Pearson battling for the ball. Even his fiercest critics are surprised that he's still staying with Sassco after a three-game appearance.

The traffic beats the Tash, and a 5-1 defeat.

Sassco traditionally had a huge pre-season programme – sometimes up to 10 games. We usually played higher level teams, but always enjoyed the road trips. Report as below:

On a busy Saturday afternoon, both main routes into Cramlington from our side of the county were struggling with road works. I chose both the wrong routes there and back. Travelling there we got stuck on the Tyne Tunnel traffic. On the way back, the poxy Sat Nav took us on to the A1. Nelly went AWOL and we were also lacking Dave Graham, Mark Muers and Dave Gourlay, Titch Conlin from the regular set up. Marky Mark made a return, but just about everyone else was there from the previous hammering off West Auckland Town FC.

First error occurred when I drove into the kid’s playground and parked next to the swings. Simma (aka Driving Miss David Simpson), as expected, followed me. We eventually got to the car park of the Samms Centre. The centre was quite impressive – not too different from the changing areas at Northumbria Centre. We did have the unfortunate sight of Macca’s excuse for a penis in the changing rooms. Langan and Stoker both exclaimed, “How the f**k do you f**k with that?” Macca’s reply was that he wasn’t too bothered and that he’s learned to live with his inadequacies. The second error was that Harper was missing. We were now around ten minutes away from kick off. I just assumed he’d got sick of the whole show and dropped out. I spent around one minute on tactics in the team talk and around five minutes slagging him off, only for him to ring and say that he thought it was a 3:00pm kick off. Eventually, the traffic beat the Tash back to Sunderland.

Stoker turns away as the ball was poked into the Newcastle BT goal for Sassco's equaliser.

With Tash obviously not going to show for kick off, me and Gourlay hastily put together the team (Gourlay was injured, but there for moral support). Stoker was plonked in attack from the off. Newcastle BT looked impressive. They are in a higher standard than ourselves, but finished near the foot of the lower division in the Northern Alliance (that’s the League, not the pre-Iraq War rebels in the north part of Iraq). Still, they would be classed the same as a strong Premier opponent for us.

It seemed to show as they had some decent chances in the opening moments. They eventually scored, but from kick off, Macca put Stoker through to equalise. From then on it was an even game. Our left hand side was weak. An “injured” (that’s what he claims) Dixon and Macca faled to stop the opponents putting in good crosses. A lot of it was a simple lack of marking and sticking tight to the opponents. We soon leaked two easy goals. The team was in a bit of disarray. Questions were being asked by the players as a change was obviously needed, “What’s happening on the sidelines?” someone said to Dave Gourlay, to which he replied, “Well, Dov’s taking photos….”

Langan's lucrative and dream move to Sassco is turning into a nightmare as he's firing blanks on and off the pitch.

Changes were made. McConville who was ineffective and deserved his “Fancy Dan” label was moved from centre mid to centre half. Marky replaced him. Digga and Macca were also switched. Macca was inept on the left hand side, despite assisting with Stoker’s goal. He didn’t give much help to Dixon, who spent the game kicking the ball to the opponents.

The changes didn’t do too much. Within minutes, they were 4-1 up with a simple through ball. Eventually they got another and it was 5-1. After this, I came on to replace Dixon and the team immediately received a lift. No more goals were leaked. I can’t take all the credit, as Simpson pulled off some excellent stops throughout the ninety minutes. I went up for a corner in the last minute, but was thwarted by the ‘keeper when a goal was certain.

Stoker leaps for the ball with Campbell and Farquhar watching on.

A good day out. Traffic was a bugger, but the Tash’s complaint that we need more local games is quite insular. He needs to realise that Sassco go out far and wide to promote the name. Sort yourself out Tash and give your head a shake. The pitch was quite hard, but the venue was excellent (in my opinion). The weather was also excellent. A bad result though, but mind you, I got some good photos of the airplanes and trains.

“Dov did well,” quotes Michael Pearson. ” We need experience like him in the team. These young-un’s like Campbell and Mulvaney haven’t got a clue.”

“If he came on earlier, I think the score would be reduced. Bad mistake keeping Dixon on as long as he was. I’m not sure having Harper as the coach is the right choice. Sangha’s team talk; especially the section where he slagged Harper off, was poetic.” said Gourlay.

“Suck us off…” said Stoker.