Penalty shoot-out was a nerve-wracking experience – Rick Jackson

It was nail-biting stuff at Portsmouth v Sunderland game
It was nail-biting stuff at Portsmouth v Sunderland game
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The competition very few cared about delivered another proud day for Portsmouth Football Club as we continue to recover from near oblivion.  Just more than 2,000 watched our 4-0 victory over Gillingham in the first round match.

Then, a new record attendance for the competition of more than 85,000 watched us beat Sunderland in the final at Wembley.

The Football League seriously needs to listen to fans upset by the inclusion of ‘academy’ teams from Premier League and Championship sides.

This, many feel, lowers the credibility of the competition.

Some clubs like Liverpool and Manchester United have failed to take up the Football League’s invite because of fears about availability of their home stadiums, undervaluing the competition still further.

The final was mouthwatering.

Two teams with excellent support, both fallen on hard times after mismanagement and looking to return to the big time.

It was a superb day out, which started on the 8.30am Gosport Ferry and ended with a taxi ride home late in the evening.

The atmosphere was electric at Wembley and it was reminiscent of our FA Cup finals with the levels of noise and colour.

Even in the first half at  1-0 down and not playing very well at all, we outsung the Sunderland supporters and continued to push our team on until the very end.

I’ve never watched a penalty shoot-out in the flesh before. What an absolutely nerve-racking experience.

I almost missed Oli Hawkins’ winning penalty as I looked up in awe at a low-flying British Airways Airbus A380 banking over the stadium as it headed away from Heathrow.

It was a superb game. I even had Saints fans contact me at the radio station to say it was the best final they had seen in ages.

Both teams attacked and  we were lucky to still be in it after 45 minutes, but in the second half every time we went forward we looked like we could score.

Ironically, we could face Sunderland in the play-off final at Wembley in May.

Let’s hope for the same result.

Just call me Cat Man – I can nap just about anywhere  

There are reports in the news this week that a cat-nap of up to 45 minutes is good for your brain.

It recharges your batteries, improves your memory and helps you absorb information better. I support the scientists’ findings and recommend it to everyone as I’ve become an expert at napping. Having to be up at 4:30am each day and often having interrupted sleep thanks to our little cherubs, I can fall asleep anywhere. The most bizarre place was in the dentist’s chair.

I was having a couple of fillings and, after 30 minutes, I drifted off. The dentist had to wake me as my head started to droop and he was in danger of drilling the wrong tooth.

Will the boss agree to swap blancmange for a VW rocket? 

We’ve had our Ford S-Max for five years now. It’s a great car, seats seven, is comfortable and vast in its capacity, everything a young family needs.

 But it’s slow and drives like a blancmange. I need a family car that is  a bit of a rocket at the same time.

Sadly, I’ve fallen in love with the VW Golf R. It’s a standard Golf and even more practical in estate form. But under the bonnet is a 310 horsepower engine.

It carries your kids and all their stuff but can still put a smile on your face and make them car sick by  planting your right foot into the shag pile.

I want one but the wife says no. 

 Charm offensive under way.