Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Another Pitfall

Saturday 2nd April - Thorne Colliery (away) Lost 2-6

I celebrated our excellent win over the CML Premier Division title favourites in low-key fashion.  Not surprising really given the fact that Mrs Slush was out for the night, I was taxiing the Elder Slushette to a 10th birthday party disco and there were no free-to-air highlights of the afternoon's Wales v England game to watch.  Scandalous.  But here's not the place to bore you with another anti-Sky rant.
Ironically, in the immediate aftermath of our 1-0 win over Yorkshire Main, I said to manager Mack: "This won't mean owt if we go to Thorne and get dicked next week."  "Oh I know", came the reply.  Obviously the players weren't of the same opinion...
While we were producing our best performance to date at the Farm, on the road both our County League sides were destined for defeat.  But at least in the case of the Reserves, edged out 3-2 at title hopefuls Driffield Evening Institute, there was something to cheer with Craig Foster's 449th and 450th goals of a very illustrious Easington career.  The fact that they came in his 646th game reflects a pretty impressive strike-rate.
Unfortunately, a tragic recent family bereavement meant Foz was in no real mood to actually celebrate his feat when I met him at the venue of the aforementioned disco that the Elder Slushette was attending (a belated joint-birthday disco for my 10-yr-old godson and "some girlie").
And on the way home my mood wasn't improved by news of another defeat for Hull KR at home to the Giants.  These are worrying times in East Hull.
An enjoyable Sunday culminated in another evening spent listening online to Q The 80s.  And tonight's show was an absolute belter.  Welsh power-pop combo The Darling Buds (who in a distant life I'd interviewed at Hull University for the 'Hull Hell & Happiness' fanzine) 'Hit The Ground', Lloyd Cole's 'Brand New Friend', 'Come Back' from The Mighty Wah, De la Soul's 'Eye Know', Will Downing 'A Love Supreme' and the classic 'Thieves Like Us' from New Order.  A simply brilliant show...even allowing for some Tight Fit thrown in there.

The Younger Slushette has joined the after-school Cookery Club.  Aged four and a half.  Monday's offering was a pasta dish with sausage, ham, tomato and peppers.  She said I could take some for Tuesday's pack-up at lunch.  Mmmm.
Mrs Slush was entertaining some friends that evening; one of her irregular "Girly Nights" where several like-minded souls get to gether, drink wine, eat crisps and slag off the male species (or at least that what it appears like to me?).
No problem I thought.  The Reserves had Skirlaugh at home that night in the ER County League's Preseident's Trophy (H. E. Dean Cup) and with England v Ghana on ITV as well, it provided a perfect excuse to stay at the pub.
Unfortunately - for me, not the Reserves - Skirlaugh conceded the tie on the Monday evening.  Getting enough players to the coast for a prompt 6pm kick-off had proved beyond them.  Ah well, all the best laid plans...
I watched the England game on my own in the Slushettes' playroom, with Peppa Pig and a couple of bottles of Ruddles County for company.  What a game.  As someone who still regards England internantionals as the most important dates on the fixture list, how refreshing it was to see a set of players actually putting their all in for the Three Lions.  Strange to say that I know but I'm sure you get the gist?

A man and his Stand
There's something about Thorne, and in particular Moorends, that doesn't lend itself to a gorgeous spring day.  For reasons unknown the place seems to be better suited to the type of damp, autumnal conditions which greeted our previous visit last season.
Although the weather was in stark contrast to our previous visit, the ongoing problem with vandals, thieves etc at the Moorends Welfare Ground remained constant.
Their latest "visit" had resulted in theft of most of the copper wiring, leaving the changing rooms in a state of disrepair and with a significant lack of electricity.  It wasn't a great start.
En route to the game I tried to tune in my Walkman to Radio Humberside's commentary of the early kick-off at the KC.  It proved an onerous task - and not just because Steve Morison's first half goal for Millwall would be enough to settle matters.  Worse still, Leeds were thumping Forest.  The Play-Off dream was fading again.
Spirits in our rather sorry-looking dressing room were raised by former stripper Farny deciding to show all and sundry his lovely new line in underwear.  He was soon joined by Mozzer in a scene straight from The Full Monty, which again prompted much hilarity among their team mates, especially keeper Charlie...until he realised that the only item preserving Mozzer's modesty was in fact one of his gloves.  Ooh, I never knew he knew such language!

