Pete Sixsmith began a busy week of football with a trip over the moors to Whitby. He proceeds to Anfield tonight and will be at Tynecastle for the Edinburgh derby tomorrow, having found train fares and hotel accommodation cheaper than chips, chips he was denied on the east coast. Expect more pigeon-post tidings from our own football nomad in the coming days …
A NEW YEAR TREBLE: Part One
Thanks to Liverpool being made to play on Sunday, our New Year’s Day fixture was pushed back a day, making it so much easier for working people to attend the game. Sunderland fans will get home at 2am, many Liverpool ones even later.
I had choices for my Hogmanay football fix. Hartlepool v Preston North End was the closest one, Gateshead v Barrow appealed but I headed off to the North Yorkshire coast and Whitby Town’s Northern Premier League game against Frickley Athletic.
The visitors used to be known as Frickley Collieries and are based in the town of South Elmsall. Their large ground was surrounded by spoil heaps and there is a story, possibly apocryphal, that a Southern League team, playing at Frickley during the miners’ strike, were bombarded with slag for showing insufficient support for the cause.
Check out our Anfield build-up:
* Guess the Score is at http://salutsunderland.com/2013/01/new-year-greetings-spurs-gone-for-now-guess-the-score-at-liverpool/
* The Liverpool ‘Who are You?’ interview with Neil Atkinson from the Anfield Wrap: http://salutsunderland.com/2012/12/liverpool-who-are-you-the-anfield-wrap-lowdown-on-kenny-rafa-and-dreadful-hodgson/
I try to get to Whitby at least once a season, partly for the football, partly for the fish and chips at Trenchers Restaurant. That was knocked on the head on this visit due to large numbers of people having descended on the town looking for a bracing walk followed by fish and chips. I made do with a coffee and a Danish.
I also had trouble parking and eventually found a place near the Grand Hotel, an Edwardian structure built in the French chateau style. It used to be owned by Bobby Scaife, a police officer from the Heartbeat period, secretary of Town for a number of years and a man who went on a well publicised sponsored slim and ended up putting on a stone.
Town are managed by Darren Williams, a hero of the Peter Reid era (and renowned as history’s most enthusiastic handclapper of Sunderland supporters after each game – ed), who is taking his first tentative steps in management. He is in charge of a club that has never been relegated but who have survived in the NPL Premier Division by the skin of their teeth in recent times.
They do have trouble attracting and retaining players due to their geographical isolation and the chairman has spoken about a possible return to the Northern League. Crowds are below 300 and travelling expenses are considerable – Whitby to Grantham, Hednesford and Stafford is a long, long way.
Frickley arrived at the Turnbull Ground with a dismal away record having lost every league game they have played away from South Elmsall. Jake Picton gave them an early lead, but a superb through ball by central defender and Ferryhill old boy, Alex White, allowed Craig Farrell to equalise.
Farrell, a big, strong centre forward, added two more to claim a hat trick, with Ashley Corker claiming the other. Both were helped by a point blank refusal by the Frickley defence to mark anyone in the box.
Next up is Liverpool, bigger and brasher than Whitby and minus the fish and chips that the East Coast is famed for even if they were beyond my reach on Tuesday. The Cains Bitter will have to suffice.