Fleet Life with Ed Miller: Pain in the net is over - we scored a goal at last!
PUBLISHED: 14:03 03 December 2009 | UPDATED: 11:17 23 August 2010
DID anyone else experience it? The celestial white light? The choirs of angels? The expressions of shock and awe on the faces of onlookers? The feeling of something other-worldly, or paranormal, occurring? When Magno Vieira scored (go and look that word
DID anyone else experience it? The celestial white light? The choirs of angels? The expressions of shock and awe on the faces of onlookers? The feeling of something other-worldly, or paranormal, occurring?
When Magno Vieira scored (go and look that word up if it has slipped your mind of late), it was like the final scenes of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.
The goal wasn't immediately greeted with elation, everybody remained hushed for a second as if wondering why the ball hadn't bounced back off the post or billowed the side-netting and then dribbled harmlessly behind for a goal kick.
Then, the place went wild - it was like being at Aldershot in the FA Trophy again, when Michael Bostwick netted - albeit on a smaller scale.
It is probably the only time I have indulged in a celebratory conga on the steps of Stonebridge Road and, for some halfway liners, it will probably be the last time as well.
We prefer the stately pace of a stairlift thank you very much, not the heady rush of an impromptu conga.
And, as if one strike wasn't enough for us Fleet goal gluttons to gorge ourselves on until we were sick, along came another 50-odd minutes later, expertly conceived and brilliantly executed.
I'd almost forgotten what it was like to jump up and down at Stonebridge Road for any other reason than trying to throw myself off the top step. Saturday certainly proved there was life in the old dog yet.
It was like the hard work and nearly experiences of the past few games all coalesced at the right time to give Mansfield the thorough pasting their cynical tactics, and constant moaning, merited.
What was also good to see was the fight and spirit. The Fleet were feeling hard done by when Mansfield were awarded a penalty and the pantomime referee, who should surely have been on a key ring as opposed to a football pitch, did his best to spoil the party.
On two or three occasions in the second half, he could be seen signalling to the linesman to flag in a certain direction, even though the hard-pressed assistant appeared to be about to go the opposite, and correct, way.
But, with that sense of injustice buoyed by the brilliant forward forays of Peter Holmes, Ricky Shakes and Vieira, the Fleet had the heads of those Stags mounted on their dressing room walls by full-time.
Of course, there is still too much daylight between us and safety and it will be tough on Vieira to run the show up front on his own in the coming weeks.
There remains plenty to do and Stevenage and Oxford are hardly the ideal matches to build a foundation.
However, the fightback has begun and the Fleet know what they are capable of.
The players have removed several monkeys off their backs: scoring goals, winning at home and stemming the flood of defeats and, if that can breed the confidence to pick up at least a point over the next two games and then a few more victories against the likes of Grays and Altrincham, we can emerge from this year very much in the mixer.