Updated: Jul 14
Last weekend's match ended on such a sickening note that I couldn't face the league table for several days. When I finally looked, I was surprised to see we were still in touch with our dreams of promotion. As we never have much luck against Fleetwood and their lovable manager plus the fact that they had a thumping win last Saturday this doesn't make me feel confident that we'll get anything out of tonight's match. Gooch's long-term injury hasn't improved my mood either. I hope that Parky will use more of his five available subs tonight as if he'd had a few pairs of fresh legs on against Donny we might well have had the ball up their end and not have been on the receiving end. Anyway, I live in faint hopes that we'll have Diamond on as early as possible as he has pace, something most of his teammates lack. I'll be watching the match with my bubble members and I can hear the vitriolic language already as I can't see us getting anything from the game. Match prediction: 1-2 to Fleetwood.
I got to my bubble-house about fifteen minutes before kick-off and discovered that Graham was starting upfront with Wyke. At least Diamond and McFadzean were on the bench. We started brightly and the ball wasn't in our half in the opening two minutes. Graham created a good chance for Wyke when he laid a low pass on a plate for him in the box but the latter fluffed it. Sadly, after that good scoring run Charlie seems to have reverted to his semi-mobile mode. Still we continued to have much more of the attacking play with Hume looking threatening down our left. We won our first corner in the thirteenth minute and it was better than most of our recent ones, even my mate was moved to call it, “Half-decent.” By the midway point Matthews had had very little to do and I was pleased that we hadn't reverted to our passing it sideways and backwards style of attacking. Scowen was yellow-carded for a tenacious challenge. Fair dues to Graham, he was certainly chasing every ball and he seemed up for it. By the half-way mark we'd conceded a lot to Fleetwood and despite our comparative dominance, we'd again failed to capitalise on it. I thought we had a decent penalty shout eight minutes from the break when Scowen went down but referee Robert Madley wasn't having it. It remained 0-0 at the break but I thought we'd edged it and Mattthews had had a quiet match.
As we kicked off again I hoped for one or two early substitutions, especially Diamond and McFadzean, to inject some more direct play. In the second minute a great long-distance shot hit our bar and Matthews saved well from the follow-up from Madden. We'd had plenty of Route 1 attacks in the first half but we were relying mainly on them as this half continued and Fleetwood were having the better of things. Ten minutes in Wyke had a good header go not far wide of the left post from a McLaughlin cross and that was more like it. Just before the hour-mark we were ahead and it was Wyke who got it. Another hopeful punt upfield, this time from the left wing, found Wyke bearing down towards the edge of the box and after the ball bounced he got his head on it to guide it deliciously into the net. We were waiting for it to be ruled out but that never happened and we basked in some rare joy. In the seventieth minute we finally used a sub but surprisingly it was Grigg who came on for Graham. Me and my fellow-bubblers were dismayed as Graham had put a good shift in. Fleetwood proceeded to pummel us and we managed to get away with just a corner but then they were level when Connolly slammed one in a minute later. Eleven minutes to go and we still hadn't made any further changes while we were definitely on the back foot. My mate said we were getting marmelised, which is a word you Ken Dodd fans will know. An away draw was definitely the best we could hope for with four minutes on the clock but why doesn't Parky bring on more subs earlier as Fleetwood had done? It was far too late for them to make any impact but, anyway, McFadzean and Power replaced Maguire and Hume. It ended 1-1.
A draw was probably a fair result but despite predicting that we'd get beat, I still feel disappointed that we couldn't hold on to the lead.