Karl Fuller: No VAR, but who cares? We're all off to Southend!
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Karl Fuller looks back at at weekend to forget for Town, but a weekend that could be great fun!
The curses of 'live on TV' and 'international breaks' did for us on Sunday you could claim.
I think I'll be a bit more brutally honest and say we were very poor.
Yep, we may have now had 10 defeats and five draws in our last 15 live games and 21 games post-international break without a win but we were uncharacteristically sluggish all over the pitch and I sincerely hope that it's just one of those bad days at the office. I guess we'll find out in the next two games against Rotherham and Southend.
Don't get me wrong, it's fantastic to come this far and still be top of the league.
We would have bitten the hand off anyone who would have offered us this position at the start of the season. We were going to lose at some point. It's just frustrating that it had to happen yet again in front of the live cameras.
If we were playing at a level with VAR in place, we may have got a couple of decisions go our way that went against us. Most notably the 'goal' that was not given when Luke Woolfenden's seemed to cross the line.
But I'm glad VAR isn't in place to be honest as I shudder at the thought of a wild goal celebration being aborted through something so miniscule. We've come this far dealing with fine margins.
I did have a pre-match concern when I saw that none of James Norwood, Kane Vincent-Young or Flynn Downes had made the squad along with the suspended James Wilson.
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I suppose the result serves as a wake-up call to myself that the squad is not necessarily going to always be that deep to cover so many key players when missing.
By the time you read this on Tuesday morning, we'll know who we drew in Monday night's FA Cup draw. We entered the draw as the top-ranked side and it had me wondering when we last played in our earliest possible round as the top-ranked team.
This last occurred in 1974/75 when we entered at the third-round stage as leaders of the old first division. That was just one of only three occasions that we have joined the competition as the highest-placed team.
We did so in 1960/61, again as leaders of the old first division entering the third-round and the only time we entered the first-round stage as well as leading the third tier of the game was in 1953/54. It remains to be seen if by the time our first-round game comes around on November 9, if we're still top of the league. Unless we got a bye of course.
I'm looking forward to my trip to Southend United on Saturday.
It brings back wonderful memories of my first-ever visit to Roots Hall which came about in April 1992. No Town fan present that day will ever forget how our 2-1 victory came about and what it meant. It was a rare occasion that I could watch us play in my home county of Essex and I travelled by car with Peter Townes and if I call correctly, Bob Ong, both also of Clacton.
We enjoyed a pre-match drink and I then took up a position right behind the goal and at the very front. It was of course standing in those days and it was packed with Town fans hoping for victory to push us towards the second division title.
Phil Whelan scored on his debut, John Wark incredulously missed a penalty when hitting the crossbar and then Neil Thompson scored a last-minute winner when having no option other than having to go for goal himself and bending a stupendous effort into the top corner.
How we went wild in celebration and the relief when that winner went in was immeasurable. The final whistle went and before I knew it, I was climbing the fence and over it onto the pitch.
Not through choice but the wave of Town fans pushing on behind me made it impossible not to. We celebrated long after the game on the pitch and it still ranks as one of my favourite-ever away games.