Gutted. Beyond all belief gutted. This was our chance. This was our opportunity to grab the glory and put this matter to bed. And we blew it. Typical Blues. We go to the last day of the season.
It started so well, you really couldn`t see us blowing it. Bluenoses turned out in force and made an incredible amount of noise, as they got behind the team 100%. The atmosphere was truly electric and you got the sense that we couldn`t lose…we just couldn`t.
Intrigued by the news that the Board were to make a very special announcement at half-time, they game got underway in beautiful conditions. The intensity on the pitch was matched by the intensity in the stands.
The first half was a mixed bag, with nerves getting the better of the side, and half time came along with the news that the Railway Stand is to be renamed the Gil Merrick Stand from next season.
Then, in the 57th minute, we struck. Keith Fahey found the net with a brilliant header after an exquisite cross from the right, and it looked as if everything was going to plan. This was it. We were going up. Game, set and match….but wait. Lee Bowyer tangled with Williamson, and his stupidity led to two red cards, one apiece for either side. However, the effect of the red card was felt more by the Blues than their opponents.
We looked dangerous and threatening before the collision and afterwards, Blues switched to a 4-3-2 / 4-4-1 but we never truly looked comfortable. Preston exposed the gaps in our side and when we were crying out for Lee Carsley to be brought onto the field of play, Preston scored. McKenna scored a wonder goal…but is that any consolation to Bluenoses? Not a chance.
Then, it became desperate. Blues pushed forward and chances came and went. Cameron Jerome scored and the crowd went crazy…before the referee awarded a free-kick for offside.
Then, Jerome blasted over from 4 yards.
Then? Then they scored again. Ross Wallace scored a sumptuous free kick in the 89th minute and we were resigned to our fate. It was going down the Reading game.
My apologies for the brief nature of this article, but to be honest, there is nothing left to say. This is a game that made you happy, sad, fearful then it left you feeling sick. It was gut wrenching and heartbreaking. At one point, I turned to my mate and said, “I feel sick to my stomach”. His reply? “Me too”. This is what this club does to you. This is what the at times beautiful game does to you. It lifts you up, then it throws you back down to the ground.
Like many Bluenoses, I don`t see us getting promoted anymore. This was our chance. We blew it. Now we have to pick ourselves up and go again on Sunday, but can we really do it?
All we can say for definite, is that there will be 1,500 Bluenoses, myself among them, at Reading, praying that we can pull it off.
The Premier League is calling. We missed our first chance, we can`t screw it up again.