Drop outs; panic attacks; vintage players returning and a handsome victory.

The usual for Sassco. 12 announced and then slowly whittled back to around 10 – but what a 10!

Before this, it was typical player-power rearing it’s head during the run up to the game. Most wanted to play up top, so I devised a 2-4-4 formation, but we eventually settled for 4-4-2, before changing it to 3-4-2. This was all done via Facebook Messenger I may add – the place where all Sassco tactics and team talks are done.

The game was against Sunderland Deaf FC (our regular Summer opponents) and we started with the 10 men. It was nearly 9 as early on when Whelam headbutted the still hard ground, and was seeing stars. He said his head was killing, but then proceeded to head every ball away throughout the game. Defence was a mix. First half it was Whelam, with McConville and Sangha playing quite deep and Cameron Thompson in goal. We expected a bit of an onslaught, but managed to keep hold of the ball when we had it. Defending deep and in numbers helped our pacey wingers (not forwards).

Talking of forwards; the front block of the team was oozing pace (albeit around ten years back), but now it was an increasingly increasing Harper (the child, not the father) who conned the opponents with his burst of pace. Prior to the game, he demanded that the team be built around him and also demanded a 2XL top. Unfortunately, we only had L and M, so by the end of the game, the one he wore was definitely stretched to a 2XL.

Scott Hembrough was his attacking partner but looked sluggish. Early in the second, he went off and we were back to ten men. He wasn’t injured, but dying for a shite. A few minutes later, he was back and more sprightly having taken a great weight off his mind. He was on top form and even managed to squeeze a through ball past Harper which was no mean feat itself.

The midfield duo was Gav Quinn and “The Spaniard”, Middlemiss, he with the receding, but flowing locks, both controlled the game. The fiery Middlemiss temper soon popped up, when he went in two-footed second half, but the follow up didn’t happen because he was out of pace and breath.

The genuine pace was on the flanks. Jack Curry “I smoke 20 tabs a day” and Ian Canavan both tore the opponents to pieces. First half we were against the wind and the slope of the pitch, but secured a magnificent 8 goals, despite conceding early. The last of the half, being a superb long range effort from Middlemiss, against the disastrous DFC ‘keeper, who was doing his best Marc McDermont impression.

Second saw a break in the clouds and a etheral light beam picked out Tommy Wilkinson, wandering towards the pitch, who answered my desperate SOS on Facebook – a place normally showing ugly kids eating food (usually smeared on their face), and some cunt in Gateshead sharing a missing person post from Houston, Texas. Tommy hadn’t kicked a ball in anger for Sassco since the mid 2000s, but slotted in perfectly on the flanks (allowing Scotty H to take a shite).

Not sure who got the goals. Scotty H got 1. Middlemiss scored 2, while Gavin Quinn got 4 or 5. Canavan and Curry both got the rest. However, Harper bagged a hat-trick, much to the inevitable anger from his dad, the real Tash, who never scored hat-tricks for me.