After Saturday's gloom and angst tonight's match may provide a little light relief. There were one or two shock results in last night's cup matches but I'm not feeling confident that we'll do the same. Sheffield will probably make lots of changes but even so, we're going to have our hands full. It's early morning still and I don't know anything about our starting line-up but we'll no doubt give some back-room players a run-out too. I hope Grigg won't be starting, though, because as a striker he consistently fails to strike. I won't be at the game and due to working late I may even miss the start of the match on SAFSEE. Our cup run last season was a lot of fun but this time around I think we can do without over-stretching ourselves and should concentrate on getting out of League 1 so I won't be too upset if we lose. Match prediction: 2-1 to Sheffield.
As expected I was late getting home and missed the first twenty-five minutes of the game but I was very pleased to see that we were 1-0 ahead through a great Power shot in the ninth minute after a shaky start in which Burge had made two excellent saves. We actually sounded comfortable, which was a bit worrying. I hadn't had time to check the starting line-ups but could hear Embleton and de Bock were on and Wyke was too, but no Grigg unless he was doing nothing – surely not. We were certainly getting quite a few corners while Sheffield didn't seem to be doing much pressing so as half-time approached things were going well. Just before the break Embleton appeared to pull a hamstring so it was very likely we'd have to play a sub from the start of the second-half. It remained 1-0 at the break and the commentators were generous in their praise of our performance though they anticipated a much more lively Sheffield after a half-time rollicking. I was particularly pleased that Power had scored as it's his first of the season and he doesn't seem to have been the player he was since that third red card carry-on last season.
As expected Embleton didn't return and it was Hume who replaced him. Hume played a great part in a fine move after eight minutes when he crossed for O'Nien to shoot and hit the side-netting. Instead of Sheffield coming out of the traps, we were doing a lot more attacking and Sheffield swapped both of their strikers not long before the hour-mark to try and give themselves more bite. Both commentators agreed that these cup games against Premier League opposition were much less frenetic than the average League 1 game and everyone had much more time to think instead of passing quickly. O'Nien seemed to be in the thick of everything and new boy de Bock appeared to be doing well, making a number of timely tackles. Those substitutions had definitely given Sheffield a bit of oomph but we were defending well and Sheffield had to wait till the sixty-fifth minute to get their second corner. O'Nien attempted an overhead kick but it went for a throw. Well, he was clearly full of hell and that suited me. Burge was having a good game and sounded as safe as houses – maybe I shouldn't have said that but as we entered the final quarter things continued to go ominously well. The attendance was announced – 11,675 – and a quarter of them were our fans. The home end launched into a rare chant and it sounded like there were about four of them there.
With just less fifteen minutes to go I slipped a bottle of Heineken into the freezer in anticipation of a possible victory celebration and hoped I wasn't tempting fate. We still hadn't used our other two subs and Griggs's name was being touted. Six minutes to go and we were pressing as much as they were. They won a corner in the eighty-seventh minute but it was headed out by Lynch, who also seemed to have put in a solid display. Our arses were definitely against the wall as the clock ticked away but then we won a corner in the dying seconds and kept the ball in the corner. Three minutes of stoppage-time were announced and we brought on Dobson for Maguire, who'd just been yellow-carded for time-wasting. It ended 1-0 to loud cheers from our fans.
This was very pleasant and we played confidently after an initial dodgy five minutes. I hope we see most of these lads on again this Saturday.