Mickey Blue Eyes
The home League Cup match with West Bromwich just about summed up where our team performances stand at the moment. In truth, the less said about the game the better: we were awful for eighty minutes of normal time, equalised at the death, and won it only narrowly in extra time. At least we were spared the ludicrous pantomime of a penalty shoot out. And we can console ourselves that our season has started better than last year. Scant compensation, I know, but any drifting straw will do as Moyesy rebuilds his team and squad.
It took us thirty five minutes to summon an attempt on goal, by which time the enemy had had four near misses and generally had command of play. When they went ahead with a second half penalty it was certainly deserved. Most of us simply sat there, chin in hands, eyes staring glassily at misplaced passes, spiritless play and the kind of incompetence you attribute to Colonel Blimp and your average spiv banker. Occasionally you felt somebody was going to invade the pitch and try to shake some enthusiasm out of them. You knew it wasn't going to be Moyesy because he had retreated into sulk-mode on the bench; you can tell things are bad when he makes only sporadic appearances at the dotted line and his body language is all sloped shoulders and hollow chest. Just after the penalty I got a text from Paul: "Not going the pub afterwards," which was precisely how I felt.
Felli's equaliser was quite out of keeping with the match, a masterly swivel and left foot ground shot, minimum back lift, left edge of the D. It was the culmination of our only ten minutes of "pressure" in normal time, and, funnily, we might even have won it before the final whistle when Jack the Lad had a clear heading chance which he naturally put wide. We did pick up in extra time, though, and gradually gained more of the play. Then Phil Neville - of all people! - got the winner with a fine shot after good dribbling and close control by Roy tight on the right goal line. Relatively speaking, Felli and Roy were our two best players on the night.
Afterwards, me, I couldn't wait to get home. I don't even want to think about playing Man Sitteh this weekend.