This was a horrible game, a foul easterly battered the Upper Tier of the West Stand leaving this observer to rue his choice of clothing as the capricious nature of Spring led to warm sunshine and balmy temperatures… if you weren’t in the wind.
The Ipswich game seemed like a wake, the hand of the executioner grasped the handle to the trapdoor, and the subject seemed to dopey to even struggle.
But, as someone once said, football is indeed a funny old game, and back to back victories over high flying Preston and more importantly against lowly Luton catapulted City to within touching distance of safety.
Morale was further boosted by a performance that impressed even Roy Keane, as the Tigers went down somewhat unluckily to Premiership bound Sunderland. A comical error by Myhill deep into injury time gave the 2-0 score line a flattering look for the Black Cats.
Southend at home. Gulp. We are expected to win. Cue collective fear and individuals freezing under the pressure, leading to timidity in the tackle and the ball becoming enemy Number One. A hand grenade with the pin out. Avoid at all costs.
The game began in this fashion. Two awful teams, a bobbly pitch, swirling wind and fearful mindsets.
Southend failed miserably to adapt to the conditions, the Tigers were marginally smarter and this proved to be the difference.
Every Shrimper attack involved the Long Ball which either took off in the breeze, held up likewise, or was horribly miss controlled due to the hard, crusty pitch.
City sussed this. Short passes and canny dribbling by the Old Pros Club of Parlour, Forster and Windass gave us the attacking edge which was rewarded on the stroke of half time. Forster was upended and Windass dispatched the rebound from the resulting scuffed spot kick.
The second half saw Southend crumble and The Home Town Hero Made Good with a hat trick added to by a Ricketts strike from just inside the area set up by the admirable and industrious Forster.
Thus one more win and safety is ours. Then starts the hard inquest as to how a Club which is solvent, stable in the Board Room and has a relatively solid fan base, ever got into this fine mess in the first place…..