Saturday, 27 August 2016

27th August 2016 - North Shields (h)

Pre-match reading.

Last week it was South of the river today it was the North side: last week the dress rehearsal and this week the real thing: the Coastico and not ElClasicoast! The Bay were still undefeated after coming from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at the home of leaders Shildon the previous Wednesday. The comeback boys had done it again. The crowd looked to be down on the previous season's 857 but was still a healthy one and way more than the previous crowd for the South Shields game.
1-0  -  the Shankster heads home!
Shanks makes himself
 small for the corners
Can you spot him?
Thought not.
The Bay looked confident and in the 12th minute Harry Potter put in the Kempstervator who crossed to Shanksy to outjump a Shields defender to score past former Whitley keeper Kyle Hayes. There was great discussion as to whether it had been Potter, Munroe or Kempster who started the move. It was decided that the players should have names and numbers hovering over their heads like in Fifa games. Of course Bob went on about not ever being able to see their numbers on their shirts and suggesting we all started a fund to get new Bay shirts on which the numbers were clearer. This discussion then lead onto the one about long or short corners as the Bay were awarded one. The only way to solve the problem was to ask one of the men in question; so we asked Shanksy and he replied that he preferred the big boot so Bob felt vindicated.
There was also a well-observed minute's applause from the 615 crowd for the @HelpFrankie fund in the 26th minute and a bucket collection. Frankie is a three year old who was diagnosed with cancer on the 26th May. Both sets of fans joined in perfectly.
Our new Greek hero, Elfie the Angel (still working on it - think that was Neil's suggestion) also entertained the troops when he borrowed Hayes' water bottle.
One of the crowd shouted "You should be used to this heat where you come from!" to which he replied, quick as a flash:
"Actually where I'm from it's a bit hotter than this...I was just thirsty!"
Terrace hero = potential legend?
There was bad news for the Bay however as young Nick Allen went down after more great wing play. A lengthy delay followed as he was carried off just three minutes before the break.
For the second half Fenton had obviously given his team a rocket and they came out fired up. The Bay were on the back foot. In one of the Bay's attacks Shanks came up with dive of the day when he flew over  a Shields defender to perform a brilliant 6.0. Luckily he seemed to come out of it with his pride intact...sort of.
The next minute however Shields were level with a header.  This was soon followed by the lead going to the visitors in similar fashion. A free header coming from a freekick on the left wing. The missing Professor Wilkinson was on the bench and his presence was needed. It was saviour time!
Shields Ultras.....all six of them......

With Robbo and Shanksy having worked their socks off, they were both replaced and the Professor was put up front with Kempstico. The former's presence in the air was perfect as he dominated the Shields defence. The Bay piled up the pressure and first MacDonald had a great drive saved before it happened. A long throw-in was cleared only to be returned back into the middle. A header across goal ended up at the feet of the brilliantly tireless Kempstico, who expertly flicked the ball past Hayes deep into injury time!

Three games: three high-scoring exciting draws against the top teams. This Bay team does not lie down!
South Shields away next week .
 The bigger they come, the harder they fall!
Haway the Bay!

PS: Get well soon Bay fan Ann Barkas who was wounded in the course of following her team at Shildon. Don't forget to duck next time! Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

Sunday, 21 August 2016

20th August 2016 - South Shields (H)

