At least the Vase hangover was a bit shorter this season. A very decent win up at West Allotment means that the non-winning run only lasted for three games, unlike what felt like a lifetime last season. Still it would be nice to win a few more through to the end of the season and get up the table a bit. Looks to me like the three or four just above us are well within reach, which means a top ten finish is a possibility, which is decent. Mind, the last few weeks of every season are notorious for strange results, for a number of reasons. Fixture congestion catches up with some, some teams have their thoughts on bigger prizes, managers are trying out new players, and some are just on early holidays, or at least look like it. To be fair they don’t come much stranger than our bold lads managed in the last game of the season last year over in Cumbria against today's opponents. Twelve players could be found for the trip, not including a goalkeeper or a centre half, or for that matter a manager, but three wingers turned out, always handy. The versatile Mr Larkin was in charge and promptly picked himself in goal. He may well be a canny keeper, but there is no way of knowing, as Penrith were even more out of sorts than us. A two-nil win with barely a tremor of concern throughout the afternoon ensued. Young Callen played centre half and looked the part, and all of the wingers ran about and caused havoc. At the top of the table Morpeth had a boatload of games in hand, partly because of the their Vase run and partly their awful pitch, but it did them no good, as they succumbed to injury, fatigue and the need to rest players before the Vase final, as their challenge for the title fizzled out. And a few seasons ago Benfield crept through the pack at the end to clinch an unlikely title triumph. In less exalted circumstances I used to regularly make my annual seasonal debut for Colliery Tavern FC in the Sunderland Sunday League Third Division sometime in March or April, as to be fair did my old work mate Ralph, which was particularly impressive as he had been dead a good few years by then. Ah, the jiggery pokery of wrong 'uns in Sunday football. Happy days.
Elsewhere the first Cup Final of the season in the senior game took place on Sunday, and Southampton learned once again the first rule of the Premier League era: you are not allowed to beat the big boys. It was a very canny game to be fair, but you sort of knew that Man U would win, however well Southampton played, and they played very well. Unlucky with the decisions, and a bit weak at the back, not to mention a surprisingly dodgy keeper, and then the deadly Ibrahimovic does the business. Tough. But they seem to have found a good one in the new Gabbiadini. Different make and model to the old one, but he knows where the goal is and no mistake. If only he was over the water like his uncle Marco.