HI EVERYONE. I hope you enjoyed your Easter. I know we did, because two wins certainly helped keep our spirits high!
Two totally different challenges, two different environments to negotiate, but with only one result anticipated, expected and ultimately delivered.
Scunthorpe are a good team who are deservedly in the play-off positions and, ably led by Nigel Adkins and his staff, are looking for a second promotion to the Championship in three years.
We beat them at home earlier in the season in a tight game, and saw no reason to expect anything other than the same challenge on Good Friday.
In a fast-paced evening match we once again edged it as our lads squeezed every last drop of energy into a performance that probably was as good as we’ve produced this season.
An excellent goal from the outstanding Tom Clarke and a precision beauty from the hard-working Gary Roberts were added to the all-round excellence of Danny Cadamarteri, the probings of Michael Collins and the defensive heroics of Nathan Clarke and his gang!
Andy Butler was superb on his return to Scunthorpe, as was Jim Goodwin, who battled to get a hold for our midfield while not being distracted by the vocal derision of the Scunthorpe faithful!
Saying that, they were all good and everyone contributed on the night.
Fast forward to Easter Monday at the Galpharm and the visit of Carlisle, our conquerors on Boxing Day.
Carlisle are at the opposite end of the table to Scunthorpe, but with survival to play for, brought a different but no less potent incentive to fuel their efforts.
This was an afternoon game, it was very warm and massively difficult for both sides to get going, to put some pace in the game, to play with the intensity that undoubtedly suits our lads.
The slow pace probably suited Carlisle better and with the likes of Michael Bridges playing, a moment of complacency could have been very costly.
At half-time Lee reminded the team of their commitment to the club cause, the fans and each other. He knew how difficult the conditions were but asked the guys to give that bit more that would make all the difference.
To their credit, they responded superbly and after watching the DVD re-run we could and should have scored at least five in the second half.
We’d mentioned how strong our bench was before the game (this really isn’t just an 11-man game anymore) and the changes Lee made at strategic times contributed enormously to us winning the game.
A Michael Flynn cross headed home emphatically by, well who else, Andy Booth won the day – well done lads!
A special word for the defensive display that allowed us to keep a clean sheet. It carries much kudos in the professional game as it reflects both organisation and team spirit.
I see our friends at the Giants are having a great start to their season. I’ve been along to watch and support them, as have Terry McDemott and Lee Clark, and it’s great for the town to have two winning teams operating out of the Galpharm.
Paul Stephenson and I had a coffee and a chat with Nathan Brown a couple of weeks ago, and having spent a couple of hours with him it’s not hard to see how the Giants are ambitiously grasping the reins in this season’s Super League charge.
Nathan’s a top bloke and I’d like to wish him all the best for the rest of this campaign from his pals at the other-shaped ball game and along the corridor here at the Galpharm.
We have three games left! In the form table, we’ve won four, drawn one and lost one of our last six.
That loss, to Southend, was in part to a highly-disputed penalty.
We’d love to make it 7-1-1. That’s our aim and would take us, and you, into post-season with an optimistic gleam in our eyes concerning next season.
You lot have been great this time. It’s much appreciated and we want to go out on a high for everyone associated with the club.
Until next week – onwards and upwards!
Quote of the week:
"The quest for consistency is won when you consistently respect the focus that works best for you." Terry Orlick (American sports psychologist).
I really believe we are finding that focus.