That winning feeling eh! Amazing!
That’s my first live win since Millwall in March and god it felt good.
Yes, Fleetwood pressed us hard in the second half and we were hanging on in there somewhat by the end but I’d say overall it was a deserved three points as we definitely created the better clear-cut chances over the ninety minutes.
There’s maybe half a dozen candidates for the coveted man of the match award here, which is a fantastic sign.
Remi was in the main very assured in net, especially at the end but didn’t have enough to do overall to merit it and perhaps could have got a hand to Josh Morris’ precise strike but that may be a little harsh.
Both full-backs continue to impress with their measured play and the Emmanuel/Dodoo partnership is gelling and the understanding improving with each passing game. It is an exciting, agile and athletic axis down the right and one that is striking fear into opposing defenders and frustrating their wide men in equal measure as we more often than not manage to cut off that avenue of attack for our opponents.
Chris O’Grady put in a towering performance, epitomised by his ‘tackle goal’ which was an absolute delight to see, a goal that the watching Kevin Davies would have been proud to call his own. His pressing intensity, stamina and overall energy levels belied his 33 year-old frame and his recent return from his dislocated knee cap. Another big, strong body in there to defend set-pieces was also a vital factor as Fleetwood peppered our box with consecutive corners as the game neared it’s conclusion.
To a lesser extent Daryl Murphy would be in the reckoning, mainly for his goal, at first glance looking clumsy and if he’d missed his chance to score, was actually expertly taken and he had a much better game and is also clearly getting stronger, sharper and fitter every time he takes to the field.
Both centre halves were equal to Barton’s wily strike duo of Paddy Madden and nearly-a-Wanderer-once Ched Evans, although both wasted good heading opportunities.
Jake Wright was a little shaky at first as he tried to dust off the rust of his three week absence from the side but he defended manfully alongside the marmite figure of Yoan Zouma, who did lots of Zouma-things throughout the game as usual.
However, only one man deserved the award by my reckoning and it’s our reborn, reenergised and revitalised captain in central midfield, local lad and all round good guy.
Step forward, Jason Lowe.
The handsome devil is certainly winning over even his staunchest of critics with his all action displays recently and his role in this win was absolutely pivotal as he was everywhere in denying the likes of Paul Coutts, Jordan Rossiter and Kyle Dempsey the chance to get a proper foothold in the game and impose their style on us.
Countless interceptions, 50/50 duels won including some towering headers and consistent intelligent use of the ball meant Keith Hill’s reserved the biggest and manliest hug out of all his players at the end of the game for his on-field leader, who has stepped up his levels again since Liam Bridcutt’s unfortunate collar bone injury.
Mr Lowe, here’s my metaphorical champagne...enjoy!
I salute you Sir!
We are staying up, say we are staying up!! (please excuse the euphoria of winning for my overt optimism)