Stands well populated...unlike the rest of the ground.
The behind-the-goal-gang is sparse today.
The moneybags from South Shields were in town, although without mega-earner for the Northern League Julio Arca. Having easily won the second division championship, the Mariners were going to be tough opposition. Unfortunately the weather meant the crowd would be lower than expected as the heavens opened about 11:00 and carried on chucking out cats and dogs up to kick off and throughout the first half.
No surprise that the two stands were well populated, luckily I had brought my portable roof so I headed behind the goal as usual.
Supermac strikes again!
It certainly didn't look like there was a difference in the opposing teams' budgets as the lads battled all the way. In fact the best chances fell to the Bay and when Chris 'Supermac' Macdonald picked up the ball and jinked his way past a Shields challenge, he unleashed a drive that skipped off the wet turf and under the extremely visible visiting keeper, Chris Elliott. The tangerine-like Elliott was certainly not a happy bunny. Hearts were soon in mouths when Mr Dependable Steve Gibson had to clear a Shields effort off the line. New signing, Uni student Angelos Eleftheriadis, who arrived with plenty of top flight experience settled in extremely well and is one player I certainly hope stays. However his nickname needs to be worked on as neither Zorba the Greek or Mr Unpronounceable fits the bill.  
Despite the great work in defence, Gavin Cogdon scored the equaliser, rising unchallenged to score with a header.
But back came the Bay and would you believe it? The Bay took a short corner to Harry Potter's unknown son Tom and the youngster wove his magic to plant a ball perfectly onto the Shankster's head who applied the killing touch. At half time it was the first thing I mentioned to Mr 'don't play it short' Bob.
The rain eased off enough in the second half for the portable roof to be rested but as the half wore on, Shields were taking a firmer grip on the game. The equaliser came seven minutes later when a fantastic curling effort from David Carson beat Flynn at his far post.
The referee was proving ineffective and had spent most of the game telling both sides to 'play nicely'. As a result the visiting team flew in with a range of challenges that went unpunished. The main culprit was the flame-haired midfielder David Palmer who seemed to be getting away with the proverbial murder. However, when Callum Munro sent the whipper-snapper into the air with a delightful challenge, the referee decided to book the Bay defender. Palmer's attempt to knock him over similarly went unchallenged: Moira was incensed I can tell you! He wasn't even told that it was a naughty thing to do.
Palmer then looked to have had the last word as he finished off a Shields free kick with a superb 20 yard strike. But the Bay wouldn't lie down and in the 92nd minute it was the studious-looking Professor of football, Ross Wilkinson, who volleyed home from 8 yards after a Shanks lay-off.
The Professor had rescued a game that the Bay should never have been behind in. A just reward for all the hard put in by the boys. Now third in the league, the boys will face a tough week away to Shildon on Wednesday followed by next Saturday's El COASTICO. The Shildon game is one I can't attend because it's my 20th wedding anniversary and my wife doesn't want to spend it watching Whitley. Strange critters women!
So in my absence I hope the lads show the same determination that they have shown in the last three games. Whisper it: Chandler's blue and white army are on their way!

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

16th August 2016 - Newcastle Benfield (h)

The sun was still shining when the Boy Mark and I arrived at Hillheads but the shadows were lengthening and although there was a good sprinkling of shorts on view, I was glad I was a soft get with me jeans on.
Although the warm glow from Saturday's second half performance was still adding extra warmth. Tonight, work commitments deprived us of Shanksy's services but it was good to welcome the Kempster from his jollies. As soon as ends had been chosen we duly set off, along with the Bobster and Moira behind the Allotment End goal only to return quickly back to the side after facing the prospect of staring into the searing sun for 45 minutes.
The new, flashy and much improved programme featured a blast from the past with a Chowie goal celebration in the front cover but now we have our new formidable forwards, in the shape of Shanksy, Fryatt, Kempster and Robo, here's hoping the Bay rise again.
With just three minutes gone the Benfield keeper spilled a shot that just eluded the home forwards but on 10 minutes the Bay were ahead. A freekick for handball, that might have come off a Bay player's hand, was played onto the head of 'the Professor' (Ross Wilkinson - because he looks like one...not my idea) who flicked it over the stranded Grainger in the Benfield goal. The Bay were on their way.
Benfield, however were not giving up and it was a good battling first half with neither team giving anything and there were good physical battles over the pitch that the Bay players managed to come up on top of. There was a slight moment of panic when a Benfield shot was just glanced wide by an unknown Bay defender's foot but the lads were continuing on from Saturday. With Potter looking lively on the wing, the whole team looked up for the fight.
Five minutes to go to half time, Fryatt was again in the right place to pick up a slack clearance. He played it over the top of the defence for Robo to score....I was immediately warned for starting "Robo's on fire.."
A good save from Flynn kept a Benfield shot through bodies out and the halftime score at 2-0.

"Robo's on......" sorry.
Into the second half and a lapse in defence allowed Benfield to pull one back but the Bay steadied themselves and as the Boy Mark wondered whether he had recorded the Olympics beach volleyball, more Fryatt trickery saw the ball squared to Robo! 3-1.
Natty matching boots and top from Grainger!
There was plenty of action as the game ebbed and flowed but a battle royal blew up between the Bobster and anyone who supported the Bay's insistence on playing short corners.
"When was the last time the Bay scored from a short corner?" he chimed every time they took it short. Yet as the video evidence below proves. Some of the short corners did end in shots on goal from a stretched defence.  However, the argument was eventually ended when Moira told him if he didn't shut up he would have to make his own cup of tea when got home. Nice one Moira.
For the record: my opinion is mix it up...
3-1 was the final score and things were looking good for the next two home games: Shields and Shields. Bumper crowds expected for both. #htb.
Neil: no Berrywatch today although he was a real gent and shook our hands and had a half time chat with us: Boy Mark says he won't wash the hand that he shook. No change there!

