There are many emotions that the average fan experiences during a football match. Even a drab 0-0 can take us through highs and lows, and sometimes a comfortable win (or defeat) can cause little emotion due to inevitability of the result once a decent lead has been established.
The most exciting games, however, involve something of a surprise result from a certain point in the proceedings. Our game at Newcastle in January 1992 was such an example. From being 3-0 behind in the first half we managed to come back to win 4-3. I wasn’t at the game, but I still remember, some eighteen years later, screaming in the car when the third, and especially the forth, goals went in. The season was unremarkable, despite us missing out on the playoffs by three points, and Newcastle finished just five points above a drop into the third division, but that game will probably be memorable for the rest of my life.
The game on Saturday had a number of emotions. The excitement and trepidation when we went 1-0 in front. It is difficult to come back from a goal behind and win, especially when you have as little confidence that we have right now, so to score first was very important. The trepidation was that having expected a defeat we suddenly had something to lose.
At 2-0 I started to feel really excited at the very real possibility that we were going to get at least a point – away to a side that had started the season well, and much better than we had.
At half time I just thought we needed to keep it tight for the first five minutes and leave them chasing a two goal lead that would soon start to drain their enthusiasm and confidence of getting anything out of the game.
At 3-0 all of the emotion drained out of me. I was no longer worried about not winning the game. The third goal didn’t make that much difference and suddenly I accepted that we would win, and was very, very relaxed about it.
3-1 and nothing much changed. Back to the plan for the start of the second half. Keep it tight for five or ten minutes and stop them from believing that they have a chance.
3-2 and “Shit, we’re never going to keep them out until the end!”
3-3. The anger started to surface. We needed something out of this game and we had thrown away a very confortable lead. I wasn’t angry with Parkinson or the players, but I could just sense the anger building up in me. I should mention at this point that Mrs Kings Hill and Kings Hill Junior had gone to stay with Mrs Kings Hill’s mother for the weekend and due to the amount of work I had to get done I’d worked right through the night and was pumped full of caffeine. I was feeling very angry.
I was confident that we would go on to lost the game. In those circumstances the team that has come back from 3-0 down has all the impetus. Strangely we let a 2-0 lead slip at Norwich last season and managed to keep them from winning 3-2 twice in the last few minutes with goal line clearances. At this point, however, I would have taken a draw because anything less would have been a total disaster, under the circumstances.
Our forth goal, coming as late as it did, was clearly a winning goal. I was pleased for Benson to have scored it (his fifth) and it will potentially have a massive effect on our season. The emotion was less like euphoria and a little more like relief. After having the game in the bag at 3-0 anything less than a win was a terrible outcome.
So this leaves us rather like where we were before we played Brighton. We still look like a side that will do well to make top two but should really fancy itself to make the top six. The relegation threats seem to be on the back burned again for another week. I was never that worried about relegation, but then I wasn’t until January in 2008/09, but the fear that another season in this division and the financial implications it brings is never far away.
Those that are half full will be looking at the three points to second and the one point to sixth, and the half empty will be looking at the six points to forth from bottom.
At least it’s not exciting.
Up the Addicks!