3-0 down. Simma the Legend, McConville the Hero, Stoker the Albanian.
An away trip up North to Geordie Land. The Tyne Tunnel was closed, so it was the long way around. Paul Mc had Stoker and Gourlay, I had three, Simma had three. We were facing Forest Hall again. Last Summer, we somehow came away with a 3-2 win, despite intense pressure from a good team.
The game itself? Well, what a turnaround. 3-0 down and seemingly dead and buried against a bunch of youthful whippets. It didn’t seem to be Sassco’s day. The 4-5-1 formation failed, mainly because both Gourlay and Dave Graham didn’t support Titch in attack.
The team was strong enough, with only Langan, Dixon and Emu missing. Even though the first half was disjointed, the team limited Forest Hall’s chances in a scrappy game. Macca had a “dummy out” moment as he continued his poor form from the last game. We conceded two quick goals in the opening and failed to get an momentum going. The game also flared up with both Stoker and Graham complaining to the referee about bad challenges. Stoker was incensed as their number 8 was winding him up. The referee (who was a stand in ref) threatened to abandon the game at one stage.
Recently updated comments on YouTube show that Forest Hall clearly haven’t got over this defeat and use colourful language to describe Gareth Stoker.
The two goals were poorly conceded, but a third was nearly given. Marky Mark slotted in for Stoker (who wanted to come off) but was put into a difficult position and gave a penalty away. Simma saved it. Simma was a true legend in this game. He made so many saves it’s hard to count them. He kept the opponents at bay until we decided to get back into it. Well done, Simma.
Second half we went back to 4-4-2. Dave Graham partnered Titch up front. Tim went left wing and Nelly on the right. Campbell slotted in as left back. They still scored. The game was at 3-0 and it looked lost.
Then the comeback. Gourlay put away a penalty and the confidence was up. Ten minutes later, we’d scored five goals. By now, Stoker had come on in attack with Dave Graham. The second goal for Sassco came quickly from Nelly and instantly we gained a third when McConville, who had a brilliant game, scored to seal the comeback. We weren’t finished. Dave Graham and Stoker both leapt for a header from Nelly’s pin point cross and Graham got the goal. 4-3 and then even better: 5-3. Stoker’s Brazilian / Albanian skills saw the ball roll from his nose to his leg. He flicked it and struck a piledriver. I was so gobsmacked that I didn’t manage to get it on camera. I was just staring in disbelief like all the players on the pitch.
By this time, Titch was itching to come on. He did but immediately gave the ball away and got a bollocking. Forest Hall reduced the arrears to 5-4. But Titch justified his return and scored a fine goal where he turned the opponent inside and out. Stoker actually set up McConville’s goal and Titch’s goal.
This has got to be one of our most memorable victories and games. Thank God it’s all on camera. As mentioned, I missed Stoker’s goal mind you.
Quotes attributed to the players after the game*:
“Sangha was inspirational. His half time team talk was mind bending and we immediately set out and fulfilled his instructions. He’s a great person.” Marc McDermont.
“Dov’s the reason why I play football. Nothing better than playing for Sassco.” Neil Richardson.
“If Dov says I’m wasted at left back, then I’m wasted at left back. He knows the players to the last detail and everyone should respect him.” Dave Gourlay.
*These quotes are not guaranteed to be accurate.