Every series of Masterchef – mmm, topical – has an awful lot of contestants. That being the case, a helping hand is provided in the shape of a short, simple label for us to remember each one by, a three-words-or-less summary of their entire existence prior to having their life changed by cooking scallops with a minted pea puree for Greg and Jeff. (I know it’s not Jeff, but I can’t be bothered to look it up.)
Well that was very odd. Like a match that had been cut into pieces and put together in a random order to inappropriate bits of soundtrack. Danny Drinkwater being effortlessly put through on goal in the opening seconds surprised everyone, not least him… like a cliffhanger in the opening minutes of a TV episode. He did a reasonable job with it, steering the ball wide of Grant, a significant obstacle all afternoon, if narrowly past the post. Then the frankly ridiculous own goal, which looped back into the net over Loach’s head painfully slowly as if time was bending to allow it to drop in whilst presenting the illusion, observed by my neighbour, that any of us had time to trot down to the front of the Rookery, step over the barrier, and amble around to block it on the line. Dale Bennett’s nerve seemed to rather decimate at this turn of events, perhaps contributing to a an extremely nervous first half which saw our defence creak and rattle and yet somehow not concede any more goals despite Burnley flinging bodies at any number of crosses… we got away with 1-1 at half time. The second half… from my vantage point we tightened up an awful lot. And yet lost two goals. One of these, just as the home crowd was up and riled and behind the team in voice for the first time following Danny Fox’s crude hack on Buckley. Fox’s last game for Coventry saw him dismissed at the Ricoh against us for a similarly violent challenge, from memory. Justice would have him red carded and Burnley caving in under our indignation. Instead, Burnley took the lead and cantered off. If there’s any consolation, it’s that Danny Fox presumably lives near Burnley.
Crystal Palace moved out of the Championship drop-zone after a battling draw at Watford. Watford took the lead through Andreas Weimann, on loan from Aston Villa, when he volleyed in Andros Townsend’s ball from the left. Palace equalised when James Vaughan collected the ball from Neil Danns before jinking his way past Adrian Mariappa and firing past Scott Loach.
Briefly, as Andros Townsend wriggled through on the left and Andreas Weimann swivelled to score, this promised to be rather fun. But Palace are nothing if not a damp squib: that was as much space and time as they were prepared to afford us, and our attacking efforts were increasingly frustrated by the two holding midfielders wedged in front of the defence like a chair under a door handle. That’s the way to play us, no question. It’s dull as a muddy puddle, but it works.