Saturday 1st March 2014 ko 18.30
Northern League Division Two
DARLINGTON RAILWAY ATHLETIC 2 (Allison 33 84)
THORNABY 3 (Bythway 10 Melvin 22 Woodhouse 82)
So journey’s end for the 3rd of the 4 Northern League hops, and for me at least the first revisit of the 3 events! I’d paid Brinkburn Road a visit in 2006 on a Friday night for a FA Vase game against, yes, Thornaby!
I was in the Lake District on holiday, and had to get a pass out from my now ex-wife to go and see the game. She asked how long the game was likely to take, I thought about it, and guessed at me getting back at around 10.30pm based on an hour’s drive and a 7.30pm kick off. So, how was I to know that the game would be stopped twice? There was halt for a floodlight failure, and a lengthier delay when a player suffered a broken ankle that was exacerbated by an idiot’s car parked in front of the ambulance’s entrance. Then the game went to extra-time too, so I rather sheepishly arrived back at the accommodation after midnight. Suffice it to say my report of a friendly club and an exciting 2-2 draw did not get me any succour from she-who-used-be-obeyed, and I was banned from attending the replay, which Thornaby won 2-0.
It took until 2012 for me to finally visit Thornaby, and promptly got an abandonment, so I approached this game hoping my unwitting malevolence was not in evidence. Thankfully the game was a decent finale to a fine day’s hopping.
The club had clearly put a lot of thought into their day. The teamsheets were welcome, although I do wonder the effort that is put in to produce them is worth the money back. After all, 50 sold at 20p is only £10 made, but perhaps the goodwill is worth the effort. Like Marske in the morning, the club decided to contract out the catering to a burger van. This time rather than the decision costing the club around 90% of the profits, it cost them 100% as the van’s owner got the dates mixed up and failed to show up. The club sold a limited stock of very tasty pies from behind the bar, but it was a massive opportunity lost.
As was the case in the previous game the attendance was less than I’d have liked, but those present saw a good competitive game that produced the third away win of the day. Thornaby made the better start, and took the lead when Lee Bythway rose highest to head home from a free-kick. The lead was doubled when a move down the left saw Richie Walker’s cross evade everyone except Joseph Melvin who had the simplest task to score at the back post.
Railway got themselves back into the fixture with a quite stunning goal. Steve Allison cut in from the left, and from the edge of the box curled a wicked effort into the top right corner leaving Michael Duff in the Thornaby goal utterly helpless. Railway fought hard, but Thornaby’s third was a real choker as it came after some sustained pressure from the hosts. The ball was played down the right, finding Liam Woodhouse on the left of the box and he slotted home neatly from 12 yards out.
Railway managed a sharp reply, as a shot was charged down by the Thornaby defence but Allison was in the right place at the right time to fire home, but despite the hosts valiant efforts Thornaby held on for the win.
It was a fine ending to another successful hop by Harvey Harris and the team. I made sure I thanked him as I left. I’ve been in his position, in fact I will be this weekend in West Wales, and the thanks is appreciated. This organising lark isn’t easy and often the best moment is that time just after the event when you get the chance to sit back and reflect on what happened. I’m sure Harvey will have done that with no little satisfaction.
Postscript. If you’re wondering where the title is from. It’s from the Pogues song “Poor Paddy” about Irish Navvies working on, yes, the railway!