IT'S happened to me once before, 19 years ago, and strangely enough, we were playing Coventry then too.

You might recall Andy Crawford's winning goal as Third Division Rovers knocked top flight City out of the FA Cup. More likely you'll remember it for Coventry's aberration of a fashion statement, a chocolate-brown away strip!

So what was the connection between Crawford's cracker and Jason's (semi-precious) gem on Saturday? Simply this: on both occasions, while battle raged on the football field, I was entrapped by 'work commitments', a prisoner in my own country, undergoing a form of mental torture so horrible that only a true football fan can imagine its agonies.

Being unable to go to the game is bad enough. But live media coverage means the non-travelling fan can ensure he (or she) misses neither a half-hit clearance, nor a half-witted linesman's decision.

I usually opt for two radios tuned to different stations plus Ceefax, although sometimes listening to live commentary of Rovers away is more painful than actually watching the game!

This was worse. 'Work commitments' meant, as it did 19 years ago, no TV, no radio, no nothing. Not a glimpse of a goalflash, not a rumour of a roar from Highfield Road. So what do you do? You hallucinate. You forget that the last time you saw them, Callum couldn't cross the ball, Ashley couldn't find the ball, and Jason gave the opposition the ball so often that they suspected it was ticking and about to explode!

And you imagine Filan flinging himself into stupendous saves, Davidson crossing precisely onto Ward's head for the returning Sutton to lash home the winning goal.

Suddenly there's a break in proceedings in this fictional world called 'work'. You dash, miniature radio in hand, to some remote corner, only to discover the grim reality of a 0-1 half-time deficit. At 5.05 p.m. my torture ended and I was released, blinking into the afternoon sunlight.

Feeding in frenzied fashion on the media of which I'd been starved for hours, I finally learned of our deserved point.

Well done, Jason - Match of the Day proved it was a smashing goal, though not quite as good, I think, as the one Sutty scored during my afternoon reverie. Is it too much to ask that against Wimbledon this weekend, my dream might become reality?

Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.