Stan is struggling here, and it's not the devil that is Kingfisher Lager this time. You see, the problem Stanley is having is this: separating fantasy and reality.
It being Easter weekend, and Stan being a thoroughly modern, hand-woven, goat-wool-jumper wearing Dad, the pre-match pint or two was sacrificed in favour of taking the juniors to the cinema. And the film of choice? Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium, a tale about 'the strangest, most fantastic, most wonderful toy store in the world.'
Can you see the problem Stan's having yet? Rooms full of giant balls, zebras on the sofa, live fish mobiles, Jamie Cureton hat-tricks! Now which bits were in the film? Books that open to reveal monstrous octopi that land on customers' head; a comfortable Norwich victory. Errr?? both at the game Stan thinks. Stan hasn't had this sort of problem since the summer of '87!
Sometimes it's just better to suspend usual mental constraints, throw the perceived 'real' world to the wind and just enjoy the moment.
Set yourself free and believe!
Such an approach made for an enjoyable day all told. And considering Stan has spent the past week refusing to talk about football, look at the table, or read any City related news for fear of his bowels opening at an inopportune moment, this was quite a result!
Stan has to admit that the team selection made him… how shall we put it? …twitch, a bit. 'No keeper on the bench' sweated Stan. ''Panty' Pattison starting,' he squawked. 'I want my Mummy!' Stan cried. Big, big decisions, every last one of them, and in this instance, each one spot on.
As has been said many times before it's not all about the formation, it's how the individuals play within it, and Saturday was a case in point. From the very first whistle City were sharp. They were first to 50/50s, they picked up the scraps, showed intelligence in their movement going forward?and to keep us on our toes, they were also generally a bit rubbish at the back!
Thankfully the goal came early, and deservedly, and the twitching eased. It was a great goal as well. Saint Glenn alluded to the fact that Jon O has much more to his game than we sometime see, and this sublime bit of skill showed exactly what he's on about. In fact, the only person that nearly dispossessed the flying Scouser as he jinked his way goal-wards was Russell!
Speaking of which, it's clear that Russell's industry has been sorely missed of late, the results in his absence tell their own story, and it was good to have him back. It was also good to see Pattison putting his troubles aside and producing an excellent display on the left, a position he appears much more comfortable in.
Stan joined the standing ovation as Pattison left the field, not because he condones his actions earlier in the week, but because he agrees with the sentiment that Roeder espoused; you never turn your back on those in trouble. It's easy to see why both Pattison and his boss were so touched by the crowds' reaction when he left the field. It's also easy to see why Stan is so proud to be a City fan.
And what about our hat-trick hero Jamie? A reward that was as deserved as it was sweet. Three clinically taken goals, and three goal celebrations performed with the same joy that any life-long City fan would show, were they to score on the hallowed turf. Roeder's psychology in dealing with Cureton over that last couple of weeks ultimately proved effective; as effective as it seemed harsh at the time.
Hucks looked sharper than of late, Dion was his wise old self and Rigters' cameo displayed an intelligence that should provide some fun and games in the remaining weeks of the season.
All this said we still allowed Colchester far too many opportunities to score. A more clinical and confidence-filled side would have punished us? but they weren't, and they didn't.
We've had enough worry and fretting this season, let's just revel in the victory and relive that finale. That truly magical moment when all the toys come back to life?. err? sorry, Stan means Dion wrapped up the day with a real beauty.
Strange old day Saturday, wasn't it?
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