Sunday, 11 September 2016

6th September 2016 - Sunderland RCA (h)

Were the wheels coming off the Bay Chandlerwagon? The lads had found South Shields a tough nut to crack but then are they a team designed for this level? There isn't any argument on that one.
Tonight's match was the fifth match in a row that we were up against a team from the top four of the league and so far there had been only one defeat. We were also the only team in the league to have played Sooth Shields home and away already: most people's prediction for Champions and the latest incarnation of Spendymoor. The rest of the season will obviously be a breeze.
 Yet again we were treated to a warm Autumn evening and there were short sleeves and shorts with extra pockets on the legs all around the ground. There was also a glorious sunset that I was cautioned for admiring and not concentrating on the match.
Unfortunately, the Bay were made to pay for my lack of concentration after ten minutes when Steven Callen lashed the ball in, via a post, to give RCA the lead. The visitors' good run of form that had taken them joint top of the table was continuing.
After that I redoubled my efforts to focus and was rewarded when Fowler crossed into the box for the Kempstervator to flick into the far corner of the net.

Our delight was short-lived: first Shanks was brought down as he bore down on goal before the subsequent clearance ended up in the home net, courtesy of RCA's  Jonathan Davis.
Into the second half and the most satisfying aspect of a frustrating period of play was our good friend Keith's purchase of a fine Wembley 2010 sunhat. Although the sun had left us, it was still an excellent purchase and made me wish I'd brought mine along. He was also told that when the hats were ordered, at the time of our great run in the Vase, that only child-sized hats were ordered by mistake. However these fine hats, as worn by middle-aged men give the impression of the pork pie hats worn by fans of Madness et al during the 80s. Therefore they should be treated as an essential addition to any respectable Bay fan's wardrobe.
Away from the fashion parade, Neal Bussey, in the visiting goal, was walking through treacle to slow the game down. As a result, whenever he ambled over to collect the ball for a goal-kick he was subjected to a barrage of abuse from the faithful. Yet the ref did nothing. Chandler was doing his nut.
Two substitutions changed the course of the game. First it was Andy Robertson, on for Kyle Fryatt, followed by Professor Wilkinson on for Steve Gibson.
First, a long ball found, Shanksy whose chest met a Sunderland boot and a penalty duly awarded while Sunderland's Steven Stewart was given the red card. The home fans were pleased to see Mr Treacle booked as he moved like lightning to argue with the ref: the fastest he had run all match.
Callum Patton stole the penalty from the expectant Shanks (no mean feat) to calmly slot home with four minutes left. Could the Bay get the winner? Shanks fantastically came close when he lofted the ball over Mr Treacle-Bussey only to see it cleared off the line but it was all set up for one man. It was Wilko time! The big intellectual seized on a loose ball in the box to slot home and give the Bay their first victory in five games.

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