TOWN striker Phil Jevons was taking on England’s best defender in the world’s most famous soccer competition.
But he was not alone.
The 28-year-old player, up against superstar John Terry, had the Blue and White Army behind him.
All 6,200 of them, packing the famous Shed End at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge ground. And doing their best to bring about a major upset in the FA Cup.
They sang, they chanted and they applauded – even when millionaire players Frank Lampard (twice) and Salomon Kalou scored the goals which ended Town’s Wembley dream.
At times, the Army made the Bridge seem like a home ground, with Town’s version of Falling in Love With You almost drowning out the Chelsea anthem Blue Is The Colour.
A giant blue and white flag fluttered high above the heads of the fans packed behind the goal and there were banners draped across the upper tier – including an emotional one saying Get Well Soon Jacko, for Town’s former manager Peter Jackson, battling throat cancer.
Jevons was delighted by the reception given to him and the rest of Andy Ritchie’s heroes.
“It was fantastic to get backing like that.
“They were singing all the way through and even when we went 3-1 down, the fans never stopped.
“All the players appreciated what they did and it’s great to see them here in such numbers.
“They helped make it a fantastic day”.
Town manager Ritchie, too, was visibly appreciative of the backing given by the fans.
He walked on to the pitch, towards the Shed End, after his players had left the field and stood with his arms aloft, applauding the fans, still packed high into the towering stand and still singing.
“We got fantastic backing from our fans”, said Ritchie.
“We had some good play, especially in the start of the second half, and they appreciated us giving it a go”.
Even the police sang the praises of the Town fans.
Chief Insp Frank Brown, supervising the thousands of Town fans pouring off the Fulham Road, said: “They’re very good. It’s a great atmosphere and they are enjoying the day”
The biggest roar, of course, came in stoppage time at the end of the first half when the dream of every Town fan packed behind the goal came true.
At the far end of the field, Michael Collins broke clear and slipped the ball past keeper Carlo Cudicini. It was 1-1, Town were level with the superstars of the national and international game. It prompted incredible scenes and yet another crescendo of noise.
“We had a go and it’s been a great day,” said Andy Solomons, of Birdwell, Barnsley.
“It’s been great to see such an atmosphere in the Shed End”.
And 12-year-old Dan Beaumont, also of Birdwell, agreed.
“It’s been the best away game ever.”