The enemy within strikes.
William Harper’s task as the newly installed Team Coach was to restrict the score to no more than eight goals. Admittedly, this was said in jest as we’ve had some bad hammerings from Northern League Shildon AFC in the past four Summers and I really wanted to come away with a respectable scoreline against new, but still, Northern League opponents. A goal would have been much appreciated, but it was too much to ask.
However, Harper’s biggest problem wasn’t the opponents or the long trek down to Bishop Auckland; it was actually in-fighting. Mainly from Nelly (who made zero impact throughout the game) as I made the controversial decision to have Stoker on the subs bench. My plan was to keep the line up as it was in the 12-4 win over Rutherford DFC. Harper’s suggestion was that I pick the side, perform a brief team talk and then over to the Tash. Stoker decided to get changed back into his civilian gear. As far as I was concerned, his brief one season stint with Sassco was over. As everyone should know by now, Sassco get through everything. Most people remember my refusal to back down to Greenwell, electing to play with ten players instead (and getting a draw).
First half saw West Auckland control most of the game, but we conceded from some errors. Two came directly from Muers as he was easily sidestepped or misjudged the headers. The others came from Si being beaten on the right hand side. Another one might have come from a deflection from McConville. Nevertheless, Auckland gave us a bit of a lesson. It was 5-0 in their favour when the half time whistle went.
It was at half time when the whinging went into overdrive. Nelly started waffling on and Stoker complained on why he was sub. I explained to them in no uncertain terms told anyone who isn’t happy to can easily join the alleged queue of other teams lined up waiting for them. Harper settled things down and explained that the reason why the score is the way it is is that our level and theirs is quite different. Encouragement was the key. Second half saw Stoker stripped and ready for the game. He came on a few minutes after the second half whistle and gave away a penalty.
Only two further goals went in during the second and the final score was a reasonably respectable 8-0.