Saturday, January 06, 2007

Radcliffe 0 Gateshead 2

What another great result for the HEED ARMY and another great day out. GATESHEAD have now gone four games unbeaten in the league taking a total of seven points over the three festive period games. If the results keep coming, there is no reason why a play-off place can’t be reached this season.

The trip to RADCLIFFE began at 11am Saturday morning for the travelling HEED ARMY. We departed by mini-bus and the drinking games began. I will not dwell on the trip down to much, because it is all a bit of a blur due to the amount of fine Geordie beer consumed by the travelling HEED ULTRAS, but what I will say is that the ARMY were in fine voice when the game kicked off.

The first half was a game of goalkeepers. Both GATESHEAD and RADCLIFFE had chances and the first half was very even as far as game play was concerned. The most impressive thing for HEED fans was the fine first half performance from stand-in keeperMark (shot stopper) Bell”. The former West Auckland keeper was superb on his GATESHEAD debut, and with performances like this, he could find himself as the Tyneside’s no 1 for the rest of the season.

The first half also saw a glowing performance from RADCLIFFES Player/Manager “Andy Johnston”. He also pulled off some fine saves and took a lot of stick from the Travelling HEED ULTRAS. Fair play to Mr Johnston for taking it all in good humour.

The teams went in even at half time and the game could have gone either way. The second half kicked off and this time it was GATESHEADS turn to play up-hill on RADCLIFFES sloping pitch. This saw the game slow down and allowed GATESHEAD to start and take charge of the game. Then on seventy minutes, the HEED took the lead with a well deserved goal from “Jamie Harwood”. This lad looked good down the right and once again linked up well with Craig (over the hill) Baxter”. Since the arrival of Harwood, GATESHEADS right hand side has looked strong and long may this continue.

RADCLIFFE reacted well to the GATESHEAD goal and pilled on the pressure down the other end. A few chances were created and the travelling HEED ARMY were praying for the result to stay as it was, or else the beer waiting for the journey home would not have tasted quite as good.

Our prayers were answered in the dying minutes of the game, not only did the ref blow for full time, but a minute of magic saw GATESHEAD make it 2-0. The work-horse once again did what he does best and rattled the net with style. Davie (Chicken legs) Southern scoring his 20th goal of the season. The lad never seems to go a game these days without making the score sheet and this one was a goal to be proud of.

Southern picked up a Hughes clearance and made a great run, bringing the ball inside the box, turning a defender and then netting home in the top corner! The celebration topped off how important he is to GATESHEAD, the kiss of the clubs badge on his chest and a punch in the air. SUPERB is the only word that could describe this moment for the travelling HEED ARMY.

The ref blew for full time and that was that. Mission accomplished for GATESHEAD, and another 3 points in the bag. The man of the match award was the toughest one to make for the blog in a long time. The performance of “Paul (Thommo) Thompson” was great, with some fine passing and lay-offs. Also another solid performance from James (better than Bramble) Curtis", and then there was the performance of Craig (Nelly) Nelthorpe". The kid just keeps getting better and has a touch of class about him.

But the HEED ARMY BLOG “Man of the Match Award” has to go toMark (shot stopper) Bell”. His first game in the side saw a massive first half performance and it could be argued that without him, we could have went in a few goals down at half time.

In summary, The HEED ARMY went to RADCLIFFE, got 3 points and went home down the motorway losing 6 pairs of underpants en-route!

Many thanks to Private Goody for the match report.

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