Saturday 11th September
FA Cup First Round Qualifying Tie
Ossett Albion 1 Whitley Bay 2
Programme: £2 (bit steep for the content)
Tea hut purchase: Steak pie at £1.50p (oh dear)
Weather: Fair, mild, odd shower & sunny spell
Parking: Off the nearby main road, 5 minute walk I clocked them as he walked towards the Match Shed, what the hell was he wearing? He resembled one of those clowns from Billy Smarts Circus, the ones who wear those ridiculous oversized shoes that bend up at the ends. Frugal Glenn had bought a new pair of shoes! He'd got them from Asda's apparently, they'd had a remnants sale and although they were 2 sizes too big for him, he couldn't turn them down at the price? They looked like fake crocodile skin in various shades of dog poo brown but the main feature was the length of them, they must have been at least 16 inches long with the toes curling up like fancy Turkish slippers. I'm afraid Frugal Glenn looked even more strange than normal. He reckoned he looked pretty trendy? We got to the place easy really, I parked the Match Shed a block down from the Brewery Tap pub which already had numerous Whitley Bay replica shirts in the visible beer garden. I'd tried to get a parking place on the club car park but for the second week running I'd come across an adjoining cricket ground with a match taking place. Space was a non-starter and to make matters worse the only access and egress was though a tight narrow lane, this had the potential to create a major bottle neck come the final whistle. We made our way back to watch a bit of the cricket after leaving the Match Shed well away from the gridlock. The field was on the side of a hill, further down this same hill lay the football stadium. It seemed strange watching a fast bowler charging down the hill and then letting fly at the poor batsman at the other end, there was the potential to generate some exocet styled pace under such conditions, had to pity the fat bloke who had to bowl uphill into the breeze the following over though, he got a real tonking.Upon entering the Warehouse Systems Football Stadium at around 2.30pm I was surprised at the number of Ground Hoppers mulling around, there were multi coloured anoraks and fancy rucksacks all over the place, it looked like a Millets convention. It was a good few hours since my bacon and egg muffin so I hit the Tea Hut immediately. There was a smell of burning burgers as I entered a strangely uncharismatic snack bar room. The shrunken blackened burger still smoked unattended on the greasy grill plate as I checked out the menu. Mmm, steak pie at £1.50p, that should do the business. I paid cash and the girl went off to the back of the kitchen to get it. I stumbled out of the Tea Hut in shock, I was feeling dizzy and not quite right, I breathlessly called over to Frugal Glenn who was reading my programme, I was struggling to get the words out, "whats the matter, whats wrong" said a worried Frugal, "look at it, look at it" I gasped, I could feel my knees going. Frugal glanced down at a white tray with a white fork and there in the middle of the polystyrene plate lay the smallest tiny pie I had ever seen EVER! It was just 2 inches in diameter and I'd paid one pound fifty for the pleasure.Frugal splurted out "the robbing b*st*rds", it was one of the rare occasions when his judgement befitted the tragic circumstances. This miniature example was not even a dinky or a party pie, how did they have the audacity and bare faced cheek to pass off such a thing? It took two bites to finish and it didn't even have proper steak in it! They'd done a real Jessie James job on me thats for sure. It was the best part of an hour before my palpitations ceased. The sizeable following from the North East gathered from the local pubs just in time for kick off, the liquid refreshment for many of them carried on via the Peter Eaton Bar inside the ground, the bar offers pitchside views through the windows or outside by the picnic tables (not sure if its just cans rather than draft ale though?). The ground looked neat and tidy with plenty of red and gold paint around the place, the pitch had a significant slope across it but the turf looked immaculate in condition and uniformity. The main stand has been renovated and had three rows of seating which offered good views of the action. We sat in here for the first half.The Whitley Bay singers were in the homely looking end by the club shop, a terrace also offering cover here for those possible rain showers which had been forecast. An Ossett Albion flag adorned the opposite end, an all metal fabricated mini kop with metal terracing included. The touchline opposite the main stand houses some large brick built dug outs which negate any views at the half way line, the few rows of terracing either side of these excessively large dug outs are extremely tight and narrow, anyone walking past would usually disturb the view of the pitch, strange in a planning sense really as there is just the big open space of the cricket ground behind the wall. Over hearing many comments from the Northern League Whitley Bay supporters they obviously considered themselves major favourites to win this match even though Albion play a step higher up the league pyramid in the Evo Stik NPL Division 1 North.... and do you know what? They proved absolutely correct in their judgement. Whitley Bay were the far superior side in this match, they passed it well, had good movement and created lots of chances, the Ossett goal was under siege for most of the first half. As for Ossett Albion they never seemed to get out of the blocks, they appeared listless and lacked direction and drive, very little creativity could be seen, this looked a game with only one winner even with the scores somehow still level at half time (0-0). The first Whitley Bay goal came 8 minutes into the second period, an ordinary looking speculative effort from Paul Chow somehow sneaked past the keeper to send the visiting supporters into rapture.Ossett seemed to rally (a bit) but when Craig McFarlane headed home the second while the keeper and his centre half dawdled in front of him the fat lady snatched hold of the microphone and walked onto the stage. Remarkably Shane Kelsey slinked one back for the home side (from nowhere) with just a few minutes remaining and astonishingly enough Ossett only just failed to grab an undeserved equaliser with a manic goalmouth scramble right at the death, it was not to be. Make no mistake, Whitley Bay deserved this win and in my opinion were worth far more than the margin identified. Credit to the almost non stop singing and boisterous vocal support from the visiting support as well, although the sour faced old ladies watching the cricket had probably had enough of the North Eastern charm come quarter to five.