Tuesday, 8 May 2018

8th May 2018 - Newcastle Benfield (h)

The end of a season always conjures many emotions, this year it was one of great sadness as we said goodbye to one of the Bay's most loyal supporters. Before the kick off, there was a minute's applause for Allan Barkas who had passed away a few days earlier. Allan had always been a regular at the Bay matches, with his wife Ann, and I have had the pleasure of many conversations with them both over the years. Allan loved his football, and especially the Bay, and our conversations were always enjoyable. He was also a friend on Facebook and no matter what I posted in my life, you could guarantee that Allan would like it: whether it was football trips abroad, gigs attended, music liked and photos of family outings. He was interested in everybody and everything: a true gent. The applause was a fitting tribute to a genuine man, who would  be sorely missed.
For most, supporting the Bay is like having an extra family so in her time of sadness, Ann had those 'family members' around her....and that included the players who ran to comfort her at the final whistle.
RIP Allan: your spirit will live with us through our many happy memories of you.

c/o Whitley Bay fc Twitter

The match didn't get off to the start that any of us would have liked when Paul Brayson scored for Benfield. I was only making my way around the ground when the ball hit the back of the net. I was also still walking around when Jasper's effort at the end was ruled out for offside. Lady luck was still not smilling on us.
I found myself getting annoyed at the Benfield fans who had positioned themselves at the side and were applauding and praising the linesman for every decision that went their way. It must have been the hot weather getting to me.
I eventually arrived behind the goal. There, I joined Gibbo, Claire and Gibbo's daughter, who wanted to be known as 'The Chosen One'. She was obviously the only one who chose to join him in the Hillheads sun.

Hillhead's new feature....the wild meadow.
Completely ignored by Chris....

.....but not by ourselves. Real men wear dandelions!
There was joy for the home fans, however in the 23rd minute when Callum Johnston slammed home the equaliser.

One of the criticisms of Andy Gowen's new era is that he hasn't been very positive towards the players with little encouragement for the players. This was amply demonstrated by his reaction to the goal. Instead of shouting out "Well done!" or "Great strike!", The Bald-Eagled One cried out:
"Remember where that came from!"
I'm not sure the players understood this comment any more than we did but it's a useful cry for all of us... in all aspects of life.

As half time approached the game exploded into life. Firstly, the Bay's James Proctor had to clear off his own goalline then Peter 'the Raven' saved the day with a fantastic tackle and clearance. Callum J was then sent racing towards goal with Bay players either side of him but Benfield's defence brought him down and the freekick came to nothing. Juracell and CJ (Callum Johnston...looking for a nickname here) were terrorising the Benfield defence and with a bit more luck, might have had a hatful.

At the other end, Thomas Flynn managed a trademark flying one-handed save as both goals led a charmed life.

In the second half, great work from the Juracell bunny ended up with Callum J hitting the post then 'the Raven's' follow up flew over the bar.

Benfield had their own effort and luckily, Callum Anderson was on hand to off Flynn's line. Unfortunately, it was a familiar story in the final few minutes. Benfield scored two goals to give them the win. 3-1 seemed extremely harsh for the Bay. If Allan B had been watching this, I'm sure he would have said there was always next season. Here's hoping!

At the end of season presentation, the following players picked up awards:
Player of the season - Tom Flynn
Players Player of the season - Tom Flynn
Supporters Club Player of the season - Peter Glen-Ravenhill
Top scorer - Tom Potter
Young Player of the season - Aiden Haley
Goal of the season - Tom Potter (v Ryhope CW)

End of season review to follow...when the dust has settled.

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