Sunday, 16 August 2009

The 78th Minute

A heart-filled and spirited performance cascades across St. James' Park, Shola looks a man reborn and we are promised an end to takeover speculation by the time we walk out against Sheffield Wednesday...on Wednesday.

Two out of three ain't bad. Whilst prospective owner Barry Moat's choice of seat gave the Sky Sports commentary team plenty to speculate over, I just can't bear to get my hopes up just to see them dashed once again.

There are plenty of pictures of Moat and Ashley, side-by-side from past fixtures, the only difference is that we know who we are looking at now.

But as much as I nail my shoes to the ground, I can't help but loosen my shoelaces and allow myself to drift of the ground just slightly, to think, "It can't exactly be a bad thing, can it?"

At least on pitch the Toon Army continued to show the fighting spirit that was showcased at The Hawthorns on the opening day.

Shola nabbed three goals and seemed to become a new man the instant his first header bounced, rather gracelessly, into the net.

The second of his trio was an accomplished powerful header(Below), fired into the opposite corner of the net whilst on the run, as if he'd been doing it for years...which we all know he hasn't.

Special praise reserved for Kevin Nolan who has really stepped up his game since relegation. Setting up Duff's equaliser against The Baggies with an inch perfect pass and then chasing a ball everybody else had given up on against Reading to bring about that crucial second goal.

"Who's that big lad wearing 23? It sure ain't Ameobi!" my Dad jovially ventured.

"His name's Shola, Dad," I replied, "Hopefully you'll be hearing it a lot this season."

But a noteworthy occurance took place during this encouraging victory. For the first time in a long time whilst watching the Toon, in the 78th minute of the game, I sat back in my seat. Sunk into the sofa and relaxed as the game was won.

In fact the last time we produced this scoreline, away at Portsmouth last December, is the last time I can remember a game being 'safe', before the referee blew his whistle.

Perhaps a sign of change? I wouldn't get your hopes up.

Watch extended highlights of the game here.

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