army it was sheer pandemonium!
The second half moved along and it all looked fairly comfortable. A second can change things in football of course and this was certainly the situation when Per was sent off. There might have been other players around when he made the challenge but overall I feel we can have few complaints about the decision.
Our hosts were back in it despite the fact Lukas so very nearly saved the resulting pen and it really was 'backs to the wall' stuff for the last 20 minutes or so.
Solid defending and a little bit of luck saw us home and completed a thoroughly entertaining visit to the Black Country.
With seven games to go it seems incredible that we won't leave London now until the last game of the season in more than five weeks' time. That run starts on Saturday afternoon as we welcome the Canaries to the Home of Football.
As with every single game at this stage of the season, three points are crucial for both sides. We very much need to put in a performance that ensures it is us who take them away from the game.
Come on you mighty reds!
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