Of course this gets thrown back in your face if your team ends up losing the replay and you become the scapegoat amongst the loyal fans who had put their hard-earned cash on the line as well as sacrificing their time.
"We played much better in the first game..."
"They'd have won if you'd bothered to travel...."
Me and the boy Mark hadn't been to Manchester, instead I was outside some big football stadium in Newcastle raising money for my girls' football team before spending an hour and a half refreshing my Twitter page in a desperate search for news on the BIG GAME.
The pitch looked extremely stripy and this was a good BAROMETER for its state as it looked very muddy and the big divots at the Allotment End were still there, despite this column's regular appeals to get them sorted.
The teams once again came out late - obviously waiting for me and the BM to get settled in a good spot before they messed all that up by swapping ends and making us move. This is exactly what happened as we were forced to walk back to the Car Park End when the teams swapped ends. Was this a case of Whitley winning the toss and making use of the non-existent wind or was it Villa hoping that a shot onto the divot might take an unexpected path to give them the lead?
Either way we weren't happy - it was usually a bad omen.
However that didn't seem to be an issue when a handball in the box gave Shanksy the chance to give us the lead from the spot.
It was a good penalty - hard and low and although the keeper was sent the wrong way it thudded against the right hand post and Villa were straight onto the attack with their nifty right back who had a funky set of dreadlocks and reminded me of a young Babayoko.
Interestingly....or not...keeper whiting reminded me of a young Mr Bean but nobody else saw it the same way as me. He was, nevertheless a good laugh and took a lot of our banter in good humour.
Unfortunately, despite dominating, the Bay were undone by a great shot. It was only Villa's second shot of the game and probably wouldn't have gone in if it hadn't by for the enormous divots at Gladstone's end. For the record I had no idea whether it hit the divot because I was miles away at the other end of the pitch. Their fiendish plot, however, had worked and as half time approached it looked like an upset was on the cards. That was until Robbie the Speedster Williamson slammed in a cracking shot from 20 yards to equalise.
|Why the salt sellers,|
|2-1 to the Bay!|
Queuing for our half time beverage, the mood was lifted somewhat. There was also great excitement because Tommy's tea emporium had a large number of salt cellars with the milk and sugar - a sure sign that the Tomster was planning on expanding his menu to include a larger range of confectioner. The presence of a young lady helper with him added fuel to this idea and she was probably thinking of introducing a range of products from baked potatoes with chilli con carne or bolognaise sauce. His disappointment at the loss of his hotel and ski lodge had obviously been channelled into working on this new venture.
Can't wait....maybe it will be in place for the second round if it we get there!
Into the second half and Atko had put a flee in his players' ears as they came out in an even more determined manner. This determination was rewarded when the Shankster slipped past a defender with some neat footwork before toe-poking the ball past Whiting in the Villa goal. This seemed to impress some early partyers near Foxhunters as fireworks were seen in the distance the moment the goal went in. The goal had certainly put a 'sparkle' into the game...Firework joke?
|3-1 the Bay!|
I then found myself on the wrong end of Ian 'I have nothing to do with Twitter' 's wrath as I suggested that the keeper telling his defender to 'go down' was unsporting, especially as the poor lad then had to be helped off the pitch and replaced by Socrates Martins: a cross between the ancient Greek philosopher and the ex-Newcastle United striker's son / second cousin / no relation at all.
Shanks then had the chance to wrap up the points when Hughes superbly managed to square the ball to him with the keeper on his back but the Bay maestro side-footed just wide. He didn't look a happy bunny!
On 80 minutes it was indeed Hughes who picked up a clearance from Whiting in the Villa goal and perfectly lobbed the ball into the net from the edge of the area to cap off a superb personal performance.
The lads were through to the second round and a chance for revenge beckoned with the visit of Dunston. Drawn against the Bay once again in the Fa Vase it is about time that the record was set straight as the Gateshead team has triumphed in the last two visits to Hillheads in the competition. #htb