Well of course there was reason to fear them. But if – as I believe – those are the games we must expect to lose, while being prepared to be thankful when we grab a point or three out of them, being beaten today was not a disaster.
What is absolutely clear is that we CANNOT trot out dismal performances like that one last week at Wigan and hope to survive, let alone aspire to a mid-table or better finish.
Today, it seems clear, we played with bags of purpose and pride, and came close to scoring once or twice. Listening to BBC Radio Newcastle, I offered this as my blind tasting: “Sounds a brave, hardworking performance, never enough.”
Then came Pete Sixsmith’s Sixer’s Sevens verdict: “Plenty of effort but short of quality.”
And what should make us very wary indeed is that Pete, as astute a reader of any game of football as I have ever met, was making exactly that sort of comment, match after match, during the (second, if we are to be unfair) Mick McCarthy relegation season before our hopes were rekindled by Niall, Drumaville and Keano.