Charlton Athletic at home on Boxing Day always brings back memories for Stanley of one of his favourite City games.
Getting on for a quarter of a century ago, back in 1985, when City hosted the Addicks and gave the 'Carra Rud' faithful a 'roight' royal 'Christmas Cracker!' of a match. City 1-0 down with 20 minutes to play, inspired by the midfield majesty of David Williams, won 3 1 to lend yet further credence to both City's promotional credentials and the, correct as it proved to be, belief that City were the best team in that division that season.
The away match that season in the Spring holds less happy memories for Stanley, a miserable 1-0 defeat at Charlton's temporary home of Selhurst Park that triggered the sequence of winless games for City in London for Stan's mate 'Windy' Millar which now stands at well over 20. Imagine Stan's relief when in the pub after the game 'Windy' informs Stanley he's not going to Selhurst on New Years' Day…
It is was also in the pub after the match that Stan had a very interesting chat with his brother which illustrates just how much on the up we seem to be at the moment.
Stan's brother wasn't very impressed with City's inability to beat team with only ten men. He felt that City need to be beating teams with ten men, no matter who they are.
Now Stan did get his brother's point, indeed Stan himself most definitely felt annoyed at City's inability to take one other of our numerous chances to win the game. But Stan just felt in the broader scheme of things, namely the state we were in when Glenn took over from Grant and the fact that Charlton will, in all likelihood, be one of the promoted three teams this season, a point no matter how it came against the likes of Charlton is very much a point won, not two points lost.
If we were day dreaming about turning this current run of form into the kind of run which would se us surge into the play-offs, then, yes, you would need to be beating a ten-man, play-off rival like Charlton at home. But that's not going to happen, what Stan wants is to reach mid-table mediocrity ASAP and enjoy a stress free end to the season safe from relegation. A prospect which is now a real possibility when six weeks ago it would have been the uttering of the deluded, or Granty's Granny defending her boy.
What both Stan and his brother agreed upon, however, was that it had been an entertaining game. Entertaining and very nearly a Christmas Cracker. The match just never quite took off enough to be a true Cracker, one of those Crackers which doesn't want to go 'Snap'. All the key ingredients of the festive thriller, (that cracking goal, that gutsy fight-back, that mass brawl…), were briefly threatened at times during the match, but none ever materialised.
It just never quite got to boiling point, and all importantly, and beyond.
Nevertheless it was a good game with plenty more positives to be taken from it as the renaissance under Roeder continues. The team is still looking solid, even without Taylor in it. Special Stanley praises is definitely deserved for Doc', faultless again at the back, Russell and Pattison. Rusty and Matty were tenacious throughout the match giving us the all important midfield dominance you need to dominate matches.
And dominate we did, creating plenty of chances; plenty enough to have won handsomely. Interestingly, well though Matty and Rusty played Stanley did find himself thinking that we seemed to be missing Fozzy, or at the very least somebody like Fozzy who can see a killer pass and execute it.
Now maybe that someone is Jimmy Smith, a maybe we will never know the answer to until he is given a game in the centre of midfield rather than on the right – surely only a temporary solution to our right-winger problem?
It's the right-wing spot that is the one Stanley would like to see reinforced during January, presuming all the loanees stay and 'Tiny' does appear, belatedly, out of the stocking Glenn hung up over his mantle piece on Christmas Eve.
Chadders is a never ending sicknote and Crofty just likes his mince pies too much… Anyhow Merry Christmas dear reader, and bring on the Wolves!