In 1974, the golfer Gary Player was asked how he was enjoying the luck that had just culminated in him winning his third Open Championship. His reply was, "You know what?, the harder I practice, the luckier I get". Thirty eight years later, and for the second time in successive matches, Jackson proved that simple truth with a sublime free kick, that Simonsen in the United goal could only admire from afar as it kissed his right hand post and in. I don't know if Gary Player likes football, but he would certainly approve of all the hours Jackson spends at Sparrows Lane honing his dead ball skills.
Charlton have played better than this, and I am sure Sheffield United have as well, but yesterday the spoils went to Charlton, courtesy of our captain's "luck". It was a moment of quality in a game that was cagey for the most part, and courtesy of referee Deadman, and his trigger happy cards routine, produced no less than six yellow, and two red cards. It was never the sort of game that warranted that much colour, or at least it wasn't, until the melee that broke out after Russell was sent off for what I thought was a perfectly good challenge.
If that was a poor call by the referee, the straight red shown to Beattie moments later was inevitable, and correct. His attempt to squeeze the life out of Kermorgant was spotted by the East Stand lino, who hurriedly joined Deadman on the pitch to help restore order, and to report on Beattie's attempts at diplomacy by strangulation. I wonder if United will appeal the straight red? I somehow doubt it.
With regard to the game, and I don't mean to sound overly negative about this, but I personally believe that Hamer had a bit of a nightmare yesterday. I am sure the gusting wind may have had something to do with it, as did the close attention from the opposition he was getting at corner kicks, but our number one did not acquit himself particularly well. His shot stopping was fine, but his catching and punching left a lot to be desired. By the length of his contract, he has been given the nod that Championship football is there for him, but on the strength of his showing both yesterday, and on other occasions recently, I would question his ability to step up to that. Perhaps he just needs some of Jackson's "luck"?
Elsewhere, the back four were immense, and congratulations to Solly on his new deal. Although not at his best, Wright-Phillips, by playing yesterday, has triggered the one year extension to his contract apparently, so that is good news as well, although I wonder with the arrival of Haynes, whether he will be rested, as he is not the same player he was earlier in the season. The arrival of Haynes from the bench certainly gave United a new problem, as his speed drew a foul within minutes of his arrival. A free kick from the edge of the box on the East Stand side, showed that our captain is human after all, as he sent it out for a throw in on the West Stand side. Bad "luck" eh Johnnie?
This, for me, was another of those significant games that will shape our season. It was never just another game, and the team came through with flying colours. Onwards and upwards, COME ON YOU REDS!