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Occasionally you have a nightmare… - 19/02/2003

After a good result against Rotherham, we suffered a loss to Portsmouth and then could only draw against Sheffield Wednesday. The latter game was one to forget… a black eye, an own goal, and then being sent off. It’s as if someone had it in for me, and to make matters worse, Alan Shearer was sitting in the stand!!

We’d felt good before the game and the boys were confident of a result. The black eye was a result of a clash of heads, I went to head the ball and hit the back of their centre forward’s head. Then, with only twelve or so minutes gone I’d put the ball in the back of our net! I’ve watched it quite a few times on the video and I still can’t believe it went in. Looking back it would have been a good idea to have left the ball, but that’s with the benefit of hindsight. The sending off was also a massive blow, I genuinely tried to get out of the way of Michael Reddy. His touch took the ball across me, as he followed it he cut across me and my knee made contact with his ankle. With running at speed he went over. It's frustrating becasue there was no intent, there's nothing malicious about trying to get out of somebodies way!

What made it even more disappointing is that we failed to pick up the three points. To play virtually 80 minutes with ten men is difficult and very tiring. After getting back on terms, then going ahead, it was a bit of a sickener when they got their second and if I hadn’t have been sent off I’m sure we’d be higher up the table. Speaking of which, if we don’t make the play-off’s this year it’s going to be torture!! After all the lost points and difficulties this season, we’re still only five points away from the play-off zone. We’ll spend all summer thinking of what might have been – but that’s football, we have to move on and focus on the next game. It’s a trip to Turf Moor, and Burnley haven’t had the best of runs recently but we know they can be match for anyone – evidenced by their form in the F.A. Cup!

Looking back to August, we’ve lost around ten players from the first team squad, but the kids have come in and done very well. After Burnley we’re two very tricky games against Leicester and Palace, but it’s all to play for and I still think we’re more than capable of reaching those play-off places.

I didn’t see the Newcastle v Leverkusen game last night, but I’m very pleased for my old team mates. It’s great for Newcastle and good for English football. They’ve given themselves a chance as they should beat the Germans next week. It’ll be tough to overtake Inter, but let’s face it, it looked worse during the first phase and it didn't stop them then!

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