My rant in the last blog was well received and even gave me my first ever comment on a blog post in 64 attempts so thanks for that Mr/Mrs/Miss Unknown: it was gratefully received on my part.
My October was improving, I enjoyed a fantastic performance by soon-to-be stratosopheric (imho) indie rock sensations Blossoms, my signed copy of indie popsters White Lies' new album had landed on my mat and my man-flu was on the way out. Add to that my first Whitley Bay Park Run in two weeks and you could say life was on the up. Surely my good fortune would rub off on the lads!
My journey from Newcastle, where I had joined my better half and eldest daughter in a spot of shopping and lunching out, didn't go according to plan. Thanks to the wonderful 900 bus that was supposed to effortlessly and instantaneously whisk me from North Shields station to Whitley Bay, it had taken me an hour to get to the coast. I abandoned the Metro at Cullercoats at 3pm, raced home, grabbed my trusty stead (my bike of course - where do you think I live? Earsdon?) and arrived at Hillheads 15 minutes late. I thought the lads at the gate were joking when they said the Bay were 2-0 up and had to ask a number of fans before I finally believed it: Tommy the Tea Emperor doesn't lie! General Patton had scored a penalty after 4 minutes and Kyle Fryatt had produced a cracking bit of skill to beat a defender then score (apparently).
My immediate thought was that we were going to lose 3-2 and it would all be my fault but the lads were playing well, Chan was standing up and away from the bench and....the sun was shining!
I was in time to see Shanks get booked and then witness a bizarre argument between Adam, Mr Bay Twitter, and Dale Connor in the Washington goal. It started when Josh (staying a bit longer at the Bay) Nearney went down in pain after 'heading' the ball. Connor shouted something helpful towards the ref doubting the validity of the stoppage in play.
"It was a head injury!" helpfully called Adam.
"He should have headed it properly." replied our sensitive visiting keeper.
"Still a head injury"
"This is a man's game..."
"Still a head injury."
"All you big men behind there!"
We studied the waist high pole that separated us then watched Josh being helped off the pitch to be replaced by Callum Munro.
Next thing we knew our friend was having a go at the Wandering Minstrel Barry. We dare not ask either what it was about for fear of either accusations of fans' bravado (protected by a waist high pole) or a protracted description that ended in an appalling joke.
Instead Adam preferred to chunter on about:
"The lack of keeper-supporter banter in the Northern League"
"I love banter if it is any good." OOooooh! Mr Huffy!
"You should have stopped the two goals shouldn't you?" 2-0 back of the net. Ha!
|Kempster slides in.|
Robbo then turned the ball past our friend and as he turned to celebrate, it bounced off what I thought was the post but had in fact been the diagonal pole supporting the post and base. It then rolled along the goal-line and out. The lino hadn't spotted it had crossed the line either, unfortunately.... but our at least our visiting chum was smiling.
Fryatt found himself through on goal but his attempted lob was easily saved.
In fact this was a much better Bay performance, with General Patton living up to his name and being the link we've missed in midfield. It was also nice to see Nick Allen back from injury and growing in confidence throughout the game.
When the Shankster fluffed a chance there was a cry of "Shanky!" from Mr Twitter. Inadvertently this then became a new dictionary entry:
Shanky adj: 'description of an action or object that promises much'
(to be said in a Sean Connery-esque voice or in a slightly creepy manner)
The man himself hit a cracking shot wide before being subbed along with Fryatt, who had played much better today. The Fryster had been more physical up front, taking players on more effectively in the same manner that had excited the fans in the pre-season friendlies.
|Back prowling the touchline!|
The chances continued to come for the Bay and it was the Prof this time who was out of luck when Mr Grumpy saved his point blank effort.
Was the fact that the Bay were playing well connected with the fact that Chan had ended his 'sit down protest'? In fact, Chan had not sat down on the bench at all so the moment I set off to record this event, the visitors' Marc Costello scored, forcing the Chan to sit down in shock. Thankfully the Great One resumed his touchline vigil and the Bay surged forward. At one point defender Ryan Keltie set off on a mazy dribble that ended with a charged down shot. Supersub Callum almost scored as the ball squirmed across the goal but beyond his despairing lunge. Supermac was also being found more often and his runs down the wing were causing more problems for Washington. He almost finished the day off with great aplomb as he fought his way into the box before playing keepy-uppy (last count was 17 - although this is probably exaggerated) to get the perfect shot.
The performance was miles better than the previous two. At last we had a win. Next up: those nice lads and lasses from Newton Aycliffe.
|The keepy-uppie king|
|The Kempstervator doesn't flinch....much!|
|Robbo charges in.|