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96/97 review:
The win over bottom-placed Rotherham was almost entirely forgettable. One moment stood out from the energetic, workmanlike tedium - Stuart Slater scored a blinding goal with a finish of extraordinary poise and vision that deserved to win a far better game.

Brighton to Manchester for a midweek game is a bit of a non-starter so I was forced to listen to Jimmy Armfield attempting to re-arrange the words 'Gifton', 'Noel' and 'Williams' into as many different names as possible on Radio 5. Steve Palmer did a fine man-marking job on Kinkladze until he foolishly got himself sent off, effectively ending our chances of winning the tie.

I didn't go to Brentford either, preferring to spend the day protesting against Bill Archer and David Bellotti at Fans United down in good old Sussex-by-the-Sea. Keith Scott, on loan from Norwich, scored his first Watford goal to cancel out an early Brentford lead - depending on your point of view, it was either 'a goal of pure class' (Ian Lay) or a mis-hit cross (me). According to everyone who was there (I interviewed each and every one of them personally), Kevin Miller's performance won us a point we probably didn't deserve.

The Auto Windscreen Shield. What is it good for? Absolutely nuthin'. As most of the Vic Road end fell asleep during a largely grim tie with Bristol City, I was reduced to a screaming nutter by the possibility of extra time and the consequent night at Gatwick Airport. Fortunately, Darren Bazeley won it with a late penalty, a goal that meant more to me than most this season. Oh, and we came from behind to win for the first time in over two years - pity we couldn't do it in a game that meant something, eh?

An even more difficult situation for the Peterborough tie a week later - half-heartedly cheering us on as we vainly searched for an equaliser, yet knowing deep down that I wanted anything but extra time. Despite my utter hatred of the competition (scrap it, scrap it now and scrap it forever), there was no excuse for a performance that was vastly over-confident. We were punished by a Peterborough side that really wanted to win.

Wycombe was simply dreadful. In this case, the end really didn't justify the means. Surprisingly, it all changed for the visit of Shrewsbury - partly thanks to a magnificent opening goal from Kevin Phillips to settle the nerves. That was followed by a far more controlled and patient display than we'd been used to seeing. Incidentally, the "BSaD Paper Aeroplane of the Season" award goes to the one that hit Darren Ward on the arse in this particular game.