I have always wondered what a Shrew actually looks like. Well today I found out, with knobs on – well with one knob on actually, and not exactly a huge one at that. Must be something they put in the water in those parts.
In fact, the streaker we were ‘treated’ to put our defence under more pressure than his team had for the majority of the game. Just where did he get that hat!
The Shrew, for your information, is a small mouse like creature and today Shrewsbury Town played like them! We, on the other hand, played like Lions. Lions led by a meercat. This is not as daft as it sounds when you think about it. Next time just check out Claudio, standing up around the tunnel, his neck outstretched looking left and right with quick darts of the head. No wonder it took him so long to learn the English language!
A few years back a fixture like this would have bothered me. Let’s see, Oxford, Bristol City, Wigan, Barnsley, the list is never ending. Now the team have a confidence, which has rubbed off on me. I knew it would be comfortable, although just how relaxing it would be could never have been predicted.
In the first half we murdered them, no other word for it. The fact that we managed only one goal was down to poor finishing and good goalkeeping. The goal finally came five minutes from the break and it was Zola, the most deserving on the pitch, who knocked it in. A great ball from Manu was crossed in by Soxy (earlier guilty of a dreadful miss) leaving Franco with a simple sidefoot into the back of the net. It really should have been five or six nil by half-time.
Carlton came on for Baba at the interval and after a good six or seven minutes of Shrewsbury pressure it was he who scored the goal, which signalled game over.
Who was the creator? Zola of course! He put in a great cross after some fancy footwork and Carlton rose above everyone to head the ball into the back of the net.
We had to wait another 20 minutes for the next goal but it was worth every penny of the entrance money on its own as Zola chipped the ‘keeper from outside the box. For a few seconds the entire ground went silent.
Whether it was because people didn’t realise it had gone in or whether it was because everyone realised they were watching a magician at work is difficult to say. The ‘keeper was unlucky as he did get a hand to it, but it was nowhere near enough.
The rout was ended 10 minutes from time when Jody scored a stunning goal with his left foot – had it not been for Zola, everyone would have been talking about that goal on their way out of the ground.
Lampard (for 50 odd minutes) and Zola were good enough to have won the game on their own. In fact, Zola really did.
They should stop counting the votes and give the Player of the Year award to him now. Savour every moment of his genius, never will the likes of him be seen in a blue (or probably any other colour) shirt again.
So there we have it. A good, solid, professional performance. We’re through to the next round (let’s avoid Man Utd and the Gooners) and almost 48 hours rest before we have to do it all again. Bloody TV!
TEAM; Cudicini; Melchiot, Gallas, Terry, Babayaro (Cole 46); Zenden, Lampard (Morris 56), Petit, Le Saux; Gudjohnsen (Gronkjaer 62), Zola. Substitutes not used: de Goey, Huth.