Topic: Gateshead at home...
2-2 Att: 1302
Mixed feelings at the end of the game for Hannah tonight.
The game was a real rollercoaster and when you equalise with a screamer of a freekick in the sixth minute of added time (six genuine minutes to be fair), you should be on cloud nine.
But as we watched and when we walked out, smiling and happy, it sank in that this is probably the last game of her first season. As much as we've loved that first season, Torquay and then Maidstone United away aren't quite yet on the away day radar and there's one home game left, Tranmere, a week on Saturday. But one of her best mates has a birthday party and she really does want to go. She's been agonising over what to do and was again as we made the freezing walk back to the car.
I've spoken about the optimism about the place at the moment and there was a similar feeling before tonight's game. We've got our home game rituals and one of them is chucking some change in the bucket in exchange for a team sheet. The optimism and feel good factor were added to when we saw Matty Kosylo's name on the subs' bench. He's a class act for this level and a fan favourite. Little did we know just how much that return would mean.
Town wore the away kit tonight. Hannah reckoned they hadn't washed the home kits from Tuesday night's game. At this level that's not impossible. She also reminded me that the away shirts are discounted in the club shop.
Gateshead had a couple of ex-Town players in their starting line-up, Richard Peniket and Jordan Burrow. They were both clearly held in very different regard. Peniket was cheered and applauded when he was subbed off in the second half. The crowd weren't so kind to Burrow. The fact he scored both of their goals didn't help.
In terms of football on the pitch, this was one of the best games we've seen. It was helped by a referee that realised that the less we saw and heard from him the better. He handed out some bookings as the game progressed but played some good advantages and seemed to adopt a sensible approach. A rarity at this level.
The teams were fairly evenly matched but Gateshead took the lead not long before the break. Sam Johnson, Town's usually reliable keeper, spilled the ball and Burrow scored an easy goal against his former club.
After the break, Town were a different team. They played some great football, maybe the best we've seen under Fullarton. It didn't take long for them to equalise. Magic Mike scored a gem of a header from a Collins' corner. Town were great. They had chance after chance, the best of which fell to Thomson who skied it over the bar when it seemed easier to score. It was a shame as he was superb.
And then it all seemed to go very wrong. Johnson spilled the ball again when diving to save a free kick. The rebound was buried. And, of course, it was Burrow who buried it.
Hannah was gutted. This was her last game. She could barely bring herself to mark the scorer on the back of the programme. But she did. They're all lined up on one of the bookcases in her room now. In date order, team sheets tucked inside.
The ref added six minutes. As I said above, they were genuine.There'd been some lengthy stoppages. Thank god for them. Kosylo was lively when he came on. But nobody could really have foreseen what an impact he'd have.
Town were awarded a freekick in the 96th minute. We've all been there whoever we support. Literally the last minute. A freekick or a corner are won. There's a brief moment when you convince yourself this is it. And then it's row Z or straight into the hands of the keeper. Not tonight. It was a beautiful freekick. Hannah was up on her seat and dancing about. Sport can be cruel but it can be amazing. This was, in reality, a nothing game. The draw means Town are 12th. They won't go down and they won't go up. Gateshead won't either. But this was her last game and it couldn't have ended in a better way. That's what sport can do.
It was a great goal, scored by a player she loves. A player who plays for her team. And that's great no matter your age.
One more game for me. You've probably gathered it already from these reports but I've loved this season with Town. We've had a laugh. But I've also got to watch Hannah learn what watching football is all about and form a bond with her local team. It's been worth every penny....
Last edited by Travis Bickle (Thu 12 Apr 2018 11:37 pm)