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View from the cemetery

View from the cemetery - September 2018 - 2

Submitted by Ghostly Gadgie on Saturday, 22 September 2018

Very good couple of away wins, after the disappointment of losing to Clitheroe. I thought we certainly should have won it, although they did score a couple of corkers to be fair. We seem a bit fated over the last few years to lose these big cup games narrowly, Bristol Manor Farm, Newport Pagnell, Runcorn Linnets, and now Clitheroe to add to the list. Never mind, we have had some great days home and away as well, including against Bridlington, and here we go again with a home draw against them in the Vase. 2-1 to us in recent years I think, no doubt El Queso Grande will put me right if I’m wrong. Anyway back to the league games. Away wins at West Auckland and Benfield in the space of a few days, you would always take that, and with a unsettled side as well. Most pleasing thing for a lot of people has been the promise of the new young players in this first few weeks of the season. Dom Moan, Sam Lilley and Alex Ramshaw have all done well when called on, which is good for the future, and there are a couple more in the pipeline I am informed. The new link up with the College will hopefully bear some fruit in coming seasons, might be worth nipping along to Meadow Park on a few Wednesday afternoons if you fancy yourself as a good judge of young talent. Ryhope needs a Simon Cowell.

The NL League table has a funny look to it nowadays. Not so much Hebburn at the top, although their progress is remarkable, but just because it looks so short; it's amazing how big a difference eighteen teams is to twenty two. There is comfort in numbers it seems. You look a lot closer to the top if you win a couple, but the bottom is never far away. Should keep everybody’s mind on the job, steady as she goes. The FA have released some more details of the re-organisation, in this case mostly as far as the South West is concerned, but people will be reading between the lines to see what it might mean for the likes of us. I saw someone posted what a potential combined NL/Evostik North East level four league might look like on nonleaguezone, made for interesting reading, but it maybe well wide of the mark. Who knows what our gaffers are thinking? Ours not to reason why.

View from the cemetery - September 2018

Submitted by Ghostly Gadgie on Saturday, 1 September 2018

I don’t miss much stuck here in this old cemetery, but I wouldn’t have minded a run out to Clitheroe last Saturday. By all accounts Byrnes the wine merchants, suppliers to HM the Queen no less, was as interesting as ever with a few canny bottles picked up for Christmas, or to keep the wife happy as a newt; the local beer was very palatable, the locals were, comparatively, welcoming and the game itself, well OK I guess.

OK? OK? I don’t think so. The sort of game which nobody will forgot playing in or watching. My admirably even-handed reporters tell me that it was a game of three if not four halves. RCA started a bit shorthanded, played OK in the first half, but lost two key players to injury and ended up on the wrong end of four goals, came back ferociously in the second half, but forgot to defend as well, took it to extra time and scored twice when past the 92nd minute to get a draw. Oh, and the opposition managed to get themselves reduced to 9nine men with six minutes to go, scored again anyway, (how many teams over the years have conceded when playing 11 against 9? Some team, RCA), and ended up with RCA thinking they should have won it? Manic.

View from the cemetery - August 2018 - 4

Submitted by Ghostly Gadgie on Wednesday, 22 August 2018

There is nothing that infuriates players and fans more than the inequality that exists in the disciplinary protocols for the game and their applications by referees and linesman in games. Stephen Callen misses the FA cup trip to Clitheroe on Saturday because he reacted, unwisely but not that badly, to an atrocious tackle by the captain of Ryhope CW in the last minute of the game last week. The game was won, Ryhope CW were well beat, and there was nothing left to play for, when their centre half and captain tried to chop Steve in half with an appalling challenge. Steve reacts, understandably but wrongly, both get a three match ban, where is the justice in that? Never mind, nobody said it was fair.

View from the cemetery - August 2018 - 3

Submitted by Ghostly Gadgie on Saturday, 18 August 2018

Sports administrators the world over generally get a bad press, and usually rightly so, don’t get me started on FIFA, but when they get things right nobody notices much. So let me give a word of praise for whichever bright spark it was that came up with the idea of running a lot of sport’s European Championships at the same time, in a kind of mini Olympics. Athletics, swimming, cycling, gymnastics, etc. Brilliant if you ask me. And to then split it between two cities, in this first attempt Glasgow and Berlin, to end up with just enough variety, but not so much as to kill the more minority interests, was the icing on the cake. In the way of all great ideas it seems dead obvious when it happens; a case of “Why didn’t we think of this before?” Well done that man or woman. Must find out who it is. Just don’t expect any thanks or recognition, except maybe as a pub quiz question in 20 years time.

View from the cemetery - August 2018 - 2

Submitted by Ghostly Gadgie on Saturday, 11 August 2018

So what is the most important equipment at a football club? Nets and balls? Mowers and markers? Well, let me put a word in for the defibrillator. Everybody will know of the emergency suffered by Lenny French last Saturday, a heart attack that could have had tragic consequences, but for the brilliant work of Rachel Davison our club physio, who did wonders in assessing Lenny’s condition and keeping him calm and under review until the emergency services could arrive; and the speedy and ultra professional response of the ambulance staff and the hospital who got him under treatment so quickly and effectively. Lenny was sitting up and talking post op before 6.30 last Saturday night, which is amazing in itself, and he is progressing well, and should be back with us very soon. Heartfelt thanks to all involved.

