Monday, 27 September 2010

The Late, Late Show

The season is well and truly underway now and as a consequence the days are drawing in and the temperature is dropping.

As Martin and I got off the train at Bank Top, I made a mental note to check the number of decent long-johns I have for the forthcoming winter months (especially as I'll be sitting on my camping stool, exposed to the elements, for most games).

But while there is a nip in the air, rather than wander to the underwear department in M&S I head off to get some pies for the return journey and then pop along to the Quaker. I am nothing if not predictable.

It's all very quiet in there - we seem to be getting fewer away fans in here these days - and as I walked in they'd just finished getting a full set of pumps ready.

For our delectation we had Cairngorm Gold, Jarrow Rivet Catcher and McConnells Irish Stout, Wold Top Big Sky, Loddon Russet, Taylors Landlord and Ram Tam, Brewsters Daffy Elixir and Isle of Skye Red Cullen.

I tried the Gold and Daffy Elixir - both excellent - but finished off with a pint of Ram Tam. Unusually smooth and without that touch of dark bitterness it normally has and which I really like.

(left) Ref Clark - you hum it son, I'll play it

It is also a bit of a quiet turn-out too - John W was back after his holiday and Colin had also turned up but others had found better things to do (especially Tony who is in China with his dad, Ray).

And then up in Number Twenty-2, we're joined by Bev who has decided against going to another pub to see her beloved Chelsea on the box.

On tap today were some interesting brews: Captain Cook Black Porter (as the stout), Glotts Hop from the Howard Town Brewery, Thwaites Lancaster Bomber and Mithril Ales' Flower Power.

The latter is brewed by local CAMRA member Pete Fenwick at Aldbrough St John - it's a very nice drop and was voted beer of the festival at last week's Rhythm & Brews festival (no favouritism there I'm sure!).

Once at the arena and inside the ground it is easy to see why there seem to be no away fans in the pub - there seem to be only about fifty Southport fans which doesn't seem a lot for what was a league club we often played in the 70s.

The game itself was a pretty dire one in the first half - there was a bit of wind which didn't help matters but Southport were managing to stifle any of our attempts to play the ball around.

The situation certainly wasn't helped by the petty whistle-blowing of ref Clark who looked like he'd gone missing from a chimps tea party (and had the decision making skills to match).

After the restart Curtis Main replaced a tired-looking Michael Smith - possibly this was the last chance for Main as he soon got heavily involved in the game and had two or three very good chances, one of which should really have been a goal.

(right) A shot from Liam Hatch strikes the hands of a Southport defender

In the latter stages Southport went down to ten men when one of their players was sent off - the decision did look extremely harsh from where I was but it was par for the course today.

There was certainly more bite in our play with the numerical advantage and it allowed Liam Hatch to find some space before shooting narrowly wide.

And shortly after another shot from Hatch hit the outstretched hand of a defender leading to the award of a penalty.

At the time I though this decision was a tad harsh too until I saw that the defender had his arms flapping in the way. As the pundits are only too happy to tell you, you just can't do that sort of thing in't modern game.

Chris Senior was the player assigned to penalty duty today and based on recent form you'd wouldn't bet against him scoring.
Unfortunately his shot was accurate but slowwww and the keeper gathered it in easily.

(left) The keeper safely gathers in

And so it all looked like being yet another draw and definitely two points dropped as we entered the four minutes of additional time awarded by the ref.

But then Senior - obviously keen to make up for his penalty miss - made his way into the box and teed up sub John McReady for a close range shot into the back of the net.

The place went wild and I kept my eye on Senior as he wheeled away in celebration towards block 11 and kicked off the corner flag - no doubt he was doubly relieved - but I think we were all happy to be the beneficiaries of a late goal for once.

According to Martin, the Southport players were less than happy at the final whistle and accused us of being "robbing bastards" - how classy - as they headed off to the dressing rooms. I know the ref didn't make things easy for them but it was a bit rich to have a go at us.

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