Whitley Bay DFC 4 Sassco.co.uk 4.

Charlie notches up a hat-trick.

Bearing last season’s opening friendly in mind, I opted for a large squad and one by one, the numbers dwindled (as expected). But that’s what these games are for – to see who’s going to be there and reliable in the long run. The usual suspects turned up for this opening game in preparation for the 11-a-side season 2007-2008. Craig Charlton came along as well, having played in a few of the games near the end of last season. As for the drop-outs, the list was scary. Danny Hodgson, Stephen Lewis, Andy Swinhoe, Jimmy Raeper, Shaun Coburn and Tim Gillespie, although Tim was travelling back from London so it was a long shot (and trip). For this game we were donning our new long sleeve shirt (as shown below), although the weather and the venue was superb.
 


The squad lined up before the game against Whitley Bay DFC. Standing are Mickey Donkin, David Simpson, Mark Muers, Craig Charlton, Brian Marley, Chris Dixon. Sitting from left to right are Anthony Yates, Dave Gourlay, Mark Middlemiss, David Staples and Davinder Sangha.

So, to the game itself. It was quite eventful as are most Sassco games. From Yatesy’s yellow boots, to Simma going off in a huff because his shirt didn’t have a badge on. Then Mark Middlemiss saying he “hated me” during the game. Dave Gourlay getting cautioned, because he was swearing at the lad who apparently kicked him in the 2005 friendly. And to top it off, Mickey Donkin getting through a game unscathed.

Even the referee said Whitley Bay Deaf FC were quite useful. Turning up with a massive squad when we only really had Danny Defty on the sidelines didn’t look promising for us. Danny turned up to watch, but has played for us in the past and did a decent job when we started the roll on/roll off in the second half. The game kicked off and we seemed to dominate the opening stages. However, we let in a soft goal. A through ball wasn’t dealt with and Simma couldn’t do anything to stop it. Both Dixon and Emu probably should have dealt with it. Just prior to this, we had some intensive pressure. Dave Gourlay won a penalty, but saw the ‘keeper make a superb stop. We had a few free-kicks which saw some desperate clearances from Whitley Bay and then, with around five minutes remaining in the half, Craig Charlton hammered the ball past their goalkeeper to make it 1-1. I expected ourselves to settle and re-group for the second half, but stunningly, we went well ahead. Pressure on their back line led to Charlie scoring twice again to make it 3-1. Both superb lobs. He also laid Dave G’s goal on. So, half time at 4-1, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Whitley Bay.

 

Second half, we got complacent. We had lots of chances, but over elaborated. The pitch was quite small and we elected to deal the extra pass instead of walloping the ball into the back of the net. They grabbed their goals back from mistakes which we all identified. We simply didn’t clear and slowly but surely, they scored one to make it 4-2, another for 4-3 and at the death, a dubious goal which was offside according to the referee, but not the linesman. The score was 4-4. Half expected. We really should be able to keep a lead, but tiredness took it’s toll. Frustration on my behalf as Manager was the numerous spurned chances and silly mistakes which led to their goals. All in all, it was indecisiveness, but with their fitness levels due to the number of subs and our lack of numbers, you can’t have it all.
 

So to sum up the day. Disappointing drop outs, but Gateshead turf was a brilliant venue. The genuine Field Turf was a joy to play on. I wish every pitch had it and fingers crossed, Downhill will be able to get it soon. Also, thanks to Whitley Bay DFC for providing the referee and taking part in a good competitive game. Finally, thanks to the players. Good loyal turnout and a good performance from Sassco (albeit in the first half).

Gateshead International Stadium
Pre-season friendly
Sassco.co.uk 4 Craig Charlton 3, Dave Gourlay.
Whitley Bay DFC 4

Sassco.co.uk: Dave Simpson, Brian Marley, Chris Dixon, Mark Muers, Davinder Sangha, Mark Middlemiss, David Staples, Dave Gourlay, Anthony Yates, Mickey Donkin, Craig Charlton*.