So, tonight is our last chance in Cup competitions this season. Been a funny Cup year, starting with a great win in a Ryhope derby in the FA Cup, the first ever FA Cup meeting between the clubs as far as anybody knows, and followed by that astonishing match down at Clitheroe, 6-6, not a common scoreline. If it had gone to extra time there is little doubt we would have won it, well on top and playing nine men, but even so I doubt if anybody expected us to lose the replay with a much stronger side out. There you go though.
The Vase was a roller coaster, tight game against our old foes from Bridlington and then a super day out at Garstang, one of the best of the many good trips we have had in recent seasons, or so I am informed, and followed by a cracker of a match down at Shildon. Then West Auckland.
Seems like it sums up the frustrating club we can be; we play West four times this season, and over the four ninety minutes we win three and draw the other, and still manage to get knocked out of the Vase. Only the RCA. Annoying doesn’t quite sum it up. No lack of effort at any point this season, but to be fair a lot of disruptions, through injuries minor and major, badly timed suspensions and some plain bad luck. You sort of think it is bound to run for us one of these days.
Tonight is a potential cracker, even if some of our faithful will no doubt be tempted by the chance of cheap tickets to see Man City’s youngsters over at the SoL. An unfortunate clash of fixtures. I understand Pep rang us during the week to express his frustration, and we just had to say, “Look Pep, you will just have to cope and follow our game on twitter". Possibly.
Still Shields are a shining light for North East non league football, from a real bad place to absolutely flying in a few short years, must give all of us hope that we can do something similar sometime. And many of us are very pleased for those stalwarts that have been with the club through thick and thin. Good luck to them, but not tonight. Tonight we want to see our bold boys turning them over. I will be taking my usual seat on a gravestone behind the goal, give me a wave.