Short corner = shot                                   Long corner = no shot
I rest my case!

Sunday, 14 August 2016

13th August 2016 - Ryhope CW (h)

Playing aeroplanes during
a match should be
 a bookable offence!
Out of the FA Cup in my absence, to a last minute winner in the replay against Norton, the league season was about to begin. My holiday (see meant that I had only been able to get to one of the friendlies and missed the FA Cup games. But as the Boy Mark said, we were concentrating on the competitions we could actually win. Although disappointing to not have the Mighty Bay in the running for the FA Cup, we would have to be realistic. We would have to satisfy ourselves with the League / Vase / League Cup / Northumberland Senior Cup quadruple.
The new ClubApp was in full working order and certainly a great addition to the Club's social media arsenal. 
The link to the club's Facebook site is a great idea as are the match analysis stats. The Club is entering the 21st Century so well done to all involved in that. 
Disappointingly, a crowd of only 213 turned up on a warm Summer's day. The Toon were playing their opening game of their Championship season but it was a shame that not more had turned out in the Sun.
It was good to see Fryatt in the starting line-up as well as a forward pairing of Robo and Shanks. The only disappointment for Neil was that fans' favourite Dave Berry had been relegated to tape dispenser as the kick off was delayed because of a net malfunction. A trimmer-looking Berry duly appeared carrying a roll of blue electrician's tape. However, his lack of height meant that Ryhope's Chris Rookes had to apply the finishing touches. 
Not much happening going forward for the Bay...
There was good banter with the stocky visiting keeper as we basked in the welcome sun and he was smiling even more when Callum Anderson blasted a thunderbolt off the post. Rookes was smiling even more when Flynn made a complete hash of coming out of goal and Mathew Wears slotted into the empty net. In time honoured tradition, I missed the goal and was only aware that they had scored by Neil's Coventry boom of a voice berating Flynn. The opening goal of Middlesbrough's Premiership campaign proving a distraction to me as my jubilant wife texted me. 
From then on, Whitley struggled to break down the packed Ryhope defence. Some great play between Shanks and Callum Munroe looked to have done the trick but at the last minute, Callum trod on the ball and the chance was lost. Shanks hit the post/side netting but it was Ryhope who had the last word of the half when a rasping drive crashed against the post. Apparently Flynn produced a magnificent save to keep the shot out but I was the only one who missed it as I was distracted by Barry's latest joke: "The British trampolining team has admitted that its sport has its ups and downs."
The faithful wilting in the 'heat'?
Or was it the return of
Barry's sense of humour?
I doubt they will improve.
There was an air of inevitability from the faithful as the teams emerged for the second half but this wasn't shared by a rejuvenated Bay team.
Three minutes in, Fryatt swivelled and slotted past Rookes who looked to have lost his sense of bonhomie towards us. "Just take it easy" we had confidently told him as we hadn't expected a Bay revival. "We'll tell you when we're on the attack."
Two minutes later a Robo screamer gave us the lead. Soon after there was a Patton blaster, a Munroe trickler and finally a Fryatt jinxy run and goal. We were 5-1 up. The faithful had even managed to stand up in the excitement.

1-1 - Bob doesn't even spill his tea. The crew didn't manage to stand up though.
2-1 the lads brought to their feet in the building red-hot atmosphere!
Bob still has not finished his tea!
3-1 surge to the barrier!
4-1 Hooligan on the pitch...
sort of.
5-1 The Roar of the Bell-less end!
You can look now!

There was a also a treat for Neil the Berry Watcher as Shanks took a knock near the end and the trimmer, leaner footie machine the Berrynator emerged to guide the lads over the line. Despite being told by Ian that I wasn't allowed to sing any version of "Whitley's on Fire, your defence is terrified..." or Seven Nation Army, it had been great to get back to proper football after the disaster that had been the Euro Championships. Now we just have to get the lads to come over to the fans and do the "Clapping" after every win.
The perfect start to the league season (the first half long forgotten) and with Kempster due back from his holiday the optimism levels have been raised. Fingers crossed!