Posted by: RFC Blogger from Bridgend | May 27, 2011

Play-off final eve, eve, eve

I can’t believe how exciting this is – to be going to Wembley on Monday to watch the Royals in the play-off final against Swansea!

Its been a fantastic end to the season – and like Shane Long I think that going up automatically would be great, but if that is not to be – to go up after a win at Wembley is a pretty good second best option. I’m trying not to get carried away – as Swansea may have something to say about this of course – but now my ticket(s) have arrived, I’ve booked my parking place, sorted out directions, and once I go home at the end of this working day –  I can truly look forward to Monday’s game.

The play-off semi finals were eventful.

The first leg I travelled from Milton Keynes where I had been on a course for two days to Reading avoiding the motorways – via High Wycombe, Marlow and Henley. That was a travel down by-gone routes I used to travel frequently. I went to the game with my uncle – who every time I tell myself I wont do again as inevitably we nearly missed the kick off. I was in my car in a traffic jam at the bottom of the climb up to the stadium, – kick off less than minutes away and I have not ev en parked yet! Somehow over the next couple of minutes – I parked the car, my uncle bribed the parking attendant,  we made our way into the West Stand and I managed to watch the first kick of the ball – a whirlwind few minutes.

The game was a tense affair and  unsurprisingly it was a draw.

The second leg – well what can I say? I was dropping MOH and MEC off at a show in Cardiff that night, so got completely snarled up in traffic – again. I was avoiding my usual parking place – as last time in Cardiff I managed to pick up a parking ticket (which I only knew about two months after the event) so was not sure where to park. Minutes before kick off me and MMC were still travelling round in circles in the residential streets around the ground. Eventually parked the car – and ran in what I thought was the direction of the ground. My phone is going every few minutes – as for once it’s my uncle ringing me to find out where I am – he has MMC’s ticket! We asked directions and in hind sight were given dodgey directions. Some people say right when they mean left!

Made it to the ground – having picked up MMC’s ticket off a steward and missed the first 8 minutes of the game. We made our way to the back of the stadium, normally you don’t have to worry about where your ticket says you are sitting as normally there is room. Not tonight it was a sell out. But we stood at the back of the stadium with a great view of the game – we and every other fan in the away end stood for the whole game.

Well the atmosphere was fantastic – before we got to our seats, from the concourse – we heard a large shout by the home crowd penalty? – but nothing came of it. Half way through the game Shane scored a goal which was reminiscent of the third Swansea Goal looping over the goalie into an open net. From our vantage point we could not tell if it was going in but amazingly it did – and we erupted – we were jumping and cheering for a few minutes – I could not stop shouting and cheering – it was like the anxiety that had built up over the first game, the  intervening days etc all gushed out like some sort of deflating balloon. I don’t remember feeling like that before! Well the rest is history. A couple of minutes before half time I said to myself would n’t it be good to get a second goal – and all of a sudden we had a penalty …and holding our breath we watched Shane step up ignore the distractions behind the goal and score!!!!

Half time came and though we were jubilant – we were also remembering the Sheffield United game this season, the FA cup game against Aston Villa Last season when we were tow goals up and then lost both games.

After half time – we got the third goal and could relax.

After we cheered the team and Brian – we waited to be allowed to leave the ground. I was a bit concerned about the walk back to the car – through the streets of Cardiff with the disappointed home fans milling about. Also concerned that we would not be able to find the car! – I was right to be concerned about the latter but not the former – the home fans had left the game after the third goal which was a cracker from Jobie McAnuf. Re the latter – an HOUR later leaving the ground we were still wandering the streets looking for my car.

MOH rang and was saying we may have to leave the car and come back for it – what a pain! Then miraculously we found it down one deadend.

Anyway partly because of this experience – and partly because it will make a change – I have paid to park at the stadium on Monday.

Enough for now – can’t believe we are going to Wembley!!!!!!

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