Tuesday, 27 December 2016

26th December 2016 - West Allotment Celtic (h)

The day started with the job of marshalling on the course of the Woodlawn Pudding Run where 900+ runners (fun and otherwise) donned fancy dress (some of them) to raise money for Woodlawn School in Monkseaton. After directing various runners/Christmas puddings / reindeer / Santas / Elves...etc it was a race home to pick up Mrs Bay-Blogger (hyphenated cause she's posh) who was coming for her traditional Boxing Day visit to the Bay. Managing to get in with time to spare, I finish downing a turkey / stuffing / sausage sandwich lovingly prepared by my youngest (for herself and then given to me because she couldn't manage the number she'd made).
My pre-match Boxing Day selfie was censored because Mrs Bay-Blogger had her eyes closed but it was good to have her opinion on the match. Her first insight into the world of Northern League football was that the Celtic keeper, Chris Bannon, was a "bit of a bossyboots": she certainly didn't pull any punches!
A crisp but blowy Boxing Day!
Just as I was noting down her analysis, Celtic scored. Mrs B-B informed me that "it was a corner that was headed back across and was possibly headed in". The perfect analysis...she pays more attention than I do...for once I didn't have to ask Mr Twitter what happened. For the record it was Liam Hudson who did indeed head home.
Return if the Bay bell!
1-0 down after five minutes made Mrs B-B feel at home...she's a Boro fan. One thing was clear, the wind was going to do its best to spoil the game and once again the Bay were struggling against Storm Connor...Barbara had only left on Christmas Eve. As a result Mrs B-B noted that the Bay weren't exactly "bossing the game". Again she was spot on with her analysis as every ball forward was either held up in the wind or fell to a Celtic player. The pitch wasn't helping ether. I presume that after the last time it was cut, which wasn't such a success, it had been left longer. This meant that the lads' attempts at playing football on the ground were being held up by a clingy pitch. Nothing the grounds staff could do about that. Tom Potter, on the wing was struggling to free the ball from its claggy prison (...er of Azkaban: sorry best Harry Potter reference we could think of - it was cold!). A welcome returnee was the famous Bay Bell; which had been missed. However, it wasn't ringing out enough for most people's liking because of the lack of bay attacks.
Magic man gets his reward.
I'd given up writing notes after missing out on the first goal and it was freezing but there was very little happening until a Celtic volley scraped over the crossbar then another Celtic shot came close.
An injury to Callum Anderson, early in the second half, saw him being replaced by Ryan Keltie and the Bay seemed to gain more impetus going forward. Finally Potter was flying more freely down the wing and the Bay's quick passing started to unsettle the hard-working visitors. It was only fitting that the wizard-winger produced a magical finish (I really should stop this, I know: sorry Tom) into the top corner of the net. Soon after the Bay were awarded a freekick and Callum Patton scored, with the help from Mr Bossyboots Bannon.

Surely the Bay would go on to steamroll our near friends? Not exactly! The pitch became heavier as the night drew in... or maybe the players got tired from running through treacle for the last hour; basically, the busy Supermac and Kempster ran out of steam. As a result, chances were at a premium. Our French revolutionary (I certainly don't remember many French players in the Bay team...), Monsieur Charmey and Kyle were brought on and both brought more attacking purpose down the middle of the field. Despite some nearly-could-have-beens and almost-weres, it looked like the game was over and we could celebrate our first win in five games but the wind had the last laugh. A hopeful punt towards goal caught out Tom Flynn as the wind blew it onto the crossbow. The ball dropped onto the touchline and Hudson was on hand to slide it over the line. Not a great way for the Bay to end 2016 but the fight and determination is still there along with a good team spirit and desire to play football. Fingers crossed, the improvement continues in 2017.
Tom Potter was rightly awarded the h2o man of the match!

I would like to wish all my readers a Happy New Year and hope that 2017 treats us all well. Also thank you to all of you who are reading this as I am now averaging an incredible 300-400 readers per blog.
Haway the Bay!

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