Danny Coles: An almighty relief to pick up the points against Accrington
IT was an almighty relief to get back to winning ways at St James's Park against Accrington on Friday night.
Admittedly, it wasn't a vintage performance and we had to wait until the 79th minute to break the deadlock.
However, there was only one side which looked like winning the game and, all said and done, I thought we were good value for the three points having had much the better of possession and territory in the match.
I think one or two people were surprised Jimmy Keohane didn't start but Tis's decision was fully vindicated when he came off the bench to grab a brace and steer us to victory.
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I've always thought Jimmy's got goals in him – he's scored for fun in the reserves over the last couple of years – and fingers crossed two in three minutes will give him the confidence to go on and get plenty more.
In the 180-odd seconds between Jimmy's goals, yours truly somehow contrived to hammer an effort against his own crossbar.
The own goal York's Alex Rodman scored for us at Bootham Crescent last month was a bit of a pearler, but this one would have trumped it hands down had it been a couple of inches lower. Thank God it wasn't!
My miscue aside, Rhys Evans was never really troubled after he replaced an injured Artur Krysiak between the posts in the second half and will, I'm sure, prove a more than able deputy should the opportunity present itself.
All in all, I think it's fair to say the Friday-night project proved a great success with a crowd of almost 4,000 making themselves heard and confounding all those who predicted an attendance of Plainmoor proportions.
What's more, it will, we hope, have helped to attract some new converts to the Grecian cause.
Imagine my surprise when I learnt my cheeky little back-heel against Wycombe had lost out to one of Alan Gow's two goals against Accrington Stanley in August in a vote to decide the club's entry for the Mitre Goal of the Year competition.
Joking aside, the Gowser's Rabona-flick effort was a very worthy winner – check it out on YouTube if you haven't already seen it – and if any of the other 71 Football League clubs has come up with a better contender for the title then I'd like to see it.
Apparently, the winning goal will be announced at next month's Football League Awards and I'd love to see Alan take the prize.
I took part in a photoshoot to launch this year's spring ball earlier this week.
It promises to be quite an occasion – all the more so if we can maintain our current form until the end of the season and give everyone something to celebrate – and the players are looking forward to the opportunity to let their hair down and party with the supporters.
The event will take place in a marquee at St James's Park 24 hours after the final game of the season on Sunday, April 28, and I understand more details are available by contacting Donna Greening on 07905 722928 or, alternatively, via email at email@example.com.
We've got a couple of huge games against promotion rivals coming up in the next few days – on Saturday we travel to fourth-placed Burton and it doesn't get any easier on Tuesday when we're away at second-placed Port Vale.
Of course, neither game will be easy but, as I've said countless times before, on our day we're more than capable of beating any side in League Two and I see no reason why we shouldn't get a result in both games.
Admittedly, Burton have won their last six at home but, then again, our away form isn't too shabby and, what's more, we beat the Brewers 3-0 at the Park earlier in the season.
We didn't fare so well against Richard Duffy's Port Vale side when they visited Devon back in October, going down by two goals to nil, but we'll be at pains to put that right on Tuesday – if only to ensure our erstwhile teammate doesn't, once again, bag the bragging rights!
To be fair, Duffs is a good lad who knows all too well that things can turn around very quickly and was as good as gold after the game at the Park.
As ever, Tis will ensure our preparation for both fixtures is immaculate – for instance, we'll travel up to Burton 24 hours ahead of the game and stop of at Derby on route to train – and I've no doubt it's this kind of attention to detail which has helped us to a club record 10 away victories already this season.
In between our two away trips, I'm looking forward to a well-earned day off on Sunday and the chance to watch the Capital One Cup final, when I'm hoping Bradford City will do League Two proud.
As I've mentioned before, I played with their goalkeeper Matt Duke and midfielder Nathan Doyle when I was at Hull and, while their opponents in the final Swansea are a great team to watch, I'd love to see a couple of old pals get their hands on some silverware.