Yesterday was important for two reasons; the first being that we need to show some form as we head towards the play offs, and secondly the mathematical hope of automatic promotion is astonishingly still there, albeit somewhat unlikely. Charlton win at Oldham, Leeds lose against Bristol Rovers, and Millwall and Swindon fight out a draw - simples!
Yesterday was my 50th birthday, announced by Big Dave Lockwood at half time, so thanks to my wife and friends in the Rose of Denmark for organising it. The team of course were suitably galvanised by this knowledge, and put on a second half, which on balance meant that we deserved our winner. The first half had been a frenetic affair, lacking that one touch of real class that could have seen either side go in at the break one goal to the good.
In some ways the now near inevitable 1-0 scoreline was fortuitous, the goal requiring the head of Leeds defender Naylor to change the flight of the ball sufficiently to beat the Leeds keeper. Whilst Sodje junior celebrated by getting a yellow card, it will definitely go down as an own goal. I can't see the dubious goals committee even needing to sit for that argument to be settled.
The game started in a fractious manner, and I seriously thought referee Probert was going to lose it after about ten minutes. If tempers were in danger of boiling over on the pitch, then they were even closer off it. Parkinson and Kinsella spent most of the first twenty minutes in incensed mode, keeping fourth official Kettle fully occupied either listening to their grievances, or giving him cause to have to leave his chair to admonish one or other of them for infringing the technical area. The cause of this ire was not immediately obvious to me, as yes Charlton were being subjected to crafty shirt pulls and blocks all over the pitch, but let's not kid ourselves, we were no angels either, a fact that Grayson was also keen to point out to Kettle on numerous loud occasions.
The team showed a cohesion and fight yesterday, that had it been seen across the entire season would have seen us promoted as champions quite some time ago, but given that fight is capable of being engendered in the team, albeit on a sporadic basis by Parkinson, then now is the right time to be showing it.