There’s a magic moment in this game where the little lad from South America changes the mood of a nigh in a city.  The rest of it? Dreadful. Predictably dreadful from two teams who don’t want the ball. Does that matter? It doesn’t feel like it matters right now. I’ve seen us play well and get very little over he years (also seen us be shite and get beat lots) so for now, I’m basking in the warm Christmas glow of three points and four wins in seven games.  How long will this last? I’ll worry about that on Boxing Day.

The first half was a non-event and they were probably better in the second half.  Then we won.  The team looked different with injuries again taking their toll.  Proof of gods existence was evident as the best player at the club Florian Lejeune was restored to the starting line up and Paul D moved to LWB.  Dummett never lets us down, always gives 100% but if I could never watch him play that far forwards again that would be champion, thanks.  Manquillo had the unenviable task of keeping Wilfred Zaha quiet and to be fair ‘Manki’ as Andy Carroll calls him he’ll have a hell of a time removing the dangerous Palace player from his back pocket when it comes to do the wash, such was his dominance in that battle.  Remember when we signed him and the mackems (what ever happened to them?) told us he was shite? He’s been sensational since coming into the side after Villa.

Joelinton and Carroll were mostly terrible up front as a two, the former having almost no impact whatsoever and the latter having his worst game (ever?) in black and white right until he gets an assist for the winning goal of a Premier League game winning a header for a cross that wasn’t even aimed at him.  Get out of the way, Dwight, is what he probably thought as he knocked the ball to Miggy who did what he’s so often failed to do and smashed home instinctively first time.A brilliant goal and a brilliant moment. The place went wild and the atmosphere sensational.  Still 7,000 empty seats there today, for the last time probably this season as free tickets take effect from the next home game.  The crowd stuck the lads for a mostly turgid display and were rewarded with a world class goal and three points.

Sean Longstaff once again made a difference when he came on for Hayden, who gives everything but isn’t playing well at the minute.  The defence were excellent and once breached the goalkeeper once again made saves look easier than they actually are.

There are still loads of concerns with this side but in the New Year we should be able to field a team with Mat Ritchie, Jamaal Lascelles, ASM and one or two more.  Yes, we’re awful to watch. Yes, we’re lucky.  Better than being in the relegation zone or in that oh-so-familiar ‘scrap’ we seem to be in season after season at this time of year.

I honestly can’t remember us having another chance of note in this game (or against Southampton and Sheffield United) beside the goal. We shoot, we score at the moment.  Long may it continue.

When we’re bad, we’re really bad like at Villa, Burnley, Leicester, Norwich etc.  When we’re a bit less bad we somehow find a way to win games and pick up points.  If we ever played well and created a host of chances, we’d be unstoppable.  For now 9th and and happiness for a few days before it can all go wrong/get much better/stay the same. Take your pick.

For now lets enjoy this and have a very Merry Christmas from all at True Faith.

Alex Hurst

@tfalex1892