Until somebody invents a gauge to measure happiness it's impossible to say for sure whether the four minutes of injury time at the end of tonight's game really did make up for the 80-odd days of misery and frustration that preceded them. But right here, right now, it definitely feels that way. Shortly after Rubén Castro's second goal went in, it occurred to me that a conscientious blogger would take his camera out to record the scenes of spectacular delirium around him - but frankly I was too busy jumping up and down like a hyperactive kid on a bouncy castle. You'll just have to take my word for it - it was absolute mayhem, in a wholly good way.
Best of all, it was entirely deserved. Betis didn't exactly dominate Valencia the way they did Osasuna in the second half last week, but they more than matched Spain's third-best side over 90 minutes, creating more chances and giving Unai Emery's men a thoroughly uncomfortable evening. Even after the visitors went ahead in the 66th minute, when a rare excursion into the heart of Casto's area finished with Dorado poking the ball into his own net, the home fans were remarkably calm. Whether the goals came today, or next week, or the week after, it was already obvious that Pepe Mel had found the key and Betis were back on track.
The answer - today, at least - lay in a 4-4-2 formation that was actually more like 4-2-4 most of the time, with Jonathan Pereira on the left and Pozuelo causing immense problems for the experienced French left-back Mathieu down the right. With Roque Santa Cruz looking fitter by the game and Rubén Castro playing with more fire in his belly since being dropped last week, Betis were suddenly attacking with four men instead of two and a half as had been the case for the majority of this dire run. Surprise surprise - this made them harder to beat.
Of course, a bit of luck helps too - and Pepe Mel finally got some this evening when, in the first minute of injury time, and his side apparently freewheeling to another frustratingly unfair defeat, substitute Juanma ran down the inside-right channel and pulled back a cross that was deflected right onto the head of Rubén Castro two yards from goal.
The equaliser was celebrated wildly enough, but better was yet to come. With just 10 seconds left to play, Juamna chipped a clever pass forward to Rubén, who was played onside by a tired defender over on the other side of the pitch. Up in the stands there was just time to think, "The linesman's kept his flag down! He's through on goal! It's Rubén! He doesn't miss these!" before the back of the net was bulging and we were all damaging our throats with wild screaming. The only moment that has come anywhere near it in my two and a half years in Gol Norte was Roversio's goal against Albacete that ended the five-game losing streak in March. It was mad.
What supporters of other teams might not understand is that keeping faith in your manager and your players, not overreacting to mere defeat, recognising that there are more important things to sport than winning - all of these things make the good moments, whenever they decide to show up, even sweeter. Béticos will be savouring tonight's final four minutes for days to come.
Betis: Casto; Isidoro, Mario, Dorado, Nacho; Iriney, Beñat; Pozuelo (Ezequiel, m. 75), Jonathan Pereira (Juanma, m. 80), Rubén Castro, Santa Cruz (Jorge Molina, m. 75).
Goals: 0-1, m. 65: Dorado og. 1-1, m. 91: Rubén Castro. 2-1, m. 93: Rubén Castro.
Pic: a Beñat free-kick is turned away by Valencia keeper Diego Alves