Sunday, 25 February 2018

25th February 2018 - Seaham Red Star (h)


The events of Tuesday night have dominated everyone's conversations yet very little information was coming out from our illustrous leader: Mr McIlduff. The fans of various clubs chipped in with their own thrupenny bit on how the Bay fans should react but none of it was surprisingly helpful. 
Thanks to the miracles of social media I learnt several things:

1. Whitley Bay fans are too meek for their own good
2. Being the social media officer is a doddle.
3. I can @£$% off to France.

As the night wore on, things went from bad to worse. First of all we lost our complete management team to our friends in North Shields. Nashy's frustration at the lack of incoming players to replace Alex Kempster, Robo and Thibault along with issues such as the state of the pitch finally came to a head. Mr and Mrs Twitter followed, although both were at the game today filling in their roles along with Mr Video. 
I have nothing but respect for all the above parties as I do for all those who give up their time for the club that we all hold so dear.
Nashy and co had given us hope when we had little and the team they built is full of potential and only lacking in size and experience. 
Mr Twitter has made our social media the best in the league, IMHO, but all this takes time and can only be done on love for the club for so long. Both he and Mrs Twitter have a young daughter to think of, who regularly gets dragged to games and is a credit to them both, allowing them to help the club they love. This can only be done for so long and while good friends have been entertaining her, Hillheads isn't exactly the most exciting place for the young. It is to their credit that both were still at their posts yesterday, with Little Twitter in tow. 
Mr Video has found it tough to maintain the high standards of coverage he has set himself and the pressures of university coursework has meant the bay highlights have had to give way.

My own call was for the volunteers to go on strike until we were presented with information by the powers-that-be but then it was easy for me to say...I'm not a volunteer. Entering the ground, it was obvious that the response from the volunteers was to stand by the club in their time of need and with hindsight, that was the best thing to do. However, it was disappointing to see the planned supporters forum was cancelled. It would have been the perfect opportunity for McIlduff to come out and be straight with the fans. If he expects people to support him, he needs to be honest. It is no secret that the club is struggling with a big debt but if he came out and levelled with people then they would feel valued and a part of the club. As it is, all the fans who travel every week, the volunteers who give up their time are forever reliant on rumours and titbits. Not the way to bring togetherness! 

McIlduff: be honest!
We want to support! 
We care!

As it was, the second best attendance in the Northern League (267 compared to Consett's 376) turned out to see if there was life after Nash. Even our illustrious neighbours, with their management team couldn't beat us on this Sunny but cold afternoon. 
Smile, even though you're heart is breaking!
The celebrity couple of Bob and Moira joined me behind the goal as did Pogo Patterson, who was the only member of flag club to erect his flags. A fine effort, sir! The rumours that Barry was to be named up front turned out to be false, thankfully. Instead, we were delighted to see the Juracell Bunny, Scott Jasper had been recalled from his exile in Ryton. 
The pitch itself looked in good condition, thanks to a rolling that had flattened things down. Maybe it had been the lack of rain towards the end of the week and the drying effect of the cold winds but had it really been so hard to roll it before? 
Looking okay, actually!

Sadly, the lads started slowly and with four minutes gone, Flynn was beaten by the head of Codie Howe. Not the start that Gavin Hattrick and Gareth Wiliams, in charge of the Bay for the day, wanted.  things got worse when Matty Cornish had to go off, to be replaced by kyle Patton. There was also bad news for one of the members of the crowd, rumoured to be Bay legend Andy Gowens, as his windscreen was smashed by an off-target ball. The rumours that it was payback for having been assistant manager of North Shields were way off the mark and unhelpful.
Despite plenty of posssesion, there were few chances. The first two came from the boot of Peter 'the Raven' Hill. His first slamming just wide and his second forcing giant keeper Jordan Harkess into a super one-handed save. 

