My God, we won a game, and in absolute emphatic fashion. 1-0 nowhere near justifies the importance of the result or the manner in which it was achieved. Our heroes lined up: Miller; Power, Todd, Santos, Hiley; Roscoe, Pettefer, Ampadu, Coppinger; Devine, Flack.
Predictably after one game back, Santos had to start with his umpteenth partner of the season as Chris Todd made his debut for the injured Curran. Ampadu and Coppinger replaced the suspended Cronin and Walker, and I thought the disruption would see us end up with our sixth defeat in seven games. But the players had other ideas and banzai'd Wrexham from the first whistle. With Coppinger and Roscoe staying wide on both flanks, the visitors' defence was stretched to near breaking point as Roscoe and the foraying Power delivered some sumptuous balls into the box. That the defence managed to keep a small modicum of composure to deny Flack and Devine is no reflection on our strikers, for they did their best, particularly Flack who won everything in the air. All the action was at the Wrexham end, save the odd incursion into our half, and all Kev had to deal with was the odd half hearted long range effort and a few powder puff attempts on goal. Not so for Wrexham though, as their keeper pulled off a wonderful save from a stinging Devine shot across his body. I thought our profligacy in front of goal would tell though, for although we utterly dominated the first half from start to finish, we finished the half all square.
As the second half got underway, Wrexham became more determined and started to look like a play-off team. Briefly we were ragged, with passes going astray and too many tackles for my liking being missed. Peters saw what was happening and so did the right thing by withdrawing Devine for Moor, and wholly inspired it was. City stepped it up and lay siege to the Wrexham goal. The crowd roared them on and a goal would surely come before too long. We nearly had the goal of the season for an appetiser. A lovely cushioned pass from Flack into the path of the onrushing Roscoe saw him charge down the touchline and deliver the perfect ball into the box. Moor lurked, ably watched by two defenders, and Coppinger barged in between the three of them to strike the base of the post with the keeper nowhere. City were not to be denied, they tasted victory and were intent on gorging themselves fully. That the goal came from Flack was just rewards for tireless work upfield winning and holding up the ball as well as towering defensive headers when Wrexham threatened to undo all City's good work. I'm not quite sure how the ball found itself on Flack's head, but he somehow guided it almost in slow motion via the base of the far post with Coppinger and Moor ready to pounce. The ground erupted. The noise was wonderful. You'd think we'd been promoted. Towards the end, to counter Wrexham's annoying timewasting, City did some of their own with the enforced substitution of the injured Ampadu with the very welcome introduction of Breslan and later Sheldon for Roscoe. Despite four minutes of injury time and some truly heart-stopping moments from Wrexham, City hung on to record the first victory in a dog's age.
Wow. I was worn out. The team must have been shattered. Every single one was up for this: the running was tireless, tackles huge (fnarr) and passing in the main to team-mates. At times it was awesome, at times ugly, but never tonight was it uncommitted. Miller had a fairly uneventful night, and sponsors' MOM Todd and Santos, despite the odd slip, coped ably with the lightning quick Wrexham attack. Pettefer ran, tackled and harried unrelentingly, and Flack and Moor would appear to be a bullish no-nonsense partnership. Interesting to watch Curran giving instructions from the side lines - assistant manager next season perhaps?
Whatever, we won, we won convincingly, and a better performance you'd be hard pushed to find this season. Makes you wonder after Saturday and especially tonight why we are where we are, but that's for another time. If we can produce another twelve performances like this between now and May we will stay up. A big if I know, but after tonight, a little bit of optimism is not out of place. After all that's gone on this season, nights like this make you glad to be alive and proud to be a City fan. This is why we come to football matches, and why we'll keep coming back. It really doesn't get much better than this.
So we've got a fortnight until the next home game against Lincoln, with tricky matches at Orient and Darlo sandwiched in between. Bring a friend, neighbour, relation or complete stranger. The boys need you, and you need to be there.
Go on, then you'll be able to tell your grandchildren 'I was there when they nearly went out of the league'.
Bring it on