Our last home match, against Whitley Bay, was a busy one here at Meadow Park, on and off the pitch, with a couple of medical emergencies resulting in the unusual sight of two ambulances sitting behind the bottom goal deep in the second half. Hopefully both the Whitley Bay player who looked to have a nasty leg injury, though maybe not the break that was many people's first reaction, and the elderly spectator who took ill are both well, fingers crossed. Many thanks due to the doctor in the crowd, a Whitley Bay fan, who stepped in to help and advise with care of the spectator, no doubt an occupational hazard for doctors to be called on when they are near an incident, must get a bit trying for them, but a great comfort to the rest of us; anyway, very well done that man!
Anyway let's look to the match; in typical RCA fashion it looked to me like one of our poorest displays for a while, so of course we keep a clean sheet and score a couple to win the game, whereas our usual fashion of late is to dominate, score two, miss twelve and end up drawing deep in injury time. Not that it doesn’t make for entertainment, albeit frustration as well. Good sides though end up winning no matter how they play, so it might be this is a good development for our young team, and before that we were good, very much so up at Dunston, and it was a solid performance at Penrith as well. I think we will need to be back to that sort of standard for our next two challenges, today’s Ryhope Big Bash when the Colliery nip over the cemetery, and when we pop down to Mansfield in the New Year for the Vase. At least we know what to expect from the CW: commitment, decent players and a will to win which is serving them well so far in their debut season in the top division. Guaranteed to be a hard game, might be decided by which team has been more controlled when faced by the turkey and the pudding; and the sherry and the beer and the wine and the whisky of course.
AFC Mansfield maybe a different kettle of fish, or slice of turkey, notwithstanding our conscientious manager leaving his boys in the hands of Steve and Gee on Saturday to drive the two or three hours down to the East Midlands to watch them in action. And in action they were, as they put no less than thirteen past Retford United, though how helpful it is to watch people notch a boatload I’m not sure. Mind, it was only two at half time. Supposedly Retford are going through one of those great upheavals that hit clubs from time to time, with managers and players leaving en masse and in a hurry, but so far as AFC Mansfield are concerned you can of course only beat what is in front of you. It meant that they equalled their league scoring record for a single game, and it earned them non league performance of the week on Talksport no less. Whichever way you look at it, must be a boost to morale before they take on our bold boys. I’m inclined to think though that a tough win against a famous old club like Whitley Bay and a demanding derby to come might be more useful in keeping your team in fighting trim. We shall see. I understand that many of the faithful are trying to secure their seats on the bus for the day out as well, so we will have some support down there anyway. But will we remember to take pennants this time, and if so will we mislay them again?