There was a flat atmosphere as the first half ended so I decided to ask for the help of the Wise Worm of Whitley. He promised to make sure his army of fellow worms would do their best to make sure the ball bounced favourably for the Bay boys. 
The Wise Worm of Whitley!
Into the second half and whether it was the Wise Worm or the wise words of Gavin and Gareth, we may never know but there was an extra step in the Bay players. Every 50-50 ball went the Bay way and there was great effort from all over the pitch. Ross Wilkinson was on form and kept popping up to close down the Seaham forwards whenever they threatened. It was arguably the Prof who came up with the best attack of the second half when he charged out of defence to win another 50-50 before beating two players. Unfortunately, his shot flew over the crossbar.

For all the pressure the Bay had, the visiting defence was well marshalled and kept them at bay. There were few clear cut chances and when they managed to break through, Harkess was there. With all the action around the visiting goal, it was inevitable that the visitors would get a chance on the break and so it proved, Seaham scoring in the 93rd minute to seal the three points. Thomas Scott, a second half substitute, the scorer. 
2-0 at the final whistle was no disgrace and the lads had deserved so much more. They had battled but simply failed to get that vital touch to score. The Wise Worm of Whitley had not been much help, sadly.
To rub salt into Whitley wounds, Nash and Co's Shields team had recovered from 5-2 down to win 
6-5 in the 93rd minute. Jarrow Roofing were the recipiants. 

Sunday, 11 February 2018

10th February 2018 - Jarrow Roofing (h)

La Roi a parti! J'étais très triste! Oh lala, comment peux-je continuer? Au revoir et Merci Thibault. 

Suffice to say I was gutted, the French maestro would no longer be gracing the bowling green pitch that is Hillheads in a Bay shirt. No more Gallic overhead kicks to enjoy. The travelling was getting to him so now we have to move on: I need to move on.
As a tribute to him, here is his last piece of overhead brilliance at Hillheads...

My first job was to resign from Flag Club, although I will serve as an honourary president: even though I will no longer be regularly erecting my flag! My attention can now be totally focussed on videoing all the Bay goal action...of which I was hoping for plenty against third from bottom Jarrow. I was to be slightly disappointed on that front.

An hour before kick off, I was joined by the inimitable Silly Andrew:

                                               Ready for the Lens game! courtesy of Silly Videos

 We watched the first half of the Derby du Nord: Lens v Valenciennes before setting off to enjoy the entertainment at Hillheads.
A delayed departure thanks to these lovely ladies!
courtesy of Silly Photography

 Slightly delayed by Andrew's insistence on feeding my chickens first, we arrived just in time to see Dennis Knight head Jarrow ahead after three minutes. Considering Lens were losing 1-0 when we left home, this was not promising to be a good afternoon. Things went from bad to worse seven minutes later when Liam Anderson put the Roofers 2-0 up. Me and football were not getting on very well!
Standing with the battling duo Bob and Moira, we were delighted to be celebrating six minutes when Liam the Brookster drove home via the remaining blades of grass left in the penalty area.

Despite the goal, the lads were struggling to make more of an impact on the game and sadly, it was former Bay midfield supremo, Lee Kerr who was running things for Jarrow like a majestic matador in a bog.
Silly Andrew became distracted:

And so did I:
If the match isn't up to scratch you can always read the programme!
courtesy of Silly Photography

A halftime tea with a Cola bottle to dunk was needed.

It was good to see that despite my tricoleur's absence, Pogo Patterson was still flying his flags. Disappointingly, the other lads were missing for their second home match in a row. Serious words will be forthcoming...maybe.
The lads had probably had the right idea staying away as the bald maestro Kerr put the Roofers 3-1 ahead. This prompted a domestic argument between Bob and Moira. Bob complaining about the entertainment and Moira telling him he could go home if he wanted but he'd still have to come back to pick her up cause she wasn't leaving. GO MOIRA!
At the other end, Flynn was onhand to beat another Jarrow shot away. This was threatening to get embarrassing. That was until The Raven replaced Brooksy. Swooping onto a Cornish corner, Peter the Raven from the Hill's header looped over the Jarrow keeper. 3-2 and game on!

