AND breathe…

Isn’t it amazing how football can put you through the ringer, toying with emotions and leaving your nerves shredded?

Saturday was a prime example for those Town fans who turned out on masse for the Blues’ narrow, dramatic and critical 1-0 victory against Rotherham.

Let’s be honest. It was far from pretty.

In fact, it was downright ugly at times as the home goal came under what seemed a barrage of pressure (the Millers had 18 shots compared to Town’s three).

I found it draining and exhausting to watch and the second-half performance, especially, was far from convincing.

Rotherham were the better side after the break and deserved something from the game.

There’s little doubt about that but it was a day when the result was everything and the points truly priceless.

Had Town lost, they would have been down.

Not mathematically, admittedly, but in every other sense. Game over. Goodnight, Vienna.

Instead, they live to fight another day – rejuvenated and revitalised for the battle ahead.

In terms of the overall performance, there were obvious shortcomings, especially during what became a one-sided second half.

Town became disjointed, ragged and sluggish, having been the better side before the break.

They gifted possession, offered next to nothing up front and were fortunate to keep a clean sheet.

However, it seems inappropriate to dwell on those negatives, given the significance of the result and the way they held firm, rather than crumbling.

Because there were undoubted positives, too, and not just the final score.

Centre-half James Collins was outstanding on his debut – rugged, towering and no-nonsense.

He’s also a tidy footballer and his distribution from the back was first class (I can only remember one pass going astray).

He has a calm assurance in possession and his authoritative presence will only rub off on those around him.

Callum Elder looks a decent addition at left-back (although Myles Kenlock was unfortunate to be dropped), Matthew Pennington was solid in his new right-back role, Jack Lankester showed flashes of his raw brilliance and striker Will Keane took his goal confidently (albeit with a helping hand from Lady Luck).

Town’s new signings – five at the moment, possibly with another to follow – will only get better.

A lack of cohesion and understanding was inevitable in their first outing together, especially given their lack of fitness.

But that will change and what was previously a young, inexperienced and wafer-thin squad now looks competitive.

Fresh faces, fresh options and fresh hope.

I’m not suggesting Town are going to stay up on the back of one important victory. It would be naïve and foolish to get carried away.

But they’re in the mix with the bit between their teeth – hungry players and a hungry team.

Defeat would have been catastrophic but victory, while far from convincing, was crucial.

It’s game on, rather than game over, and that, for now, is more than enough to be satisfied about.

I don’t think my frayed nerves could deal with any other scenario.