Real Mallorca celebrating their last-second winner.


Real Mallorca gave their loyal fans a severe dose of the heebie-jeebies on Saturday night when Lago Junior scored the winning goal almost a split-second from the end of three minutes added-on time (92 minutes and 58 seconds to be precise) beating Elche 1-0.

There's a saying in football “win ugly” and that's what we did on Saturday. When I got home after a few celebratory sherbets, it was a case of turning out the lights and lying down in a darkened room. Once again this home game was nail-biting towards the end, as Mallorca pushed forward looking for that all-important winner. Elche almost scored early on, hitting the post with goalkeeper Santamaria in no-man's land. That was it for the first 45 minutes, which was otherwise bereft of incident and excitement.

We hoped for better things in the second half but the snooze-fest continued as Mallorca couldn't find that killer pass in the final third. There was little quality in this game, the hype had taken over from reality as the islanders' options began to run out.

Summing up: A discombobulated Real Mallorca got a very vital three points on Saturday night and were literally seconds away from what would have been relegation to Segunda B. It was exhausting to watch, especially in the last 15 minutes, when we threw everything including the kitchen sink and the plug at a tired Elche defence.

Our coach Sergi Barjuan made an inspired and initially strange substitution with ten minutes left. He brought on the big Basque defender Jon Ansotegi and stuck him up front. It was obvious we needed height in attack alongside Lekic and Jon's contribution was immense. Culio at last put over a decent corner which found Ansotegi unmarked on the edge of the penalty area. His powerful header hit the post and Lago Junior was the quickest to react as he poked in the winning goal. The celebrations from both the players and the crowd were palpable as the relief could be heard for miles around. Although having seen TV replays Lago looked minimally offside.

For the first time in ages, we'd won back-to-back games as the Great Escape is back on at your local football ground. We had the biggest gate of the season, nearly 13,000, many fans arriving late because of parking problems. There was also a large contingent who left early, missing the goal. After the game. supporters were waiting outside the ground as players and management drove out of the car park. This time, though, there were no ugly scenes, only shouts and cheers of encouragement. In all the years I've been watching football, I've never been to a match when a goal was scored in literally the last second of the game and there was no time for the referee to restart the game.

Next up it's Valladolid away on Saturday. After that we have two home games. The objective for salvation is 52 points which is 13 more than we have at the moment. After the weekend's results, the teams round about us did us a huge favour, although Mallorca stay second bottom on 39 points, one behind Alcorcon and two behind Nastic, Elche, Cordoba and Almeria. With just five games left, three of them in Palma, we must keep our feet firmly on the ground, as it's far from over. It's going to be a very close finish. With a big dollop of luck along the way, we can produce the miracle required.

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