Last time Exeter City came to Sincil Bank, the prize was a place in League One.
Had we beaten them that afternoon, an afternoon I spent laid in a bed with my spinal surgery fresh in my mind, we could have gone to Wembley for another final. Would we have beaten Coventry? With Ollie Palmer up front? I’m not so sure.
The point is it was another game against the Grecians that mattered. Not so long before that we beat them 302 in another match that mattered, a game we had to win to get back into the play-offs. One that afternoon, Ollie Palmer proved me wrong with a goal, a celebration of a disallowed goal and a masterclass in what he actually did.
There’s no Ollie Palmer tomorrow night but the prize is just as big.
Tomorrow is our game in hand. Tomorrow, that advantage we perceive, the mythical ‘two points clear with a game in hand’, becomes a firm number. Be it five points clear, three points clear or just two. Tomorrow, we’re on level pegging with games played.
I keep hearing about form tables, I keep hearing about teams being unbeaten during this amount of time, winning this many home games, dropping that many points. it’s all irrelevant though isn’t it? Only one table matters, the 34 game form table, then 35 game until eventually we hit 46 and the season is over.
That’s when it matters. So what if Bury are the best team since October, the prize is for the best team since August. We’re unbeaten since Boxing Day in the league and we’ve lost once in eighteen matches. That’s pretty bloody special, even if we have dropped some points at home.
Tomorrow, we need to win. Exeter won’t bring many, no for a 600 mile round trip on a school night, so it is up to us to fill the Bank and become the advantage. At present, there are still tickets left. We keep talking about new grounds, big crowds and all that, but until you can sell 9,000 for a Tuesday night six pointer with a promotion rival, it’s all irrelevant.
I’m not a fan-shamer, I know sometimes you can go and other times you can’t, but with tickets still available there’s no better time to get on the bandwagon. New, returning, whatever. Buy a ticket, come and support the lads.
Don’t moan when a pass gets misplace after fifteen minutes, don’t groan when it’s 0-0 at half time and keep singing those songs through until the end. The season doesn’t end tomorrow, but with a five point cushion we can started to enjoy games much more.
The prize is likely to be a trip to Portman Road next season, a visit from Bolton Wanderers and a game against Peterborough who we consider as rivals. It’s a big jump to League One, a jump the club have made once in over thirty years. Tomorrow night, with a little bit of luck and a lot of Bruno Andrade, we might take a big step towards getting there once more.
It’s on iFollow too, but unless you live in Mongolia or New Zealand, forget that.