Anita’s back! Inspired by Saturday’s valiant effort Anita Byrne-Philips felt compelled to put fingertip to keyboard again and has offered an intriguing glimpse into life in the Barclay on Saturday.
What a valiant, gutsy performance against Pellegrini’s side; a well battled point that could be crucial in our fight against relegation.
Saturday gave me back my fighting spirit, and so it was with my yellow bag clutched in hand that I went home with a glass half full and watched Match of the Day for the first time this year.
However I feared it was going to be so different. I was 90 seconds late for kick-off as I had a pre match calling for a Pukka Pie to soak up up the red wine from the night before. Needs must!
I tucked in, well as much as you can while standing in the Barclay with a plastic spoon/fork combo, and marvelled (whilst watching and ‘sporking’ mouthfuls of pie) at Man City’s great positioning, speed and one-touch football.
Their pass rate was pretty much 100 per cent successful. How were we going to compete against that for 90 minutes?
But 30 minutes later I found myself surprisingly more relaxed. At times we seemed to almost emulate their one-touch quick passing style of football. The Barclay faithful was even able to join in with a few “oles.
Our back four of Olsson , Bennett, Klose and Martin seemed to have gelled and were working as a defensive unit. It wasn’t, of course easy, but there were even glimpses of flair on display when we attacked..
City looked ‘up for it’ and showed true grit. At half-time there were smiles all round as we all relived Bamford’s screaming effort that came off the crossbar.
“If only…” we all wondered. Could we actually get something from the game? The team were giving it their absolute all but realistically could Klose keep Aguero at bay for another 45 minutes?
So, clutching soft drink in hand I stood for the second-half and watched my team grow in confidence; the hard working O’Neil and Howson in midfield were backed up magnificently by our “resolute defence” (yes, those words were uttered on MotD).
On his starting debut Bamford’s first touches were great and with his ability to hold up the ball he showed great promise.
Eventually, as his legs tired, he exited as part of a double attacking substitution. Alex was going for it, we had gone two up front.
But, as the minutes ticked by, the thought of conceding in the dying minutes naturally crept into my head. ‘Please hold on! Please hold on!’
My drink had been empty most of the half and my hand was cold but in my mind I was thinking if I put this paper cup down it may be unlucky, so I clutched on to it believing it was our only hope for a point!
‘Please hold on! Blow the whistle ref, please hold on! Please hold on!’
Just three minutes of extra time was a bonus. I was expecting more.
It’s of course irrational to create new superstitions, new lucky mascots, but anything will do to will my team to victory or in this case a no-score draw!
And then…. YESSSS!!
‘Yellows… yellows… yellows…’ echoed around the old place.
It was only a point, but it could be a turning point.
Let’s hope it is and those woeful performances against teams around us are gone – but can we find nine points from eight games?
Mathematically yes, but realistically it all depends on our boys ability to replicate Saturday’s effort. There is now proof they have the ability and fight, it’s just whether they can sustain it for eight x 90 minutes plus.
I hope we stick with this formation. It’s a case of players in correct positions and there’s proof it works. No more need for shoe-horning in players, except of course in the case of injuries. And I’m hoping Redmond’s knock is nothing too serious.
If we are to fight in this mini relegation league we need to be cohesive and this was the best I’ve seen in recent games, so let’s keep the faith, cheer on the boys… and pray.
And of course keep hold of any new lucky mascots.
Thanks to Anita for, as always, sharing her heartfelt thoughts with the Yellow Army.