Friday, 20 November 2009
We received a nice friendly welcome as we entered the ground 10 minutes before kick-off, and after getting a nice cheese burger from the food hut, we ventured round to the opposite side of the ground behind the dugouts.
Despite the volume of games called off on the night, and the fact that this was one of the league's biggest derby games, there was a distinctly low turn out for the game. Many may have been deterred by the weather forecast, but the night was nice, and the pitch was perfect for football.
The opening period of play was frantic, with both teams looking to make an early breakthrough. Marske had the best of the early chances, but they couldn't break the deadlock. Fine saves from both keepers-and the Guisborough Woodwork, kept the score at 0-0. With 30 minutes on the clock, the Guisborough centre forward went down in the penalty area without any contact been made. Despite strong appeals, the referee was having none of it, and waved everyone away. If anything, the Guisborough lad was lucky not to get booked for diving!
The rest of the first half seemed to disappear slowly into nothing, and when the half time whistle came, despite Marske been firmly on top, it looked like a strong possibility we were going to see extra time!
A short walk around the ground at half time to get a cup of tea stretched the legs a bit, though it was more just to pass the time waiting for the teams to come back out.
Whatever the Guisborough manager said to his lads at Half time certainly paid off. Pressure was piled on the Marske defence from the whistle. It wasn't long either before the deadlock was broken, when a Glen Butterworth strike from outside the box found its way in after maybe a very slight deflection. This gave the away side massive impetuous, and it was not long later before it was 2, when another long range strike, this time from Michael James crept just inside the post.
Marske weren't going to let things go though, and another effort hit the woodwork, and before the night was out, they hit the frame of the goal for the fourth time, which summed up there night.
The handbags did come out as expected, although the first incident went unpunished. The second incident inside the Marske box was seen clearly by referee Richard Brine, and Guisborough were awarded a penalty, with the Marske left back escaping with a yellow card, despite appearing to elbow or punch his opponent in the back of the head. However, a magnificent save from the Marske keeper kept them in it.
This proved to be in vain however, as Guisborough held on to go through to the next round of the E.A. Cup.
Monday, 2 November 2009
A bitter cold evening at Bedford Terrace provided for some half-decent entertainment as Billingham Synthonia snatched their first derby win since 2005.
Manchester United played in Moscow the other week, with sub-zero temperatures. Well, now I know how they felt...sort of!! It was bitter cold in Billingham tonight, probably the same anywhere you went, and the November air started to hint that winter is upon us. Walking into the ground a whole 30 minutes before kick off, we managed to get a programme and make our way nicely around to behind one of the goals. The programme provided excellent pre-match entertainment, with the Goalkeeper quiz proving to be too difficult for us. I got 3 right, which was more than any of the others did. The next bold choice to make was to make a pre-match visit to the canteen, where I indulged in a warming "Cup of Soup". Our exit from the tea hut was timed perfectly, as I bumped into a familiar face from a previous game, and as we walked back to our spot behind the goal, we began catching up on all that had happened in the last two months.
As the players made their way out from the tunnel, an enthusiastic young "fan" close to me shouted "Come on Billingham!" Obvious who he was supporting then...
The opening 10 minutes provided no real openings for either side. Much of the play was centred around the middle of the pitch, and when the ball did venture deep into the last third of the pitch, it was swiftly cleared. The first half chance of the game came in the 15th minute, when Synners Nathan Jameson cross from the left eluded everyone, and somehow found its way into the back of the net. It wasn't long though until town hit back. Three minutes later, Stephen Flockett found himself with time and space in the box, and his curling effort passed the helpless Synners keeper to make it 1-1.
Synners were the team who looked more likely to take the lead, and some lackluster Town defending made you wonder how long it would take for this to come. Half way through the half, another Synners effort hit the side netting, and a corner soon after from the left sees another good chance go begging.
With 10 minutes left before half time, Town broke away. This risky situation left a Synners defender no choice obviously but to rugby tackle his opponent. Some optimistic cries of "OFF, OFF, OFF" from the home support were not met by referee Khatib, and the offending player walked away with a caution. The resulting free kick almost saw Town draw level, with the shot just whiskers away.
Half time arrived, and the usual entertainment of watching the subs warm up provided mild entertainment, and it was easy to see why they were on the bench!!
I delayed my Half time venture to the tea hut until the beginning of the second half. Despite coming away with a tasty steak burger, this proved to be a vital mistake, as I missed Jameson's second goal against his former club. More aggressive fouls went in left, right and centre; showing how much this game meant to the players.
The game seemed to be fizzling out, with few chances been created by either team. I was starting to think whether my 3-1 Synners win prediction would come true, and just as I was talking about it...GOAL!!! Danny Earl pounced on a weak back pass and a slip from the Town keeper- whom he duly rounded, and slotted home to give Synners a two goal cushion. With just 5 minutes left on the clock, a free kick from the left hand side was headed across goal. With the Synners keeper nowhere to be seen, Stephen Flockett flew in and scrambled home to grab his second of the game, also against his former club.
Despite the late goal, Town just didn't seem to have it in them to push for the equaliser, and it was the away fans celebrating their first derby win since 2005. That was also the year England last won the Ashes before winning them again this year. Maybe something in it?!?
An interesting fact as well from the game. I was aware that all the Synthonia goals were scored by former players, and have found out that all the goals on the night were scored by players against there old club! There's one for a future pub quiz. (Thanks to Paulo on NLZ for that.)
All the best to Synners in the next round!!!