We have nothing to fear but fear itself…. well, that and a team at the bottom of the table, which suddenly and collectively decides to banish its own terrors to Room 101 and play as if it has nothing to lose; such teams are more dangerous than a cornered velociraptor on the loose in San Diego.
A sense of trepidation hung heavy in the air here at In The Top One - we’d seen enough dreary midweek home performances against supposedly inferior opposition to last us a lifetime. We’re not doom-mongerers or naysayers, just accepting that after such an overwhelming and emotionally exhausting Sunday, the chances of a flat performance were high.
The boy Britt though did his best to banish such thoughts, neatly dispatching a pinpoint cross and converting from the spot after a robust challenge on Michail Antonio. First impressions were that it was the type of tackle that looked worse than it was – after all, the ball seemed to have been clearly won.
This naysayer still thought we’d lose.
From hereon though, Ross McCormack grabbed hold of this game and dangled it over the edge of a very tall building. He coolly dispatched a free kick and set about dropping deep in order to cause havoc in that vital area between defence and holding midfield. The half-time break did nothing to repel this rather mean tactic of combining fluidly with his strike partner Hugo Rodallega and scoring more goals. If that makes it sound simple, it’s because it looked a rather simple task to create Adebayo Akinfenwa-sized holes in our defence.
This naysayer let it be known to those around him that he’d already said we’d lose.
But then Henri Lansbury wrestled the game from its precarious state of being dangled over the edge of a tall building by McCormack and proceeded to throw aforementioned dangler over the edge of the aforementioned tall building and loudly proclaim, ‘If there’s dangling to be done, I’ll be the one doing the dangling.’
Antonio received a long ball and produced a turn and finish that deserves its own t-shirt and poster.
This naysayer proclaimed that there would be another goal, but he had no idea who would be claiming it.
Chances came and went down the other end but it seemed fitting that Gabor Kiraly’s sartorial choice of grey jogging bottoms be punished as he was made to fish the ball out of the net once again after a Britt header came back off the post and fell kindly for him to smash home. Young Jamie Paterson scampered on to add a pleasing full stop to proceedings.
Britt Assombalonga: Has scored more goals (8) than 9 of the Championship teams have managed in total this season #nffc— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) September 18, 2014
This could easily be seen as another disjointed performance: the previously imperious defence held together by Michael Mancienne glue looked wobbly and for a period of time, the midfield parted alarmingly. But let’s afford a degree of leeway here – just three days ago, the experienced spine of the team in the shape of Jack Hobbs, Andy Reid and Chris Cohen were last seen dragging themselves atop the physio table. It does indeed feel seismic that we smuggled a victory from this game and to conjure five goals from such a lumbering performance is some achievement.
Imagine what might happen when we open our can marked ‘A Game’ and spray it allover the place?