From Where I Was Standing
It wasn`t any ordinary Sunday Morning.
Eastland`s was the Sunday destination, Manchester City hosting red scouse Liverpool. There have been some cracking matches against Liverpool over recent years and I expected more of the same.
There was nothing different to the usual pre-match build up, slumber out of bed not too distant from kick off and drown my self in the shower followed by a trip downstairs for some of the finest cereal to grace the world.
Both me and dad were discussing pre-match build up, score predictions, crowd, who will play? The lot. The time was approaching 2pm and we decided to set off attempting to claim our Clayton Library parking spot that has recently been snatched by big match Charlie`s.
Again, we were left disappointed with all 5 spots taken; a short drive around the corner was where we parked if this operation failed. We swung open the car door, took deep anxious breaths and wrapped our Munich air disaster scarfs tightly around our neck on what was a perishing cold day. Because Cereal wasn`t too long ago I avoided the usual pre-match meal from the chippy, sausage, chips and curry sauce. Instead we opted for a more sweet taste with the ever present sports mixtures in our mind.
Approaching Eastlands, there was a sense of hope, excitement and most notably tension. Not much was said from travelling fans, after recent shoddy performances who can blame them? Walking past Derby Arms and Asda we were closing in on the excellent infrastructure ahead, the difficult part was staying upright with the weather choosing snow overnight.
I don`t particularly enjoy travelling to Eastlands on a cold, wet and blustery day. Not because I`d prefer a mug of horlicks and to be tucked up in bed, just because I feel we never play well without the sun on our back. Entering Section 201 from block E we felt pulsated, in all honesty nervous but nothing that a swift pint before hand couldn`t ease.
We`d hoped for a pre-match punt at the bookies inside the ground, but it was approaching 2.55pm and the queue was growing by the second.
3-1 to City, Ade first goal. However, this wouldn`t have gave me much to celebrate after the match anyway at least I saved a pound.
We took our seat, then immediately arose. The players were coming out of the tunnel, the atmosphere was building, I could sense a thoroughbred classic.
The clock was ticking, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, nothing was happening. Had we started? Did we remember the occasion? It was a drab affair. We looked strong at the back and this was pleasing to see, the defensive partnership of Kompany and Lescott was one I`ve been calling for, as well as many others, for a long time. I couldn`t help feel we should be hammering Liverpool though, this was the weakest side I have seen them field for some time, a thought echoed by my dad.
The fans were urging us to attack; I was waiting for the cries of Attack, Attack, Attack, Attack, Attack. The fans were not in a singing mood, we were desperate for some inspiration or magic to spur us on. We needed something to cheer, no attacking football was played and Liverpool were there for the taking.
I sat there, nerves changed to anger, determination changed to desperation. A sense of bewilderment was etched across nearby faces, eyes gazing the program instead of the turf, who can blame them? We were expecting a lot more.
Our sense of reality and perspective has changed over recent weeks. With Hughes we were fuming and disappointing to be 5th. Some have grudgingly accepted this position now and although some blame Hughes draws, if recent results had been better we still had the chance to sit comfortably ahead of the chasing pack.
The match was growing and the groans from the City faithful were getting louder. If it hadn`t been for the shocking weather I feel most fans could have easily taken a mid-afternoon siesta.
Full time was approaching and although we were desperate for that late winner, in reality it wasn`t going to come. We had played for a draw, too scared to chance our arm in fear of losing. This had seriously angered me and we are better than this, we deserve better than this.
The 47,000+ that had turned up left bemused, did this point suit us? Was it justified? Could we have performed better?
Personally, our run in is the hardest and this was a must-win game meaning Liverpool would be happier with the point. It was a fair result although it could have easily been different if we had played a lot better.
I was slowly walking back towards the car. A match report on this! You must be joking, what do I talk about? I was clearly disappointed, I wanted and had expected a lot more. The drive back to Huddersfield University was no better, the usual delusional callers were ringing in there hundreds on BBC GMR.
All in all, I was gutted. I thought this was the game where we move forward, further consolidating our place amongst the top four. Instead I was watching another uber cautious performance.