Pre-Match Nerves

Sometimes a situation becomes so awful, so tense, so completely anxiety ridden that you actually yearn for it to be over, regardless of the outcome. Ok, so things haven’t quite got that bad yet, but come 7pm on Wednesday we could find ourselves under the sort of pressure that makes Staines and Hampton combined feel like a day at the seaside. Part of the stress comes from simply trying to get tickets, sort out travel arrangements and getting time off work – obviously I fell down on the last one – and the blood pressure isn’t really helped by the media releasing shockers such as this… ok, I know its their job, but couldn’t we have a blanket ban on any bad news?!!

As for the game itself, well wouldn’t you just love a repeat of the two results we picked up against Fleetwood in our league fixtures? Having to wait until so late to beat them might not do me much good health-wise (as you’ve already probably gathered, I can imagine my twitching corpse being wheeled out of Eastlands should we make the final…). I’ve noticed the similarities between this tie and our game against Hornchurch in the Ryman Premier – not that I’m trying to make a prediction, believe me things could have gone very differently on that night for us. Yes Fleetwood are a very decent side, an added danger being they are bang on form right now. However sitting just behind them in the form guide are a certain AFC Wimbledon, and the fact we finished 12 points ahead of them means if our Dons play to their potential over two games, and luck or injustice doesn’t interfere, then Fleetwood just cannot beat us.

The problem is, the playoffs seldom follow either form book or logic. That works as much in our favour as it does against us… for example it as allowed Fleetwood to develop a much higher opinion of themselves as they otherwise might have done. Take for example Gareth Seddon’s comments here. Particularly ‘Ask any of the other teams, though, and the game that they would have least wanted would have been against us’… Just keep telling yourself that Gareth, as far as I remember we were desperate to avoid bogie sides York and Kidderminster, let alone Luton or Wrexham…

More fool us perhaps, but I can’t help but think the psychological advantage of facing a side we haven’t lost to this season might be the boost we require. Alternatively, I might be reading too much into that… I mean the state of one players mind could prove crucial, but probably not as much if a couple of Dons blunders have already put the tie beyond us…

Beyond bravado, to be honest I can barely get it together to write at the moment… I’m just too nervous. I can’t remember being as up tight about a game as this for years. Right now I don’t even know where I’ll be watching the game… I flaked a little earlier and arranged to go to a party with a whole bunch of people who will have no interest in goings on at Fleetwood – for some reason I thought if I couldn’t be there then finding out the score would be less stressful (regular readers will recognise my tactic of heading off to the cinema when I can’t make away games), but to be honest, I don’t think its going to happen. I’ll either end up watching a dodgy feed on a laptop in a back room, or will head off down to Kingsmeadow or the Willoughby.

If you are heading up to Fleetwood, do me a favour… to quote myself before the Luton game, do a good job of supporting my football team for me…

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