Remember the Alamo

February, 27, 2007
Defending is one of those thankless jobs sometimes. Forwards can miss 10 easy chances in a row, but score the winner in the dying minutes and get all the credit. For a defender, to see a zero in the opposition's box score at the end of the game is just as gratifying as being the goal scorer. At some points this season, we've had to set up shop in our own half of the field, defend till the death and try to hold on. But lately, we've stuck to our guns and started to pick up some crucial wins that just might keep us in the fight for survival in the Premiership.

The past few weeks, like most of this season, has had its ups and downs. We have had some forgettable performances but also fought our way to a quarterfinal spot in the FA Cup, one of the biggest and most prestigious cup competitions in the world.

I think we have West Ham's number this year. In a matter of two weeks, we knocked the Hammers out of the FA Cup, and seriously dented their chance for survival in the Premiership. Both were tough affairs, as you would expect from a team like West Ham. One of our goals, in the second game, was from a penalty. It was our first and only penalty kick of the season, which tells you a lot about how the refs treat teams like ours.

Up until a few weeks ago, we were the only team in all of the English leagues not to have received a penalty. Maybe that's just our honesty not to dive in the box (I'll get to that later), or maybe it's because refs don't give teams like us the benefit of the doubt. Either way, it was nice to finally get one and see it converted.

We have had two games recently that we would like to forget. One a few weeks back when we lost to Bolton after a scrappy corner kick.

The second game was the other day against Everton. Going into the game, we knew it was going to be a tough game, but hoped that we could catch them on a bad day. Things started well, but then in a space of two minutes, things changed for the worst with Everton scoring twice.

The second goal came after one of Everton's players got behind our defence. As he cut across our box, one of our other defenders and I lunged in for the ball. He lost control of it sending himself up in the air and the ball towards the sideline. The ref didn't like what he saw and called it a penalty. I think instant replay could have really helped me out this season.

It was yet another controversy with people saying that diving is now part of the game. As defenders, we are already at a disadvantage, but with more and more forwards now looking for Oscars, and most of the time receiving their prize, I think the only solution is to start up instant replay. It's something I think they should take a look at as soon as possible, because it's starting to tarnish the game. And making defenders look bad in the interim.

The next few weeks will make or break our season. With Charlton coming to our place this weekend, it's another key relegation game. We also have the quarterfinal of the FA Cup, where we'll face Plymouth, a Championship side -- so we have a good chance at making it to the semifinals. Although we are enjoying our cup run, Premiership survival is the No. 1 priority. I just hope we can get maintain our fighting spirit.