The only astonishing part of Freddy Eastwood‘s “wonder goal” / “lucky goal” / “fluke” in the Carling Cup fourth round tie is that he scored it against Manchester United. He scored a beauty for us in February. [One of many, I should add. It's just that I've not blogged about most of them.] He has almost single-handedly changed the supporters’ view of penalties (we never used to convert them) and, to be honest, he scores from free kicks for fun. So let’s have a little less of the patronising guff from Man U fans.
The Southend United players this season have underperformed in style. Indeed, many of the goals that have been scored against us this year appear to have followed defensive narcolepsy.
I watched the game at a pub in Preston, accompanied by a number of Reds. Like many of them, I expected a score line in the region of 4-0. Indeed, I left the house commenting to Kate that I would be content if we held Man U down to three goals. When, around 8.30 pm, Jamaican international and one of my nominees for MOTM Jamal Campbell-Ryce was fouled thirty yards out I did not have high expectations of the ensuing free kick. Eastwood and partners stepped up to take the kick. Eastwood struck. And I held my head. The ball had gone behind.
It must have been off-side.
I mean, the sounds of wild jubilation must have been coming from overwrought Reds who were jeering the miss.
Oh my! We were a goal up against one of the world’s biggest teams. And they hadn’t fielded the reserves.
For the next hour I waited for Man U to score. They tried valiantly but, somehow, Southend’s sleepy defence stayed awake. Darryl Flahavan‘s performance was comparable to that of Seaman in his prime.
I now just hope that the players can use this as a stepping stone, improving morale sufficiently that they realise we are certainly good enough to remain in the Championship.
Oh, finally, it’s “Shrimpers” not “Shrimps”.