A funny week of games and results. By the miracles of graveyard technology I was in Spain for the last fortnight so I’ve missed the last three matches. Timed when we had three away games I’ll have you notice. Anyway, sounded like a very stout effort at Consett, with our old hero Steve Callen eventually notching with his backside to settle things. Nobody will get much up there I reckon, and they already look hot shots for the title. There is no doubt that great crowds and a plastic pitch working hard during the week means lots of cash to spend on the team. Good luck to them, good club.
View from the Cemetery
Well, that was an excellent little run while it lasted, but all good things, magic of the Cup, anything can happen, and all that.
I refer to last week's FA Cup tie of course. To be fair with twenty minutes to go I was starting to think we could pull it off, we have come on strong towards the end of most games this season. But it wasn’t to be. Stockton are a powerful side, and I’m sure they will do well this year in their new league and be there or thereabouts, along with the other North East representatives, come the end of the season. A few injuries before and during the game didn’t help, and the downside of this cup run is that it has stretched our squad.
And we go straight into more Cup action this weekend. A tricky looking tie, against a side we haven’t played before, in their first season in the Northern League, and who we can’t be expected to know too much about, although no doubt the boss and his lads will have done some checking out.
Yes it's FA Vase time again. I love the Vase, however you do in the Cup you know it isn’t going to last too long, making it into September is an achievement, but with the Vase you know it could be you.
And we have had some great seasons in the past few years, all ending in disappointment but not before a lot of highs and some great games. Bristol Manor Farm at Home and Newport Pagnell away would probably be the most annoying, two games we certainly should have won but didn’t, and only a couple of ties from Wembley. At the same time the most enjoyable probably include the home win over Tadcaster Albion, a comprehensive 4-0 in a season when they won the North East Counties League, and in the same season the great away trips to Silsden and Hemsworth Miners Welfare, the latter featuring a noisy and boisterous crowd, rapidly silenced by Colin Larkin’s twelve second opening goal, and his subsequent hat trick. Happy days indeed.
A tough weekend of fixtures just gone and a very decent return with four points, and now FA Cup and FA Vase games to look forward to in the next couple of weeks. All is reasonably well at the minute, despite a few injuries, which maybe isn’t helping in getting a settled side sorted. But anyway given all the upheaval over the summer it was always going to be a year of change and development.
Bank Holiday Monday mornings are always popular with the fans, if not with those who have to be up at the crack, sorting boilers and putting up posts, and so it proved again, with a good turn out of the Groundhoppers from far and wide helping to provide a very decent gate for what was an excellent derby with our friends from Seaham. Overall, and it's early to judge, the Northern League seems to me to have started this new season in very good order. Lots of good competitive games, certainly at least one surprise packet at the top in Thornaby, and good interest all round. West Allotment will be a little bit concerned no doubt, propping everybody up for the moment, but it doesn’t seem to me that there is all that much between top and bottom, and over a long season then things will change everywhere.
I won’t go on about Frickley. For one reason, a man of my obvious limitations couldn’t possibly have been there, and for another, because every man and his dog has been doing so all week.
Suffice it to say it must have been quite a performance. Well done.
As, to be fair, was the previous midweek up at North Shields. There is no doubt in my mind that North Shields will be there or thereabouts come the end of the season but my spies tell me that although it finished in a bit of an Alamo performance as Shields tried to win it at the death, before then we had played a very full part and could have scored more than one goal ourselves. Coming after the disappointment of the Northallerton game both of these matches were very good news.