View from the cemetery - August 2018

Submitted by Ghostly Gadgie on Saturday, 4 August 2018

Always a good day is the first of the season proper, and excellent opponents today in the always tough and competitive Newcastle Benfield. Last year's game here was a cracker, with Benfield taking the lead and our boys fighting back for a hard worked for good win in the end. Be great if today is an equally entertaining game. And the start of an interesting season, as the FA’s structural changes to the non-league game start to take effect after long delays and prevarication. Marske and Morpeth have gone, upwards and maybe onwards, good luck to them both, will it work out for them? I hope so, but I’m not certain. If it was just about football I would be confident they would finish first and second this season in the Evostik North, and they may very well do so, but it isn’t just about football is it? It’s also about long journeys, time off work, early starts, late returns, and irate bosses, wives and children. I’m afraid I wouldn’t be surprised to see one or both back sometime in the next couple of years. Maybe not though. Anyway it will still be tough and competitive here, and probably made more competitive by the much reduced fixture list. Two gone up and one dropped out and all of a sudden it's six games fewer than last season. Which is a lot. Team North were always a funny set up, some very nice people but not really a football club as we know it, and their leaving of the league so late leaves a sour taste. As did the appalling corporate claptrap Northumbria University came out with to try and justify their decision. Free advice to the Vice Chancellor and his PR department: when you have been a prat, just say sorry. It works for me.

So, are we going for it? Are we up to it? Good summer I reckon, with most people staying, a couple of famous returns in Sparky and JJ, and a crop of interesting youngsters. So maybe we will be able to sustain a challenge close to the top. The bigger squad should certainly help. Injuries cost us dear mid season last term, but a lot of teams seem to be setting their stall out for a real bash at things, including at least one of the promoted sides. Should be good, let's get to it.

View from the Cemetery - End of Season Review

Submitted by Ghostly Gadgie on Saturday, 28 April 2018

End of Season Review? What is this? The Ghostly Gadgie is being a bit premature I hear you cry, there are still four games to play. Yes I know, but only five days to play them in, hence the special end of season programme, and the need for my season long thoughts. Anyway, these are my feelings re the season, not a match by match review, so I don’t think it matters too much if it's a bit early, I’m not going to change my mind now. So, what do you reckon? More to the point, what do I reckon?

Great start in the summer sun, only one defeat in our first eleven matches, and that desperately unlucky down at Marske, where we bossed the game from start to finish and somehow came away losing 2-1. One of our best performances of the season I thought, in fact. And that eleven game start to the season included four FA Cup matches and eventual victory in three ties, meaning we were still in the Cup come mid-September; unheard of, and looking forward to a trip to Scarborough. Which was fun, but again a bit unlucky. Big crowd, club obviously on the up and good hosts; but I thought we should have won. We bossed the first half, and had plenty of chances to get in front then fell to a couple of sucker punches in the second half. Great day out though.

View from the cemetery - April 2018 - 2

Submitted by Ghostly Gadgie on Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Cracking game on Saturday, on a tricky surface, although to be fair Dave and Graham had done great work to get the pitch fit at all, it was virtually flooded earlier in the week. And they will have had their work cut out to get it back into some kind of shape for tonight. But as I say, a cracking game, which we won well. Benfield will have been disappointed, given the great form they are in, but could have few complaints, and must have considered themselves fortunate to be in front at half time, with virtually their only attempt on goal of the first forty five minutes. It looked like it might be one of those days, but Nathan O’Neill’s super second half hat trick sorted that out. Nath started the season on fire, then had a fallow spell, so it is good to see him firing again and among the goals in recent weeks. His overall contribution was excellent as well, leading the line and putting himself about. To be fair, all of the lads played well, the passing and movement was excellent, although a couple of special mentions from me for Reece Noble, who joined in up the line continuously and didn’t waste a ball from full back, and young Dylan Elliott who was tireless and inventive in centre midfield. The battle of the golden oldies up front was interesting as well. Paul Brayson for Benfield and our own Colin Larkin have about a million goals between them, and long and distinguished playing records, but for once Brayson rarely got a look in after putting over a super cross in the first few minutes for the visitors' goal, while Colin continued his great form of late with great positional play and running off the ball, as well as his on field encouragement and guidance for his team mates. When you score a hat trick you are usually in contention for Man of the Match and Nath O’Neill was a deserved winner, but there were a lot of other candidates as well. Top six now, could get a place or two higher, let's keep it going!

The battle at the top of the First Division is hotting up nicely as Marske make an attempt on mission impossible, will we be giving them a hand on Thursday night when we go up to Morpeth? I hope so. Not because I have a preference, just because I want to see us win the game. While tonight’s match for our opponents is about the other end of the table, can the Roofers stay up? Personally I hope so, always find them good opponents, although you couldn’t say that about their changing rooms, as good as Marske’s I hear, which ain’t that good.

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