A few days off after a 600-mile round trip to the Stadium of Light for Sunderland versus Charlton and Darren Drysdale, watching 90 minutes of miserable football, staying in the loudest Travelodge in the universe, and anyone would need a break.
So, I jumped on a train, met my mate and did it all over again. Except for this time, it was a bit closer to home.
Living in Kent makes it harder to get to as many home games as I would like, so any game I can get to that is local to me is a Brucey Bonus - when QPR away in the cup gets confirmed, I've already fired off messages to make sure that I'm in the stands.
The journey to Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, formally known as Loftus Road, is a relatively simple one into London. Especially because when I jump on a train into London Victoria, I'm already following a few red and white shirts and the closer I get to the stadium, this number only continues to grow. Getting off the tube and walking to the ground: you can feel the atmosphere and the test of a Championship side.
If you've not been to the QPR stadium before, know this, it is built for hobbits. The archaic turnstiles to get into the ground squeeze you in like you’re the last ounce of toothpaste in the tube. You think you’re in now; thank christ that's over, right? Wrong! The concourse is roughly one Niall Quinn wide, and whilst everyone is queuing for the bar, getting to your seat can be challenging. Let's say you go to the toilet; finding your mates again in the melee is an all-to-real game of “Where’s Wally?”.
I missed the kick-off, but not because I was a broad bloke shoved through the Crystal Maze. No, it was that the QPR security moved at a speed that would make a snail cringe, leaving lots of Sunderland fans waiting to be searched by the Plod Patrol as the first half started.
Once we got to our seats, the Lads were already in full flow and had carved out a few chances. What followed was a Lee Burge masterclass in goalkeeping. Where had this guy been? Diving all over and not letting Charlie Austin get a single sniff at goal, he was incredible and was not the Burgey we were used to, yet we were dire at the other end, but we’ll ignore that.
Half time came and went then, more of the same, Lee Burge becoming a prime Casillas whilst Sunderland’s attack kept missing sitters. QPR had a goal disallowed due to Charlie Austin being offside. The full-time whistle went, and Sunderland headed into a penalty shootout. Great.
Tension, Silence and the whole ground held its breath as Austin put the ball down for the first pen.
LEEEEE BURRRRRGEEE. LEEEE BURRRGGEEE. What a man.
McGeady slotted it home, and Ilias Chair sent it to the home supporters.
Ross Stewart, Lyndon Dykes and Alex Pritchard slotted home, respectively.
We were 3-1 up. I was so tense that I was cooking up some diamonds.
Up steps Yoann Barbet - the defender had the task of keeping the R’s in the game and sticking the ball past Gianleeuigi Burgeffon.
He naffed it, belting it over the bar.
Full-time, Burge is the King whilst the School End Upper stand is in full limbs mode. Lee Johnson and Co make their way over to the travelling fans to receive their well-deserved applause.
Eventually, we all penguin shuffled our way to the exits, chants of “Sunderland Boot Boys” echoing around the stairwell and followed a sea of red and white to White City underground station.
Job well done, and on to the next round with the sense of optimism that when we make it to the Championship, we’ll be alright.