FIVE minutes plus added time to go and I see my number come up for substitution. I make my way to the touchline with mixed feelings.
I know there are things that could have gone better but I’ve given my all and the most important thing is that we’re a goal to the good against Everton — thanks to our wing wizard Anthony Knockaert and a whole lot of hard work.
Like everyone else in the Amex Stadium, I’m on the edge of my seat, hoping we can see the match out and get all three points.
Then, in the final minute, football reminds you that it can lift you to unbelievable highs and also drop you like a stone as we concede a penalty and Wayne Rooney converts it.
Back in the dressing room we are all disappointed, to say the least.
In the circumstances we all believe we should have won and collected three valuable points but that, unfortunately, wasn’t to be.
People take these knocks and disappointments differently — some dwell on it and others become angry but it’s something that over time has changed for me.
As a young pro, if I felt I had a bad game I would go home and be introverted, not allow myself to enjoy anything — to punish myself.
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But as I’ve grown older I’ve realised that whatever I do afterwards, it cannot change the result or my own performance.
As long as I know that I tried my utmost — even if things didn’t work out — I choose to let it go and focus on preparing for the next opportunity to right those wrongs.
Similarly, if I miss a chance I know I should have converted, I tend not to dwell on the miss.
Instead I praise myself for being in the right place and encourage myself to arrive there again, where I back myself to score.
As a team we have analysed the positives and negatives of the Everton game and we are all looking forward to this evening’s fixture — Friday night football under the lights at the London Stadium.
We go up against a West Ham side who, much like Everton, invested in some big-name players but haven’t quite gelled as well as Slaven Bilic would have liked.
We need to make sure tonight is not the game where they knit it all together.
We have trained and prepared well this week and are even more determined to take points back to the south coast.
The reality for any newly-promoted club is that each point is like gold dust.
It’s also an opportunity to climb the table before the rest of the Premier League clubs play, making the rest of the weekends more or less significant depending on how we fare.
West Ham suffered a big loss last week with Andy Carroll’s red card and suspension and even though it’s a plus for us that he’s not available, a little bit of me is disappointed.
Andy’s ability in the air is the best in the league but equally the most dominant defender I’ve ever played against is my current team-mate, Shane Duffy, and it would have been brilliant to see those two go at it.
Being the new boys in these last few weeks has been a real learning curve — especially because as a squad many of us hadn’t had the opportunity to play at this level.
Over the first eight games I think we should take heart from being in contention in most of them.
It’s true that we’ve been naive at times but we are a group that admits our weaknesses and we are prepared to work together to achieve our goal.
We’re looking forward to another big challenge in the capital tonight.
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