Sunday, 5 February 2017

5th February 2017 - Bishop Auckland (h)

The lads really hadn't been given their just desserts. They had been finding life tough of late and despite some great play at times, that holy grail of a win was still elusive. Having missed the 4-0 win at Chester-le-Street on Jan 3rd, the Boy Mark and I were desperate to see our first win since November 19th. On the plus side, this young but talented team had continued to show spirit, the last example of which was recovering from being 4-1 down away to Ryhope CW to draw 4-4.
Flat pitch - free of divots. Rollered? 
Today the visitors were high-flying Bishop Auckland so those less optimistic members of the Bay fraternity were a tad fearful coming into the ground. On the supporting side, there was a reunion as our pal Mr Stato, along with Mrs Stato, returned for their first game for ages from stage left and like an American sitcom from stage right appeared the elusive Bob and Moira with the continuation of their tantalising tales of happy retirement. After the pleasantries and welcomes back had been said it was down to the serious business: the pitch. It looked in pretty good nick we thought: at least at our end. Well done Groundoman! (Or woman)
not happy!
The game kicked off at a typical Northern League pace and rhythm and it was obvious that the lads were not going to let Bishops have things their own way. Desperate to avoid falling behind this week, bodies were being flung at every shot and every ball was being keenly contested. Bishops were in the ascendancy however as the Bay struggled to find their rhythm going forward.
It was great to see Robbo back muscling his way up front and Little Patton was looking bright and confident on the break. However, it was the brightly coloured Bishops, and their tango'd goalkeeper, who took the lead when a backpass to Flynn was completely missed as it bobbled over his foot and Andre Bennett was on hand to score into the empty net. Bobbly pitch?
However another game of pinball ended up with the ball at Robbo's feet and he took his time to calmly slot the ball past Scott 'Orange Tango' Pocklington who was not happy.
But Bishops held the sway so Haley and the Prof were constantly being called into action. My favourite clearance was Haley's header that saw him end up on his knees with the ball still bouncing around him so he dived forward from his kneeling position to head clear. He repeated the trick a few minutes later but this time from a standing position as the pressure mounted.
With half time looming, it was the Bay who had the last shout when a Thibault cross found Kempster whose effort was spectacularly saved. Mr Twitter was on hand to inform me that it was a great save. Thank goodness: I would never have realised!

Into the second half and it was more of the same: Bishops pressing and the Bay hitting on the break. A long ball saw Robbo racing towards Bishops' Tangoman and when the orange one met the ball first it struck Robbo then past the stranded keeper who had to dive at the Bay goalmachine's feet as he shaped to shoot. Penalty shouts were had by all!
Not happy #2
A tackle from Thibault on the Bay's left hand touchline saw the Frenchman booked and Bishops temporarily down to ten men. The Bay took advantage of this and took the lead. Kyle Patton's trickery and cross saw him slide the ball across the box for the Kempstervator to just beat a defender to slot home from two (maybe three) yards. The Bay fans went...wild.

As a result of that goal we were able to post our entry to the Bay's Twitter competition to see pictures of smiling Bay fans. Fingers crossed our effort is received favourably as a place in an upcoming twitter matchday post was at stake.
For the Bishops, the unfortunate Stuart Thompson had to be helped around the outside of the pitch by two visiting officials.
The Bay surged forward as confidence returned to their ranks and Elder Patton had a great freekick that clattered the bar while sub Liam Brooks showed some great skill to create himself space but his attempted shot found the Aldi car park (sort of).

At the final whistle we were delighted to have finally seen a rare victory, 2-1, against one of the top five teams. Also pleasing was a 283 crowd: good considering those funny black and white people were playing to a sellout crowd in the big Toon. Whisper it but the Bay maybe on the up again!

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