Too early for any other football fans today despite the early kick off at the Stadium of Light - the train is quiet until Doncaster when the carriage becomes full of confused women trying to find their seats as they head to York for Christmas shopping.
Brian joined the train too and we join him in the relative quiet of coach H. At Darlo we're joined by John W, Neil and Claude.
|Rocky (Dave!), Cath and Ted|
As we sup the management turn the TV on and rather than sport, we watch Lorraine Pascale as she makes some very tasty looking desserts whilst being very suggestive a la Nigella. Beats Football Focus.
As the clock approaches noon, we decamp and head on down to the Bridge Hotel - John Bell has arrived and is with Frank who is standing in for Gateshead chum Steve who is indisposed.
Once again, my old Uni chum Cath has popped along - not long after another old chum, Rocky (or Dave as his family call him) joins us too - we've not seen him since 1984 so we have some catching up to do. I'm pleased to see he still likes his beer.
A good selection at the bar: Summer Wine Rouge Hop, Bristol Beer Factory Independence, Buxton English Pale Ale, Gundog Gundog, Harbour IPA, Moor Revival and Allendale Tarbarl Stout plus Tempest A Face With No Name on keg.
Most of our little band are happy in the Bridge but a few of us wander off to visit the wonderful Crown Posada. Not necessarily wonderful for the number of beers - they have four taps - but the general atmosphere with the old Dansette playing easy listening vinyl. A quiet little haven.
The two Johns and I decide to order a taxi - John B goes outside to do so and when he comes back he can't find his wallet. He checks all his pockets and we check the immediate surroundings - even the other punters check but no joy.
A real mystery and we can only assume he has dropped it and someone has taken it.
|Keeper Craig Turns|
goes off injured
Sadly for Norton (and Darlo) he was beaten by a low shot shortly after the restart. Not a good start.
This spurred Darlo into action and for most of the second half we were constantly attacking. However far too many moves broke down due to a poor final ball or poor finishing as the ball whizzed across the Team Northumbria six-yard box.
The away fans were all starting to get very tetchy at the lack of an equaliser - something we've maybe not seen much of so far this season. It didn't help when it looked like TN had scored a second only for the ref to disallow it.
As time ran out, we walked towards the exit - the ref seeming to be playing a lot of additional time - TN attack on the counter and score to make it 2-0 and that's it, game over.
We don't wait for the final whistle but trudge back to the Metro. Thankfully a train soon turns up and we're back at Central station by 5:30pm.
As the others go to the Forth Hotel for some more beer, I buy a train ticket for John so he can get home. He isn't interested in any beers and who could blame him? I'm sure he wished he'd ignored his alarm for once.
Thankfully we have an unremarkable trip back to Kings Cross - I'm sure we slept for most of the journey - and since Martin has had his fill of beer for the day, I head off alone to the Euston Tap.
|Team Northumbria defend |
Some cracking beers as ever - Mikkeller Solstice Saison, De Molen Amarillo, Magic Rock High Wire, Summer Wine Oregon and Thornbridge Wye.
The Wye is an interesting beer - it is infused with cucumber and is very light and refreshing but still packs at punch at 4.7%. I tried this at the Borefts festival a few months ago but this is even better.
I was still going strong but last orders are called and I wander off to Euston Square, getting back to Upton Park just before 1am. Thankfully the Kebabish is still open - not one of the best curry houses but at this time of the day it'll do just fine.