Yesterday was my birthday and I always like to go to The Valley on my birthday. It's not that I don't want to spend the day with my wife and son, it's just a lovely way to spend the afternoon before doing something family based in the evening.
At 41 the days of expecting lots of presents and being excited are well behind me - that's for children really - but I had a fair few cards. Since I started doing the school run I am now in a group of Mums at my son's school and as well as taking me out for lunch they all, obviously, gave me a card.
As it happens my wife did surprise me with a new briefcase/man's bag. The day couldn't have started any better to be honest.
All that was left was for Chris Solly and the Skipper to be declared fit to play and it was going to be a great day.
Due to plans for the evening my Dad came over to pick me up. Some of you will remember that he caught JJ's arm band that he threw into the crowd after the Fulham game. Imagine my surprise when my Dad removed his cardigan (he is 70) to point to his arm and announce that "Since I've been wearing this we haven't lost a game".
Oh yes, he had the arm band on. He wore it all day, and would have kept it on all evening had we not been changing for my birthday party dinner.
Anyway I was excited enough about going to a game against a team that beat us away, but the large crowd was also going to make the game special. I have, in the past, made a few snipes about the continuing discounts to match day prices when I paid for a season ticket, but I have to say that the football for a fiver deal is great. I spent most of the way up to the ground checking twitter to see what the latest attendance forecasts were.
I don't know what it is, but I suspect that you all feel it too, but there is a real excitement when I think we might break an attendance record. I would love us to be playing in frond of forty, fifty or sixty thousand every week. I know this will, almost certainly, not happen, but big crowds are just something that football fans crave, and I am no different.
So when it became apparent that we had smashed 25,000, and were well on the way to beating the 26,104 for Palace in 1975 there was another box ticked in my birthday wishes.
Then the teams were out and both Solly and JJ were starting - all that was left was a win, a goal for Bradley Wright-Phillips and a convincing performance that looked like we went out and won the game rather then clawed out a win, like Champions do.
I have been a little disappointed by some of the recent draws, all be it that we still maintained an average of 2 points per game, but what was more worrying was that we were having to 'show character' to come back and earn a draw. The strikers hadn't scored from open play for ages, and we just weren't taking the game to opponents.
I am not going to do a full review, others are better than me at it, and with 26,546 at The Valley, there will be few of you that were not there so you saw it for yourselves.
I heard Christian Dailly talk about BWP on new years eve and he suggested that he was a very confident striker and will just keep going and will never let his head drop. To be fair this is exactly what we have seen. A great save from Weaver at Hillsborough prevented an almost certain one on one but the chances had seemed to have dried up.
My Dad and I have talked about BWP recently and it's interesting that he recalls a Man City fan friend of his that suggested that he would seem to do nothing for the whole game then pop up and score a goal. This is how he started with us last season, but since November it is hard to think of anything more he could do for the team but the goals had dried up. We concluded that, maybe, he should stop doing anything else and just pop up and get a goal or two each game.
The side is not, I believe, set up for a striker like BWP to score a lot of goals now. All the time we are winning that doesn't really matter, but I was a little desperate for him to get a goal sooner rather than later, and when better than my birthday?
In the first half he missed two that, under normal circumstances, you'd have expected him to bury and this was stressful to say the least.
Morrison's fantastic goal settled the result for me. I was so confident that Stevenage didn't have a goal in them that I was even thinking that this could be a food time to take the Skipper off to save him for the upcoming games (almost two a week for the rest of the season).
So all that was left for a perfect birthday was for BWP to get that goal. Obviously he did just that - he scored the hardest of all of the chances he had on the day.
The fact that he went on to have three other chances, two of which I would bet on him to score 9 times out of 10 was just irrelavent. He is back scoring, and showed the same attitude that he has since he last scored in November.
So a great day, a great result and a great performance!
We are now ten points above Sheffield United and fourteen above third. A big game today in Sheffield that could see our lead at the top established. If Sheff Utd win their two games in hand it leaves us just four points clear, but I would have taken a four point lead at the end of February if you'd offered it to me in August. Also the gap to third place makes it almost a certainty that we will win promotion, but for now I'm just revelling in the comfortable 2-0 win in front of our biggest crowd in the 3rd division since the Second World War, and I'm confident that the tickets were even less than £5 then as well
Up the Addicks!