23:45 London Charing Cross Station. It’s bloody late and it’s only going to get later. Somewhere ahead, two hours into the darkness at the end of the line, is Hastings, a warm, soft bed and what’ll remain of a night’s sleep. Here, there’s me and an old laptop with a fading battery and a tosser on a mobile phone talking very loudly about fancy dress costumes. Midweek games are brutal; commitment is required.
Our most recent game – which feels like months ago, not merely 18 days – saw us beat the league leaders. Utterly. Definitively. Superlatives flowed as effortlessly as, um, wine, in describing a performance that humbled a previously unbeaten side. This one, if anything, was better.
Defeat also dragged the Hornets closer to the relegation mire, with Malky Mackay’s men having lost their last four matches. The Hornets could have no complaints and only woke up after Dickinson had found the net.
Worth remembering, first of all, that this is what this season was supposed to be like from the start. Or from the end of August, at any rate. Having sold off our most sellable assets in August the real surprise is not that we stumble to a clumsy defeat against Peterborough but that this season has lifted expectation levels to an extent that made this look like a home banker beforehand, even given our recent form.