Sunday, 17 July 2016

16th July 2016 - Stockport Town (h)

Fancy team pic courtesy of WBFC Twitter 
The close season had really been a wash-out. England in the Euros was a waste of time - bar a second -half display against Wales which i couldn't see because I was transferring the school's girls' football team to a tournament. The other home nations produced great displays of team-work with Wales the pick of the bunch. There was the fallout from the referendum and the mass resignations of everybody bar Ian Chandler, who had thankfully remained the manager of the Mighty Bay. Just two days before the first home friendly of the 2016-17 season we had the terrorist attack in Nice and this was followed by the attempted coup in Turkey...our part of the world was going to pot (and don't get me started on our new prime minister).
Thank goodness for the first friendly of the season at Hillheads. About a hundred people turned up for the game. For me, there was the traditional collection of the season ticket (always the best value £99 spent each year) and the result of the 'guess the colour of the season ticket' competition. Despite the potential use of red card (the very idea) I was correct in my prediction of green ones.
The team looked thankfully familiar with only the additions of Kyle Fryatt (quick winger from Shildon) and Ross Wilkinson (no nonsense defender from Durham) to the starting line-up. Yes the Whitley/Durham free trade agreement was still intact.
Another exciting addition to a Bay fan's life was the new app page brought to us devotees by Fanapp (on Google play I'll have you know). There are pics of all the players and details of each match - shots on goal etc. Wow, it's brillo! A bit of info of how players did in previous seasons would be a great addition though.
2-0 - more tears and stamping of feet.
For once it felt warm at Hillheads, despite a wind gusting across the pitch and it was good to be back.
The match itself only had to wait about four minutes before bizarre Stockport defending saw Stockport's Joe Armstrong (Related to Green Day's Billy Joe?) slice a clearance onto the bar and new boy Kyle Fryatt was there to head past the helpless Jacob Luty in the Town goal.
Crying after some appalling defending.
It was good to see Andy Robertson continuing his career after his brilliant previous season (not enough of them for the first team) along with Ryan Kielte. Alex Kempster was continuing his role in the midfield along with a lively Callum Anderson. It was a piece of Kempster battling that ended up with Robertson scoring with a perfect drive from the edge of the box.
The lively Fryatt then dispossessed a dallying defender, who had just received a short goal kick, before slotting past the increasingly frustrated Luty.
It had been an unusual half with the Bay 3-0 up and in control against a Stockport town team that definitely needed to work on their defending.
The pitch looks in rather good nick!
Into the second half and the only disappointing thing was that Town had decided to defend properly. There were wholesale changes with Shanks, Gibson and another new boy Powell coming on along with fans' favourite Dave Berry. The highlight of his game, although he had a decent second half, was a nifty little bear hug carried out on a Town defender's leg as he threatened to get away.
Woodie suggested that we should have a Dave Berry Appreciation Day one day: I'm sure that'll be a winner!
Tallest in
 the league?
With just over twenty minutes to go, the Kempstervator tricked his way into the box and shot past the keeper. Luckily golden touch Shanksy was on hand to touch home from a yard to stop Alex scoring.
After that there were more substitutions and the match lost a bit of shape with everyone playing everywhere. A lobbed cross met the head of Town's Mark German who headed over the stranded Flynn.
The talk then centred on the appearance of the linesman - who looked to be a front runner for the Tallest Linesman of the League award. By the time the final whistle blew Town had sneaked another consolation.
It hadn't been the toughest test for the Bay but a useful exercise and at least we knew that the sun could actually shine on Whitley Bay!

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