Fuller Flavour: Finally, some luck – and the grit that we need for relegation fight
PUBLISHED: 09:53 14 January 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
A win, a performance that showed character and determination and a buzzing atmosphere with a sense of a connection returning. This is exactly what we wished for, writes Karl Fuller.
The league table still looks very precarious and the odds are stacked heavily against us staying in the Championship. But Saturday’s performance had a little bit more grit than just about everything that went before, as well as a slice of luck.
That there was not a single permanent signing made by Paul Hurst in the starting line-up told a story about how bad things got under his leadership.
Instead, we saw three players making their first start for the club and Callum Elder making his home debut. Will Keane will be delighted with his goal, but the rock of the side that made sure more than most that our clean sheet was gained came in the form of James Collins.
The conundrum for Paul Lambert was what to do with the troublesome right-back position. I did not want to see Luke Chambers there as this was something that went on for far too long previously and in my humble opinion, Chambo is much better equipped as a centre-back.
The task was left to Matthew Pennington, who I thought had an excellent game.
Rotherham will look at their second-half performance and wonder how they left with nothing, rather like what happened to us after our first-half performance when we visited them at the start of the season.
You could say in this instance, things certainly evened themselves out.
They were not the worst team to visit us this season and on any given day before Saturday, they would probably have equalised at the death when the ball fizzed around our six-yard box pinball style with our players frenetically throwing themselves into blocks like the flippers of a pinball machine to preserve our slender lead. You can’t say we didn’t deserve that slice of fortune.
I started last week with an appearance on BBC Look East bemoaning another FA Cup exit at the Third Round stage and providing my thoughts on current times at the club. I was told that I was ‘hard-hitting’ in my responses, but I could only answer openly and honestly.
One of my responses that aired was when quizzed on my thoughts about there being any hope of us staying up. I said that I didn’t think that there was any hope and furthermore, declared a worry that this time next year might see us worrying about the prospect of dropping to League Two the way things are.
The unknown quantity now though is how quickly Paul Lambert’s new signings will gel and ultimately, if they will have enough quality to overturn our current situation.
I still don’t believe the task will be overcome and it hurts me to say that. What I will say though that if we retain Lambert next season, that increases our chances greatly of turning the tide.
His positivity is breeding into the stands and the noise generated by the Blue Action group in the North Stand spreads further each game. There is a real sense of unity between manager and fans these days.
Looking ahead, there is a night that I simply cannot wait for on Tuesday, 26 February for what promises to be an emotional evening of nostalgia as Town fan Malcolm Thompson hosts ‘A night to remember Kevin Beattie’ at The Royal Hotel, Clacton-on-Sea.
The evening is sponsored by the PFA and will see Brian Talbot, Eric Gates and Paul Mariner in attendance as well as compere Stuart Jarrold. Entry is £5 and includes a souvenir programme courtesy of Clacton Printers so well worth the value.
There will be stories recalled about The Beat and fantastic prizes to win in a raffle including £100 vouchers from Slaters, his and hers watches, an alcohol hamper, champagne and much more.
Auction prizes will include signed shirts donated by ITFC, Man City shirt and West Ham, a signed Arsenal ball, a snooker cue signed by top players, a signed glove and cap from golfer Ian Poulter, and donations from Osvaldo Ardiles and Ed Sheeran.
To purchase tickets, please contact Malcolm on 07743171773 or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org