Moz feeling a proper Charlie. Or should that be...
With all players assigned their numbers and the team sheets dutifully completed, I accompanied The Pistol across to the actual pitch.
I must say I love this particular ground.  The main stand that forms its focal point still stands as proud as it did on construction by the now-departed Colliery circa 1930.  I asked programme editor (and all-round good egg) Paul Hodgkins if there had ever been other similar structures in place.  He couldn't give me a definitive answer but according to those who'd looked into the history of the club, the stand had been the only such feature.
In its heyday, crowds of 700 had been attracted for Yorkshire League fixtures and the ground had hosted many finals in that competition.  Given the noise that 20 or so beer-fuelled "Colliery Boys" had managed to generate in it on our previous visit, I could only imagine with some awe the atmosphere a full stand might have made.
Along with a trip down memory lane, I was also given chance to get close-up to the Goole & Thorne District Cup.  Solid silver in design and dating back to the 1920s, Colliery had won it for the first time in fifteen years the previous Friday, courtesy of an 8-1 thumping of FC Taverners.

That's some cup
Making that victory all the more sweeter was the inclusion in their opponents ranks of several former Thorne players, now content to ply their wares at Doncaster League level.
Apparently the victory - at the home of Goole AFC - had been celebrated in Thorne into the early hours.  This hadn't made for a very successful outing to Bulwell the following day, where the latest league game was duly lost 6-1.
"We had three or four missing, including the keeper, and several others were obviously carrying the effects of the night afore", said Paul.  Had he made it? "No. I'd promised t'wife we'd go shopping!"  Sounds like the right choice! 
By ten to five I'd be wishing I'd have opted to spend this afternoon shopping with Mrs Slush.  Indeed, I was beginning to think that at ten to four, by which time we were just the four down.
And yet we began well enough...

First minute - as good as it was going to get   
It was a six-minute spell that did the damage.  And how.  
On 12mins, ex-Goole, Brid Town and one time pro striker Darren Fell beat sthe offside trap to lift the ball over Charlie for 1-0.
Straight from the restart, Moz puts Frosty in with a peach of a pass, the winger outpaces the cover but elects to go near post and hits the side-netting.
The ball is immediately pumped upfield, Lee Mason outjumps the Skipper to feed Craig Cookson who crosses for Fell to head home his second.
That's on 14mins and on 17 it's 3-0; the Skipper inadvertently heading past Charlie from another Cookson cross.  It's all gone Pete Tong.
Ironically, we could have been back in it.  The home keeper gets the referee's benefit of the doubt when Kempy's free-kick isn't held and Moz pounces; then Gav goes clear (similar to Fell's opener), elects to lob the keeper (similar to Fell's opener) but the ball drifts agonisingly wide (not similar to Fell's opener).
I was just beginning to sense the first shoots of recovery.  They were quickly dashed.  No sooner had I responded to a text from the absent Asst-Mgr asking the score with, "Three down"...than Cookson scored a fourth.  Half-time, game over.
I didn't know what to think when Mack strode out alone some five minutes before the end of the interval.  I wondered - while munching my way through a very tasty double cheeseburger (£1.50 and very nice too) - whether to ask.  I did.  "
Should I be fearing the worst by your absence from the dressing room Dave?"
"No, not really.  I've said my piece and left them to say theirs."
"Ah. How's Mozzer?" (He'd taken a bang just before the break)
"Well he was fit enough to nearly rip Charlie's head off in there..."

As probably was expected (we've been here before!) in truth the second half never really took off.  Thorne were content to sit on their lead and we didn't really have the nouse to break them down.
Until that is, the introduction of Fitzy and Chav who immediately set ouot as they had a point to prove.  And both scored.  Which was nice.  Only Thorne decided to do like-for-like.  Which wasn't.
We lost 2-6.  And to make matters worse, injuries had forced the hosts to play out the last ten minutes a man down.  We drew those ten minutes 2-2.
My mood had improved slightly by the sight of a "Traditional Cask Ales" sign on the front of post-match venue The Moorends Hotel.  It was a false dawn.

"Win or lose..."
John Smith Smooth was the only "ale" on sale.  Still the post-match fodder wasn't a bad consolation prize - a slab of beef along with chips, sausages, pork pie, sausage rolls.  Very nice indeed.
I enjoyed another brief chin-wag with Paul before re-boarding the minibus for what would prove to be one of the shorter - and quieter - trips home.
I don't know why...

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