Notts fan and Nottingham University student James Constantine continues his blog...
Having finally conquered my first of three essays before the Christmas break, I could not have received any better treat than what was in stall on Saturday afternoon, bar maybe the weather. There truly is no better feeling than walking out of the Kop after a win and clapping the players off the pitch. The passion and the way in which Notts battled and fought for every inch of ground saw us pull of a deserved 1-0 win and in great fashion.
In my last blog I stated four points would have been a good achievement from our two games last week and so I was holding out for a draw against Preston. Last Tuesday night I was sitting in a silent library with people labouring over piles of books and essays; I however, was heavily distracted by Andrew James and Dean Yates delivering tense commentary over at Deepdale. I think the whole library floor could hear my sigh of relief when the final whistle blew and Notts gained a great point away at a resurgent Preston North End. It’s on a dark night in places such as Preston where the league is really shaped and won and therefore it was an even better result with Notts keeping both a clean sheet and grabbing a superb point away from home.
The real highlight of the week however, had to be Saturday’s game against Paolo Di Canio’s men. On the way to a gloomy Meadow Lane with gradually heavier and heavier rain, I began to wonder whether our baron two month spell of no wins at home would continue. I do remember feeling however, a sense of positivity just before the game when I saw the addition of Chris Iwelumo up front and the much welcomed return of Julian Kelly. There was a subtle atmosphere in the Kop and around Meadow Lane of the importance of the match, knowing Swindon are going to be one of our major challengers this season and with our recently poor home record, every Notts fan was looking to the heavens for a change in fortunes.
This came in no greater fashion than a wonder strike from Alan Judge 25 yards out from a flick on, courtesy of Chris Iwelumo. What a wonderful sight it was to see the ripple of the net past a static Swindon keeper and to see the whole of Meadow Lane jump up in ecstasy. Notts certainly deserved it after peppering the Swindon goal in the first 25 minutes and the muting of the Swindon crowd quickly followed. Swindon weren’t without chances however and they demonstrated why they will be around the play-off spots come April with their dominant and strong passages of play right throughout the second half. Notts gradually dropped back and Swindon piled on the pressure but without that star quality to put the ball in the back of the net, it was to my and thousands of other Magpies delight to walk away with all three points.
Notts can sleep happy this week with a different challenge in the way of Rotherham on Saturday in the FA Cup. It’s a game I am very much looking forward to with fond memories of past seasons, especially at home to Manchester City, and hopefully Notts can be in the hat for the 3rd round draw. If there’s one thing that gets you through your week, be it work, be it studying or simply lying in bed at night, it’s the thought of that 3 o’clock buzz come Saturday where I expect thousands of Black and White pies beside me, roaring out the Wheelbarrow song.