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|Besides the sea…|
By: Chris Smith
HAVING spurned the chance to watch Town play in the Errea Cup, partly because I was in Malta at the start of the tournament, Gary and I decided on a trip to watch the Youth Team play Scarborough.
Due to their insolvency, Scarborough lost their McCain stadium home and are now ground sharing at Bridlington, a club who have also had their financial ups and downs. In fact the arrangement is keeping Bridlington in business.
The trip was only decided on the Friday night and was due in part to our boycott of the home friendlies which we didn't expect to be charged for as season ticket holders. We toyed with the idea of watching a game at nearby Goole, although Gary may have preferred this due to the excellence of the pies there. There was also a bit of doubt about the game given that it had siled down the previous day. In fact, heavy rain followed us as we made our way from South and across East Yorkshire. It was a bit like having our own personal black cloud. In fact, no different to the average Town game over the last few seasons.
We had thought about a train journey but I never ceased to be amazed at the cost of rail travel outside of the People's Republic. Northern Rail was asking £24 apiece so the car it was and Gary kindly offered to drive. Just as well as I can t.
Apart from the higher level of inbreeding, East Yorkshire shares one other unfortunate characteristic with Lincolnshire and that is the large number of caravans and slow weekend drivers on the road. Fortunately, most caravans were coming back from the coast, beaten back by the Yorkshire monsoon so the major obstacle was the fear of speed cameras. On the A614, there is a weather station with a sign saying that the camera is for weather station purposes only but the locals decided to stop and read the sign (or try to) anyway. This, of course, defeated the object. Only in Yorkshire could you have a road sign to keep the traffic moving but does the opposite.
Fortunately, once arriving in Brid, the ground is easy to find and there was plenty of space at the ground to park up. I then used my unerring nose to find a good pub about 7 or 8 minutes away towards the old town. Gary recommends the Old Ship Inn for the real ale and we can both recommend it for the grub. We were in the ground for just gone 2pm with plenty of time for a look around. I'd seen from Scarborough's excellent and regularly updated web site (hint hint Town) that it was only £3 to get in, a pleasant surprise. They d also knocked out a 4 page programme for ten bob and you could get a team sheet for an extra 20p. We had a nice chat to the locals as is usual in non league circles and then spoke to Adam Smith from the School of Excellence just before kick-off who I hadn't recognised earlier, rather worryingly given I've just had my specs changed. For some reason, I want to be able to see the action more clearly.
We decided to stand behind the dugouts and immediately got chatting to Bridlington and Scarborough fans. After about ten minutes the defence was caught cold and it was 1 0 to the home side. A well taken goal but something the defence should have dealt with in all reality. Not long after and it was 2 0 but within a minute Town had pulled one back with Josh Fuller slotting one nicely past the keeper. Josh's play drew a lot of admiration from the locals and deservedly so. Town were living dangerously at times but contributing to an entertaining game. Both sides hit the crossbar before the first half ended and Town were showing some nice touches, something that was also commented on.
We took the opportunity to have a quick chat with Woodsy and introduce ourselves as Gary, Big Jim and I have decided to sponsor him, Peter Lea and Adam Smith this season, having decided to push the boat out. Woodsy has been the sole beneficiary of our largesse over the previous couple of seasons, but like GTST, we have recognised the value of investing in the youth set-up. The good thing is, unlike first team players, you are less likely to be disappointed in youngsters beginning to learn their trade and you feel that you are helping the club's future. It was nice to feel that as Woodsy's sponsor last year and as Trust members, we helped the youth team win its silverware last season.
Woodsy told us that the lads have been doing okay despite some results going against them and a priority was getting them fit and some weight off them. I've seen Woodsy at away reserve games and he must put some hours in at the club. He always acknowledges any Town fans, as did Peter Lea on Saturday. Top bloke!
Ominously, what had looked like a fair afternoon weather-wise degenerated into heavy frequent showers and it was an omen for Town in the second half. Our lads rarely got into the opposition half despite it being a tale of two keepers. Rob Peet made three brilliant saves as Scarborough piled on the pressure, but was beaten when one save went straight to an opposition player who hit it into the roof of the net. As the locals said, it was a real shame given his performance and he can take heart from the warm applause he received. Leigh Overton also did well as Rob's replacement before being beaten late on. We could be okay in the goalkeeping department.
Despite the 4-1 defeat, Town were playing a stronger side physically and this really did tell in the second half. The referee was derided for sending a few home players to the bench to cool off as an alternative to sending them off for some cynical over-physical play. Again, the way the youngsters composed themselves drew plenty of praise from the locals and we won some friends despite the score. The only shame is the poor sportsmanship by a section of the home support who overdo the abuse of match officials (I can't believe I've written that) which I noticed when seeing them play at Askern last season. One or two couldn't resist taunting our lads by suggesting they find an alternative career, but they were very much a small minority and thankfully unheard by their targets.
Overall though, a pleasant afternoon out with good company. The home fans we spoke to enjoyed watching a team trying to play attractive football. I must admit the highlight for me, apart from practising our singing in the car for the Cheltenham and Tranmere away games, was seeing a sign on the way home for the Gallymoor landfill site. Presumably that is where all of Tony's empties end up.
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