I’ve never been to Scunthorpe before but I’ll be there in a few hours. There’s the small matter of not having a ticket for the match yet but I’m confident I’ll get a seat somewhere. Scunthorpe are in the lower reaches of the league but have won their last four games so we’re going to be in for another tussle. We have both Catts and Maja back in contention with Watmore a possibility but Honeyman is still injured. As for our rivals, Luton are at home to Peterborough while the others should get at least a point so we really have to get three ourselves today. There’s going to be another big turnout of our fans and we can make a difference so I’ve got the feeling that we’re going to win. Match prediction: 2-1 to us.
I shared a taxi from Scunthorpe Station with a few good lads from the Wakefield Branch (unofficial) and left them at a nearby pub while I went to the stadium to try and sniff out a ticket. There were tickets available but when they detected a Sunderland connection they refused to sell me one and there were none going anywhere outside so as the match kicked-off I decided to sit down on the steps of a portakabin outside our end and try to perceive from the noise our fans were making what was going on within. It was all quiet for most of the first ten minutes. Next thing a security man came up to me and told me that I had to move even though I was sitting there quietly minding my own business and doing harm to neither man nor beast. So, I made my way to the Berkeley, the nearest pub, (£3 for a pint of stout and a packet of crisps incidentally) and attempted to get the match on SAFSEE but I couldn’t get a connection. I could see from BBC Sport that after half an hour the match remained goalless but we’d had much more possession. One or two other Sunderland fans rolled in, no doubt having had a similar fate to me. A few minutes before the break SAFSEE decided to work and Gary Bennett wasn’t happy at another poor Sunderland corner. The crowd was very quiet. There was more noise in the pub where a large group of very pissed blokes were asked to leave for too much effing and blinding. At the whistle Gary Bennett said we hadn’t done well at all and Ross wouldn’t be pleased.
I managed to get the match online as the second-half began and there was much more atmosphere with our fans contributing a lot. Charlie Wyke started to warm up after a short while but I couldn’t see Charlie being our saviour, though I hoped he’d prove me wrong. Wyke duly replaced Maguire in the fifty-third minute. Nick Barnes said we were struggling to impose ourselves on the game which was a nice way of saying we were shite. I got another pint in and I’d just sat down again and got my headphones plugged in when Maja headed us into the lead at the near post. With half an hour on the clock could we hold out? Well, we hadn’t retained the lead well recently but... Scunthorpe went close to equalizing a few minutes later but McCardle’s touch didn’t quite reach a Scunthorpe player and it went for a goal-kick. Elsewhere Luton were stuffing Peterborough 4-0 so their goal-difference would be looking much better than ours by the end of the day. With twenty minutes on the clock Watmore started to warm up and he soon came on for Maja, who applauded our fans as he went off. Hopefully Watmore could stretch the home defence and cause some havoc and another goal would surely seal it. The attendance of 7,263 was announced and it would’ve been 7,264 if they’d let a friendly old get like me in. Those were the words I’d used to describe myself to the ticket office staff member earlier but after consultation with his superior I’d got the thumbs down. With nine minutes to go I allowed myself faint visions of victory but left it at that. A few seconds later McLaughlin somehow got down to scramble away a deflected shot and it went for a corner. I tried to stifle those hopes of victory but it wasn’t easy. Just as well as in the eighty-sixth minute Hamil equalized with a twenty-yard shot and yet again we’d let a lead go. Not too much happened after that despite four minutes of stoppage-time and it ended 1-1.
Again this feels like two points dropped and despite Portsmouth and Peterborough losing, Charlton scored in the dying minutes to snatch a victory and Barnsley won well away so it hasn’t been a good day for us. We’ll have to improve on performances like this if we want to finish in the top two.