The team selfie before the game. One player was missing so he was Photoshopped in - try and guess...

The Harpers return and both last a full game (nearly).

Our O35’s 11-a-side adventure ended in a whimper, so it was good to be invited to a full 90 minute session against the Sunderland Deaf AFC team a week later.

The side was mixed, and when I say “mixed” I really mean it. Up popped the Young Tash, John Harper looking like he’d been stealing all the pies delivered to Muers’ house before they reached his front door. Shockingly, The Tash returned as well. The number of times The Tash said he was going to play / manage / come-along-to-watch and didn’t turn up sent me in panic mode. However, he was true to his word and slid the medium sized Sassco top over his lean (in comparison to his son’s) body. This was the first time he’d donned a Sassco jersey since 2009, when he was part of the Portugal Tour 2009 in a 1-1 draw v Juventude SC. He was due to play the following day in Portugal against FC Ferreiras, but injured himself…when diving into the swimming pool. Muers was also coming along and demanded not to play in defence, which he ended up doing for the whole game (haha, Emu).

Sanity was added to the team with James Collinson, Kyle Burns (son of Steve, who played briefly in the O35s), as well as Cameron Thompson in goal (who played a basketball game years ago for Sassco). Luke Willis (dragged along by Young Tash), while Steve Davison (again from the O35s) was added. Dixon was slotting in as centre half, while McDermont, bumming boots again, with Nelly, finished the line up. Dave Gourlay was touted to turn up, but as he wrote “interested” in the Facebook event meant he wasn’t going to bother.

Game kicked off and we did okay. It was roll on and off, so positions were shifted around. Surprisingly, The Tash didn’t want to come off after a few seconds and proved that he never lost it. However, up top, we narrowly got caught in some offside positions, but Young Tash used his ample frame to bulldoze past the ample Deaf ‘keeper to make it 1-0. They equalised late on in the first, just as we thought we’d cleared our lines.

Second half saw a number of chances at either end, as well as a good penalty shout. Unfortunately, they soon went 2-1, then 3-1 up, before Nelly struck late on to cause a scramble. Realistically, we should have been 3-3. The Tash, taking a free-kick, rolled back the years and attempted to also hit in a double-header, but the ‘keeper saved. Macca missed a glorious one at the death as we walloped long balls into the channels.

Young Tash spent the rest of the afternoon in A&E, but not with The Tash, as you’d expect, but with Luke Willis, who injured himself. All the young ones and some of the old ones did well. However, it was an experience watching both Tash’s playing together for Sassco. But after missing a few chances, I reckon Young Tash will be well and truly placed on the naughty step tonight in the Harper Household.