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Neil by Mouth: Now for the FA Cup
AFTER beating Oxford twice in four days, we’re off to Preston North End in the first round of the FA Cup this weekend.
It’s a good opportunity for us to test ourselves against a team from a higher level and it’s a game we’re all looking forward to as well.
Preston are a very traditional club and there’s normally always a good pitch there too which will help.
It’s what we would call a free game for ourselves too because we will not be expected to win. Despite that, we’re feeling confident ourselves and the results against Oxford have certainly helped with that.
The first of those victories came at Roots Hall in the league last weekend and, for the first 45 minutes, I think Oxford were the best team we have played this season.
They took us by surprise with the formation they lined up in and their players were also saying after the game that it was best they had played this year.
The records show that Oxford are always strong in the first half but the goal from Mark Phillips on the stroke of half-time settled us down and knocked them out of their stride a little bit.
They did manage to equalise in the second half but we showed great team spirit and didn’t buckle to make sure we went on to win the game.
Ryan Hall managed to pop up with the winning goal and then did the same on Tuesday night in the JPT. He’s a real match-winner and we’re lucky to have quite a few of them in our team at the moment.
His free kick settled what was a strange game in our favour and I think the red cards ruined the match, to be honest.
The referee was right to send their keeper off early on but, as often happens in the lower leagues, he then tried to even it up by giving some bizarre decisions in their favour.
Ultimately though we got through to the next round and that’s all that matters. Now we’re all hoping to be at home in the area semi-finals when the draw is made at the weekend.
Oxford were, of course, forced to put their midfielder, Asa Hall, in goal as they had no substitute keeper on the bench.
We haven’t had a keeper on the bench for the last couple of games either and the outfield players therefore had a turn in goal in training this week.
Some of us took it more seriously than others and some were more sensible too. I thought I did OK, while Bilel Mohsni reminded me of Bruce Grobelaar during the 1980s!
Off the pitch, Peter Gilbert has been having a shocking run in the card school. He has been known to throw his toys out of the pram a bit and he’s not really known for splashing his cash.
But, now we’re giving Daniel Bentley a head start, poor old Gilly is keeping the coffee shops in business along the M1.
Harry Crawford has also been getting plenty of stick this week.
We have a number of strange conversations in the treatment room and one of them was focused around what we all thought was the most dangerous animal.
A few different options were mentioned before Harry told us all how he thought a tortoise was the most dangerous and aggressive animal around.
He has been getting hammered about this but if anyone has any proof to back Harry up then please send it the way of Chris Phillips at the Echo.
FULL COLUMN IN THURSDAY'S ECHO
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