3 Fulwell Blue Bell 1.

Sassco at their best. A set of up and down games over the last twenty years, but this one was one of the better ones against one of the strongest team at the time. The photo gallery is at the bottom, with my never to be beaten Konica Dimage camera. The report starts….

An outstanding result and performance. One of our best, and definitely the best this season.

Dave Graham launches a free-kick past Coyney.

I expected a full fourteen there. But being Sassco, everything good tends to turn to shite now and then. Very disappointed and surprised with the drop outs. We were missing Macca, Lewis, Stoker and Greenwell. I subsequently discovered that Greenwell was in Blackpool and did send me a text, but I didn’t get it. Lewis, when answering his phone, said he was in the town and would be there for kick off. The players were offering me bets that he wouldn’t turn up and I’m glad I didn’t bet against them. True to form – just like a couple of times before, he dropped me in it. I’ll have to class him as a non-regular player now as it’s too difficult for me not to see players I expect to be there. Macca did say he was working and would be there for the second half. So I assume work took over. I had that covered. Stoker also failed to show despite saying he was okay for it. I’ve just found out (via text) that he was out on the lash and didn’t wake up until after 1:00pm today. Not good. I need regulars. In place, I had Mickey Pearson and also Stubba, but instead of the two or three subs I expected – it was only me. Ironically, Anth Pearson texted me asking how many we had. I told him 14, but not to quote me on it. How true to form.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it's Fulwell Blue Bell clearing their lines. Gourlay and the Horrible Stubba in the backgroundnd

So the drop outs against our strongest opponents. Premier League Fulwell Blue Bell, who’d only been beaten once this season and walked our Division last season. It was going to be a battle, but I barely saw any of the first half as I was stuck in Blair Witch Forest looking for a ball for around thirty minutes with no luck. Before I forget, a big thanks to Paul, Team Secretary Bri’s son. Always there for most games and helping out retrieving the ball and carrying the gear. Much appreciated.

Emu laughs off Yatesy comments about him being "Fat, old and bald" and Rob King gets dismissed in extra time

Anyway, back to the game. I heard the Fulwell roar, which meant they were 1-0 up. I heard that Emu was claiming offside for his own ineptitude and Yatesy (of all people) had time to slot past Simma. We had it all to do and we didn’t half work hard. I’m really pleased we don’t have to play teams like Fulwell each week. Too much hard work, but we put it in and had some odd chances. Dave Graham was bruised, bloodied and dominant in the middle, suffering his fair share of tackles and eventually winning the Man-of-the-match award. I joked that Dave Graham was anonymous last week when Emu grabbed all the glory in our 12-0 win, but joking aside prior to the game, we both agreed that it was in these games, against superior opponents, that it all counts. Dave Gourlay was always there for the ball and did wonders with it. Flanking them were Stubba and Mickey Pearson. Both played superb, but it was the back line which was particularly excellent. Si, Emu, Dixon and Tim (they don’t like his posh sort round these parts) were strong in the tackle and were no nonsense. Dixon, in particular was very strong in the air as Emu was struggling (like I said he would do last week) late in the game and was even wallowing about in the mud like a shot hippopotamus. Ironically, he got the ball and cleared it when he was on his arse. Simpson was at his best and seems to getting more and more aggressive each week. I’m sure he’ll start using swear words soon. He clawed many a ball out of the air against a very tall team and was battered himself on occasions.

Simma and Rob King on a corner. Swinhoe jogs back after calmly scoring the equaliser in the last five minutes

We needed a goal – desperately. Being a pessimist and also having the pleasure of hearing Dixon call me a “tumour” I didn’t expect one to come. A goalmouth scramble saw their ‘keeper save from point blank range. I expected that to be it, but both Swinhoe and Cresswell were outstanding and never gave up. They got their reward as Swinhoe looped the ball over the goalkeeper with around five minutes remaining. Swinhoe had a good running contest with Rob King. Actually, it’s a genuine case of Swinhoe being Rob’s “mini-me.” No more goals were scored so extra time was called for. However, we were trying to persuade the referee to toss a coin or call penalties.

Dave Graham and Marc Stephenson. Both had an absorbing running battle throughout the game.

There was pandemonium in the Fulwell side during the break as both King’s nearly came to blows with each other. Most of us hid behind our subs bench expecting a line of Blue Bell players to storm across the pitch causing carnage. They seemed to be collapsing into chaos. Simply for Sassco to take them to extra time seemed to be like a defeat and early in the restart, Swinhoe played Cresswell in and he made no mistake. Fulwell claimed offside and eventually Rob King was dismissed for swearing at the referee. Immediately after this, Yates had two stunning chances for Fulwell. One was wide and the other hit the crossbar. The luck was on our side for a change and before the extra time half, Swinhoe again put Cresswell through and Sassco were 3-1 ahead. The game petered out in the end as Yatesy was struggling and after a long stoppage, the referee blew for the end of the game.

So, a very impressive performance. Disappointed with the drop outs so will probably re-evaluate the regular squad. There are good players out there such as Jamie Wilson who haven’t been called on due to me expecting everyone else to be there. But the downside is well overshadowed by our outstanding win.

Oh…and I got the missing ball back as well. pictured before the game. Standing (from left to right) are Brian Watson (Team Secretary), Chris Dixon, Simon Mulvaney, David Graham, Mark Muers, David Simpson and Davinder Sangha (Manager). In front (from left to right) are Steve Stubbs, Andy Swinhoe, Michael Pearson, Dave Gourlay, Mark Cresswell and Tim Gillespie. pictured before the game. Standing (from left to right) are Brian Watson (Team Secretary), Chris Dixon, Simon Mulvaney,
David Graham, Mark Muers, David Simpson and Davinder Sangha (Manager). In front (from left to right) are Steve Stubbs, Andy Swinhoe,
Michael Pearson, Dave Gourlay, Mark Cresswell and Tim Gillespie.

Community North Sports Complex
Wearmouth Cup 3 Andy Swinhoe, Mark Cresswell 2
Fulwell Blue Bell 1 Dave Simpson, Tim Gillespie, Chris Dixon, Simon Mulvaney, Mark Muers, Michael Pearson, Stephen Lewis, Steve Stubbs, Dave Gourlay, Dave Graham*, Andy Swinhoe, Mark Cresswell.