Yellows 2 Gateshead 1

When we eventually find out that the Premier League is, in fact, completely staged for the purposes of TV we will feel a little like we felt for most of today. We won’t be so much surprised but relieved and betrayed. Betrayed by the time and effort we’ve invested in it, but relieved that the hyperbolic and bullshit is, in fact, the product of scriptwriters not normal human behaviour operating in the real world.

For much of today’s win over Gateshead we seemed to be going through our paces; dominating, taking the lead, inevitably conceding in ‘controversial’ circumstances. Once that happened I think most people were envisaging that we’d trudge off to find that Stevenage and Luton had both had thumping wins ruling us out of the title race completely. Inevitable, as nothing good ever happens to us. Even James Constable admitted that he’d spent the last 10 minutes wondering what would be said in the changing room after the final whistle.

It was like we’d all conceded that the curse was in place and that, in some way, it was a relief to finally succumb to it. We thought we’d learnt the lessons of three years ago; strengthen when you can, don’t underestimate the opposition, don’t rely on ‘league quality’. We taken all the right actions and yet still we’re going to get pushed out of it. There was an acceptance that the conspiracy was complete and that it didn’t really matter what we did, we’d forever fall short.

Few seem convinced that Matt Green’s last minute winner was the turning point, but it’s nice that the Stevenage game still means something. And, if we can pull it out of the bag, then yes, suddenly the machine might splutter into life propelling us forward.

And this is how we go into Tuesday; unlike previous must-wins, there’s little anxiety of defeat, more a gentle hope of success. This could work in our favour. Or is that being too hopeful?

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Oxblogger is a blog about Oxford United.

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