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!
View from the cemetery
As well as your venerable correspondent's musings, which you may find witty, lucid and concise; or maybe not, there are of course other writers and writings available on the website. Not least the match reports, which many people have had a go at over the years, some better than others, but all game chaps, and which have been the province of our sadly departed secretary Mr Jones for the past few seasons. And very good his were too. A tough act to follow. But someone has to do it, and we have a new guy, no less than Simon the photographer, who having replaced the legendary Tim with élan, has also ventured to write the last few match reports. Who knew? It turns out our snapper is a veritable Oscar Wilde, a maestro of the pen, a reborn Neville Cardus, a new Brian Glanville. In short, very good indeed. Very, very good. Gets all the facts in, as required of journalists, and adds a few flights of fancy to keep the more literary types engaged. He could of course be making a rod for his own back with his outstanding first efforts, he might have been better advised to start slowly and build up. I certainly did the start slowly bit. Anyway looks like a right good signing, long may he continue. And if he gets head hunted by The Sunday Times we can all say we knew him first.
Could have been and should have been an unlikely Wearside double on Saturday, when the lads at the SoL managed a first home win of the season while we were going well at home to Consett. Two up inside eight minutes and in front until the 89th minute, and then good enough to get in front again after Consett’s equalising penalty, we still managed to concede a second equaliser with the last kick of the game. Not for the first or even the second time this season, it is becoming a bad habit. The performance was good, particularly early on, but Consett are a bit of a bogey side for us and no mistake. Still, you couldn’t say it wasn’t entertaining, especially the first eight and last seven minutes.
You can have too much of a good thing they say, so presumably this applies in spades to your humble correspondent’s drivel. Blame the fixture secretary is my only defence. Quite a rush of games, four home matches in eleven days is tough on everybody. Pitch to keep right, clubhouse to keep stocked, programme to be written, and changing rooms to be cleaned; mucky so and so’s some of these footballers, and not just the away sides, I understand there are major rumbles of discontent from those who wield the mops. Lads, clean up your mess!
Good day on Saturday gone. Very tight, competitive game against a tough side who you could tell are used to winning over the past few years, but in the end we just had enough to squeeze past Stockton Town. So we play one game and here we are in the last sixty four, seems a bit harsh on some of those who have been playing since September, but we don’t make the rules. My old dad used to say that as he slaughtered me at some game or other. Except he did make the rules. I digress, but do these exemptions for last season’s successes help clubs to prosper? Maybe, I’m not sure. It might be that those early season games get you into the swing of things. In any event there were some parallels between Saturday’s game and last season’s first game in the Vase, against Bridlington at home you might remember, some time early in September. Both went to extra time, and both times we scraped through. Mind, a midweek replay down at Stockton would have been a bit less daunting than last year, when we faced a long journey and a late night in Bridlington, which was not a very popular possibility with certain parties, as I recall.
Two thousand, six hundred and fifty one. A nice number. Most of you will not need telling that was the crowd last Saturday at Mariners Park for the Shields derby. Amazing. A bit embarrassing for those clubs, I hesitate to name names, who can generate barely any interest in the biggest city in the North East, but maybe it's just one of those things. Very good for the league in general and non league football on Tyneside in particular, TV and press coverage and a lot of word of mouth about what good entertainment and good value the Northern League offers. It should help us all.
However back to the business in hand. Vase today, against interesting opposition and in international week so not much else to do and hopefully a good few will take a trip to Meadow Park for their football fix. I don’t think anybody will be disappointed. We played Stockton a while back in a cup tie and a cracking game it was. Maybe Wembley for the winners?