The Diary

Cod Almighty | Diary

O captain, my captain

11 September 2019

Miss Guest Diary writes: Wow, that was something last night, wasn't it?

The old saying about being careful what you wish for certainly has some merit. After complaining last month about the dearth of Tuesday evening games, travelling to Blundell Park on four Tuesdays out of five had me feeling somewhat jaded. To the extent that we didn't even bother with fish and chips before last night's game.

I could also be heard to utter some traitorous words about not being that bothered if we didn't win. After all, it would only result in an expensive trip to London to be battered by Chelsea's reserves. Nothing much changed in the first half when Town looked likely to concede at any moment, especially during a spell when Macclesfield seemed to have a shot every 30 seconds.

Then Mr Jolley worked his half-time magic and we were treated to a display of passing and movement and chances created in front of the Pontoon which could have resulted in several goals for Town. But it was not to be and the inevitable penalty shootout ensued.

And we all know how good Town are at those. My other half informed me that we did win a penalty contest at Lincoln in the Lincolnshire Cup in July 2012, but that hardly counts. Courtesy of someone on Twitter, I understand you have to go back to 2008 at Chesterfield to find a 'real' victory for Town on penalties. I don't know about you, but uppermost in my mind was Wembley in 2015 and 'that' kick from John-Paul Pittman. I was behind the goal that day and had to duck to avoid being hit. When Elliott Whitehouse took his kick last night, I had my partner stand in front of me, just in case.

I needn't have worried. In fact, you couldn't have scripted things better in a film. Matt Green missed the first kick, just to raise the tension, but McKeown came to his rescue by saving Macclesfield's second. Then it was neck and neck until Jimmy Mac became the hero of the hour by saving their sixth spot-kick. To see the rush of elation as he sprinted across the turf and rolled around with Sam Russell was wonderful; as were the celebrations of the entire Town squad and management team. The feelings this sort of occasion invokes are the reason I love sport, and why it is impossible to explain to a non-lover what all the fuss is about.

So it's on to Chelsea. I was there in 1996 when they beat us 4-1 – and that was in the days before they were almost entirely composed of overseas international players, and when Town were in the second tier. My head tells me that even against their second-string players it would be a big ask to come away with anything less than a heavy defeat. But then my heart reminds me that in January Michael Jolley's team managed to hold Crystal Palace to a 1-0 scoreline with only 10 men for most of the game.

Before we qualified for the third round, I told myself that I'd been to Chelsea and I didn't need to go again. But now I've spent quite a bit of time this morning researching hotels, train times, tube journey times... I may see you there. UTM.