Bob was happy again and I began singing, admittedly quite quietly and to myself: "We're going to win 4-3.
For the last 20 minutes, the lads played some great football but we didn't win...or even draw 3-3. Another defeat 4-2 so Bob left muttering. Hopefully I'll see Bob and Moira on Tuesday. The pitch had cut up badly after all the winter weather but as I was informed, the away pitches the lads have won on recently have been just as bad. Volunteers were asked for, the following day,  to help put divots back in the pitch (apologies I forgot), so let's hope there will be an improvement on Tuesday night.
The real reason for the state of the pitch....they come out when no-one is looking!

Sunday, 4 February 2018

30th January 2018 - Penrith (h) NL Cup -3

I love Cup Games and the chance to reach the quarter finals of a competition the Bay hadn't won since Christopher Columbus discovered / invaded America (ooh political banter for the watering hole there) meant that I would be able to forget about the West Auckland defeat in the Vase - it still hurts.
There was sad news for me though, as the workosaurus Scottie Jasper was due to head out to Ryton on loan. The Juracell Bunny will be missed for his willingness to slog away and put his head to anything that moved. Can't wait to see him back in a Bay shirt with a few more games under his belt. Good luck Scottie! It was a nice touch to see him start the match up front with the in-form and vastly improved Liam Brooksoraptor.
Defeat on Saturday to Dunston was also hard to take since it has been our home performances that have let us down all season. Seven away wins on the trot have been great but for those fans who don't get to many away games, there hasn't been that much to cheer at home. Go on tell me, it's my own fault...whatever! Surely the pitch has to take some blame and makes you wonder how come the likes of North Shields manage to keep a pristine pitch in January and ours is knackered the first week of October. What's the point of having talented ball players when the pitch isn't up to scratch?
Just an opinion.
Thankfully the pitch wasn't looking too bad tonight!
I was on my own as the lads were having work issues and couldn't play out but thankfully Bob and Moira were there to provide the banter. Setting up is getting a longer process with my camera and flag to deal with so the aforementioned B and M enjoyed laughing as I laboured away: thanks! A labour of love it surely is.
I was already in a mood because the not-so-mighty RC Lens had just at home for the second time in a row 1-0...I was praying tonight wasn't going to be a repeat!
A quiet, and frankly dull, first half was mostly dominated by Whitley but there hadn't been any real chances until Thibault performed some of his usual acrobatics to hit the post. That, really was your first half lot.
There was half time excitement when it turned out that Tommy'sTea Emporium had had an extra feature....a punter-cover! Wow. Just try on rain on us, now! It was sick! (That's good apparently in yoof-talk)
Mr Twitter ably models the benefits of the punter-cover while a
punter stays dry in the background as he is served by the
 wonderful Mrs Twitter! Cola Bottle Queen.
There was extra excitement when the Bobster revealed (actually Moira did) that he too shares my enjoyment of dunked cola bottles...give it a go: you never know!
The second half started with the Bay piling forward with much more gusto and fervour. Once again the  Bay's luck was out as Kempster cracked a long-ranger off the bar. It was looking ominous, despite Moira's assertions that "We were going to score in a minute." 
Just three minutes later, lady luck was once again teasing with our heart strings as Kempster once again hit the post, this time with a flicked header, then the ball ended up at the feet of  Kyle Patton who blazed over. Penalties were a certainty!
For the full penalty shootout you can head for my facebook page:
Surfice to say, the Bay lost 4-3 on pens and I was thoroughly sickened. The lads had had the chances in the second half but it wasn't to be. There is now only the fight to finish has high as possible  (as long as we don't finish 1st or 2nd). The main priority has to be now to keep this team together for next season and that is going to be the main challenge for Nashy and Woody. Get praying!

PS the following day, it got worse as Christien Eriksen of some team called Tottenham, no I've never heard of them, stole Paul Chow's record of the quickest goal at the new Wembley by scoring after 11 seconds: git!