Saturday, 6 February 2016

6.2.15 - NL - Benfield (a)

No Bay games for well over a month and then two arrive in the space of a few days. Gone was the optimism of the previous game but the Boy Mark and I, joined by Coventry Neil, still set off for an afternoon in the East End of Newcastle.
The phrase "Bang goes your mangoes get Martin's windows" made about as much sense as us taking this trip together in the hope of collecting three points.
For starters it looked like Shanks, replaced by new-boy Kane, had paid the price for the defeat on Tuesday night and didn't look like a happy bunny as he took his place on the bench before the game. Lumsden also found himself on the bench as he swapped places with Laws.
For the first few minutes it looked like the switches had inspired the whole team, especially Norris who found himself the freedom of the right wing.
 Chris Youlden blasted over from one of Chuck's pinpoint crosses then, after finding himself some space in the penalty area. Both his shot and rebound were saved.
But when Benfield came into the game, it became a midfield battle on a boggy pitch that just got wetter as the rain continued to fall.

A nice cup of tea!
On the touchline, the dynamic duo shouted their orders as the team worked their socks off.
"Belly! Hole! Tight!"
"Alex! Drop!"
I think they were some of the phrases...but as hard as the team worked they didn't seem happy and as they tried to arrange and rearrange the team's positions on the pitch it didn't look like there was going to be anything to show for their efforts.
Jennison, was called into action when Benfield's Taylor bore down on goal. Luckily, he skied his shot. The Bay keeper was soon called into action again and this time saved the Bay after coming on top in a 1 on 1.
With the half-time whistle looming, the Bay had an amazing bit of luck. Youlden's shot seemed to bounce off a Benfield player's backside and loop into the Benfield net.
Half time refreshments and no chip butties at all!
The goal seemed to give Whitley belief in themselves, or was it the dynamic duo's half time team talk?  They dominated the second half. Norris had a game in complete contrast to the one he had against Norton. Although the defence still looked a little shaky, the lads finally looked good going forward.  They were almost rewarded when Bell's shot was saved but Kempster's deft chip was also stopped.
The Bay, however were not to be denied and when Kane rolled the ball calmly across the eighteen yard line, Chuck completed his afternoon with a perfect first-time strike that zipped into the net. Paddy's first reaction was to berate the defence for something or other before finally congratulating Chuck. Is there really no pleasing him?

Foalle came on for Kane and the chances continued to come and go, with Kempster forcing the home keeper into a one-handed save. A third goal looked imminent but then the tables were turned when Flynn sliced a cross past Jennison and suddenly the roles were reversed. The Bay were hanging on. The situation was made even more nerve-racking by Neil's constant cries of "this is going to be a goal" whenever Benfield attacked and he was finally told to shut up when he called out "Hand ball!" along with the home management and supporters. Too honest by far that lad!
A certain goal was then cleared off the line by the Bay defence and we breathed again with the home fans screaming the ball was over the line. Into the final minute and another moment of panic as Jennison dropped the ball in the penalty area but luckily he recovered in time. Apart from that scare he had performed well.
At last a victory for Paddy's boys.
On the touchline, Paddy decided to have a go at the ref, instead of the players, as we all waited for the final whistle. A priceless moment came in the very last minute of added time when Paddy barked his instructions to one player at the same time as another player was telling the referee what he thought of his latest decision. The roars of laughter in the stand behind Paddy did not go down well with the Bay supremo. But we thought it was funny.
The relief was tangible as the final whistle blew. Could this give the lads the confidence going into Tuesday's cup game with Morpeth? Only time would tell. It made our afternoon much more enjoyable that's for sure and maybe Paddy's glad we don't often sit behind the dugout. Or maybe he hardly noticed us...

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