And so the slump goes on, as do the red cards. Bit of a contrast in the last couple of games though according to some good judges of my acquaintance.
Against Northallerton the lads started very brightly, despite being very short again, due to suspensions, injuries and domestic and work issues. Nonetheless it looked good from the start, with the lads playing the ball around, retaining possession and making chances, and taking the lead after ten minutes. The game levelled up a bit, the visitors equalised, but all still looked set fair, until a dismissal for preventing a goal scoring opportunity, which most people thought more than a little harsh. After that it was mostly downhill. Northallerton largely took charge and although we rallied a few times, they eventually ran out worthy winners.
It's not about officials and we know there is a major lack of them, but still we do seem to be on the wrong end of things of late. Hopefully our luck will change, although it didn’t really down at Guisborough. Very short handed again, an heroic effort by Dan Madden filling the gap at the back, and a solid hard working performance that certainly deserved something from the game, until a wicked deflection gave them the winner. Tough, tough to take.
Every team needs to learn from hard times, surely we will.
At the top of the League Ashington set their stall out with a five nil win against the leaders Bishops and with six games in hand will certainly fancy their chances. Feels like those two along with Whitley Bay may start to pull clear of the rest. It looks like the drain of strong clubs out of the Northern League will continue, and it's probably the case that it can only accelerate over the next few seasons. In the Northern Premier League East four of the top seven teams are former Northern league teams, with only Shildon looking in a some trouble, and I don’t think many would bet against them pulling it round soon enough. Tadcaster coming to us next season? Maybe, maybe…
Among the big boys Sunderland continue to fluctuate, and surprisingly some of the faithful are starting to sound a bit tetchy. Seems daft to me, anybody would have been happy with the current position before the season started, and within that they have already twice scored quite astonishingly beautiful goals; and among the young players our old boy Patto is really looking the part, I think they will do very well to hang onto him in the summer.
Further up the roads the Mags continue to go like trains, and the levels of hysteria are rising by the day. It will of course end in tears, but they are certainly enjoying the ride for now, and who can blame them?