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02/03: Review:
"A different game"
By Martin Patching
So it's midnight on a Thursday. Not any old Thursday.
Around or about the time I would usually e-mail my Hemel Hempstead Gazette column to the good guys at BSaD.
Today is different though, tomorrow will not be the same.
For today, the U.S.A. took a snap shot into the light.

My concern over world matters were somewhat averted when the phone rang.
"Ollie here, have you got five minutes, Patch?"
"I hope so!" should have been my answer, having watched the battalions make their final preparations.
"Southampton, Patch, what do you remember?" Ollie enquired.
My recollections will be published in the Watford Observer, alongside thoughts from other players.

Hornets 7 Saints 1 was twenty plus years ago. However, on certain days, it seems like yesterday.
On sunny spring mornings, as experienced recently, I wish the event would occur in the evening.
As I am sure we all do, for our most memorable hours.
Young boys we were, almost, or approaching our prime in other cases.

The rebuilding work came the day after the heavy first leg defeat.
Tired, numb and bewildered, we were taken to meet our people, the fans.
Keep-y up the ball, in Watford High Street, as part of the town's carnival week!
This was a prior appointment and one we were asked to keep.
Or maybe I should say, told we must attend.

A few, myself included, expected abuse in the streets, many of you have been to Wolves and the like.
"Good luck on Saturday" was possibly the worst comment I heard.
Saturday came and Bristol City were defeated with a classic three yard strike from Patching (I have the photo to prove it, should you disbelieve)
Confidence restored, we aimed to beat the Saints on home soil.

Keegan being rested was light relief to Sims and Bolton.
In the great scheme, however, a mere statistic.
That we would win the game, we were certain...but the tie?
That question, or thought, never really entered our heads prior to kick-off.

In my scrap book, I have a photograph of the team prior to kick-off that night.
The camera, they say, never lies.
The image captures a group of men destined for victory, focused and committed.
But when all is said and done, it is only a game.

The images we are about to see...well, they are part of a different game.