When I was a kid, we had the joy of Goodmayes playground, right next door to my junior school, Barley Lane. It’s well over 50 years ago now but I remember it well and with some kind of affection.
There were swings, a roundabout and slides. The older boys used to love to ambush us by running the roundabout as fast as they could, heaving on the swings until we were begging to get off and climbing up the slides as we tried to descend.
No health and safety in those days. If you fell, you landed on tarmac or concrete.
And a year or so later myself and my peers did exactly the same to the younger ones.
What we have to collectively realise is that Reading did a very astute job on us on Wednesday night – they stopped us having that kind of fun.
They were incredibly well-drilled and do not look like a relegation side to me.
Sure they more or less played with a five-man defence and only profited when we gave the ball away.
But it’s football and $hit happens.
I bet absolutely everybody in the ground would have taken a point around the 83-minute mark. Ben Godfrey then got a lovely cushioned layback from Marco Stiepermann and hit what Gary G would term a thunderba$tard. Then Kenny McLean’s only effective corner of the evening was converted by big Zimbo.
Where six minutes of added on time came from, I do not know but Reading kept their effort up to the end and if I’m honest they deserved their point. We shouldn’t have lost the win from there, but we did and fair play to them. I hope they stay up.
I can’t even blame the referee – he was as good as we have seen all season. And Reading’s on-loan Arsenal keeper Emiliano Martinez played out of his skin. That save from Teemu Pukki’s instinctive header was really quite something. A bit of a Hail Mary maybe but it was still frustratingly superb.
So, did we miss Emi? Yes, we did. No disrespect to Todd Cantwell who ran his socks off, but he is no Buendia. Changes for Wigan please Daniel – either Mo Leitner or Mario Vrancic surely must have a start.
Fortuitously our best friends in the Midlands (aka Birmingham City) did us a huge favour.
If we cannot effectively profit from a seven-point gap between ourselves and promotion with five to play, I’m as Dutch as Tim Krul. Did anyone else see him running to the River End corner flag to retrieve the ball late on by the way?
There are signs of weariness in the squad but hopefully, the Yorkshire boys are in an identical position in that respect.
In an “in-house” MFW sense it was great to meet Steve Cook and his father in the Upper Barclay bar before the game – I now totally understand where Steve gets his wit from.
Swings and roundabouts? Yeah, we’ll cope with both.