Saturday, 19 April 2014

Blackburn 18/4/14

My penultimate game of the season was also our penultimate away game up at Blackburn Rovers. I had been intending to do the Charlton away game last Tuesday but unfortunately I was off work ill and couldn't make it after all. Sadly, it ended in defeat after a crazy 10 minutes at the start of the first half after going into half time at 1-1. Winning, or even drawing at Charlton, would have made our chances of survival much greater, but as it stood at the start of yesterday, we were looking at needed at least 2 wins out of our final 4 games, and even then we would be relying on others to slip up. 

I got the same train from London to Blackburn that I got to Blackpool a couple of weekends prior, leaving the house around 7:15 and, after a change at Preston, arrived at Mill Hill station at 12:45. The journey was, thankfully, largely uneventful though the train was absolutely packed. It prompted Virgin Trains to make the accouncement that they wouldn't be serving hot drinks on the train in case we spilled them on each other. No words... 

Mill Hill station is a little closer to the ground than the main Blackburn station; around a mile's walk. We popped into the Fox and Hounds pub, just over the road from Ewood Park, and had a couple of pints with some fellow Yeovil fans. I was glad of their presence as the pub started to fill up - otherwise we'd have been the only Glovers in there! Not that the Blackburn fans were unfriendly - generally everyone seemed welcoming.

We made our way to the ground about 2pm, and met our friends before a pretty decent cheeseburger from the concourse kiosk. We were allowed to sit wherever we wanted, picking our customary 'top left of goal' spot. We were also allowed to stand for the whole game, in spite of numerous signs around the ground to the contrary, giving us a great view of Ewood Park. It's a beautiful ground, with a soul that is rare in football stadia in this day and age. Their fans however didn't live up to the atmosphere - remaining largely silent for the majority of the game. The Yeovil fans however were in fine voice, a particularly lengthly and loud rendition of "Green and White Barmy Army" ongoing for a good 10 minutes or so with no breaks. 

The game was, in truth, largely uneventful until the final 15 minutes with neither keeper being tested by any clear cut dangerous chances other than a few shots towards the end. Stech had a few routine saves to make, as did Robinson, but other than Rovers hitting the post (which Stech left, unnervingly, in the first few minutes), Rhodes heading straight at Stech and a few Yeovil shots wide of goal, neither side really threatened. Yeovil were steadfast in their defending with Duffy in particular working tirelessly. We had some lovely approach play, with Joe Edwards absolutely running his socks off to the point if near-exhaustion, but that final ball was sadly lacking and we had no real punch up front. Lawrence, as appears to be customary with him, took several touches too many at every opportunity and Hayter, though he worked hard, could do little with the balls lumped up field to him. Had we had a real finisher up front, for example Miller or, at a push, Moore, I think we'd have been out of sight with Blackburn looking lacklustre. 

The Blackburn fans were booing at full time after a frustrating game for them, with Yeovil closing them down well and stifling any chances of an attack. I think Yeovil were marginally the better side over the 90 minutes and I think we would have looked good for the three points had we been able to create anything of note, but a point away at an ex Premier League side pushing for the play offs is not to be sniffed at. 

Unfortunately though, a point really wasn't enough considering our position and the trip back home for me was rather flat, probably not helped by the very excitable toddler (I really dislike children!) on the train. It shows how far we have come that I was disappointed with a point away at Blackburn Rovers, but the realisation of our peril was starting to set in. Realistically now, we need to win all three of our remaining games but it's not entirely over yet and it's still all to play for. My next game is our last away game at Brighton, which has moved to the Friday night which is a bit of headache, but a night game always has a great atmosphere and a trip to a brand new stadium will be fun. I just hope we still have something to play for then after the Huddersfield game on Monday! 

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