Under The Lens Part 8: Things Are Getting Tense

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Ever so slightly moving into the latter stages of the season we could start to put the pressure on if we were to win against ESTAC Troyes away from home. They’re currently stuck in 15th so I’m expecting a win and with Bilal Bari continuing to impress in his debut season in the first team I wouldn’t mind if he got himself on the scoresheet. He’ll be lining up next to Cristian in a 4-4-2 with Tereja coming in to give Bostock a rest.

Another game, another win. Thanks to Cristian returning to his goal scoring form with a brace we managed to bag a vital three points for our sixth win in a row in the league. We were in top spot for the majority of the game however Valenciennes turned around their result to win and stay top. After 24 games we’re still two points behind them on 50 points.

Looking to make it seven wins in a row we had another away day, this time at Stade de Reims. We go into this game with the same starting 11 but Kermit Erasmus makes a return to the bench after featuring for South Africa in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Let me tell you now I’m much happier now than I was at half time. After switching to 3-4-1-2 at half time we managed to create many more chances in and around the Stade box and two truly sublime finishes from Bostock and Cristian rescued us a point to keep us two behind Valenciennes who also dropped points.

After a 10 day break we returned to Ligue 2 football with a game against Sochaux at home. With Valenciennes winning their game we have to win to keep the pressure on in the hunt for promotion.

So Erasmus announced his return to the squad then. Bari seems to be getting more confident as he bagged his 8th goal of the season from outside the box. After having to deal with the target man Cristian for 65 minutes Erasmus came on as a trequartista and took advantage of the space to get a brace on his return to the side.

For the last game of February we had the perfect chance to cement our promotion chances. Right now we sit in 2nd place, six points ahead of 3rd placed Havre and that’s who we’ll be playing next. So, now being eight games unbeaten hopefully we can make it nine and push ourselves nine points ahead of Havre. The game would also see Erasmus back in the starting line-up after Cristian suffered a gashed head against Sochaux which leaves him on the bench today.

Of course after all that build up to the game we go and throw it away. With Kenny Lala out suspended this saw one of my least favourite players in the squad, Daniel Opare, come in. So far this season he’s been red carded three times and he got off to a familiar start as he gave away the penalty for the first goal. Without Cristian on we suffered as he usually puts away penalties without a problem and before long we were down another two goals.

We’re now three points off top and three away from Havre in 3rd but our first game next month is a massive one. March will begin with what looks to be a season defining game against Valenciennes, with the points difference I aforementioned this is a must win game if we want that unbeaten run of eight games to count.