Sassco win at the Stadium of Light!

Sassco’s most glorious moment in their 18 year history.

Sassco 11-a-side, finally won their first game in over a year, and what a place to do it in. It was their first at the Stadium of Light.

From last season, we had five replacements in Neil Barker, Dave Smith, Curtis Newbold, Jake Dyke, Billy Harrison and Dom Brown. Mark Muers was a late sub and the cameraman.

Our opponents were known to me and the day was nearly ruined when Billy Harper popped out again in the same shell suit bottoms announcing he was the opponents’ coach. They had a number of players who were known to us, including some ex-Northern League players, but we were confident, but not complacent, but then again, we did have me as right back. The team were called FiorenTINA, in dedication to one of the players’ mother who sadly passed away.

We managed to gatecrash the home dressing room and basked in it’s luxury surroundings, although Curtis complained that there weren’t enough showers. We then realised that the regular team who use this changing room were usually the losing team. Dave Gourlay was sitting in the hallowed place that Joleon Lescott usually sat in.

The team line up was selected by personal choice. It soon became apparent that everyone wanted to play everywhere, so I chose the line up and said “play where you want.” Barker wanted to be in attack, Curtis wanted to be in attack, Gourlay wanted corner kicks, throw-ins, goal kicks…

Billy Harrison scores the fourth goal.

Anyhow, we all settled on positions and were to switch if we were getting walloped. However, we weren’t and the team seemed quite settled. Curtis pushed up front because Billy was dropping deep for the ball, so realistically, he was our only centre forward. My team talk and arguments with Dixon were to avoid playing the offside trap and defend deep in numbers to stall opponents until reinforcements came. Their best player, Pattison was on my side of the pitch and after being skinned, it was obvious I just had to hold him off and not tackle.

Lee Butler and Scott Hembrough.

Eventually, after a few near misses (including Jake’s sitter), Curtis latched on to a long kick from Davey Pie Chops and bullied his opponent and goalkeeper so that they collided and fired in the opener. Minutes later, a chipped ball was deflected and  Scott Hembrough made no mistake. Minutes after that, it was Curtis again, who outran his opponents and dispatched the ball. Then, Billy Harrison, after a good set up, fired in off the cross bar. In the meanwhile, Barker’s “goal” was called offside.

So in a matter of around 5 to 6 minutes, from 0-0 it was 4-0. Just before the half ended, Curtis fired in a superb looping ball, after seeing a wall in front of him. The goalkeeper couldn’t reach it.

Dave Smith; commanding in the box.

Second half saw the opponents more active, as our foot was clearly off the pedal. This was because in the opening minutes, Curtis stole in and scored to make it 6-0 A few near misses, including me heading off the line, saw them score from a deflection off Jake. I subbed myself for Muers, and not long after, they scored another. Between then and the end of the game, Dom was doing his best Michael Chopra impressions, and like all the Newcastle lot over the last few seasons, failed to find the Sunderland net. Late on Gourlay finally fired one in to make it 7-2, after pushing in midfield and placing Mark Middlemiss left back.

Curtis scores his fourth and the teams' sixth, early in the second half.

The entire team was outstanding. Tired legs in the second half, but from Dave Smith’s commanding performance in goal, including some awesome goal kicks to hit them direct; to Jake Dyke and Dixon at centre half. Both were solid. I probably had my most hyper game to date and even surprised my team mates. Despite the tours over the years and so many special events, this was probably Sassco’s most glorious moment in their long history.