Spiffing game last week: 12th September 2012

Both teams were splendid and played the game in an almost nostalgic manner.   Revelling in the innocence of a by-gone age, both teams arrived at the ground by bus or tram or even on a penny farthing, enjoying much hilarity and good natured banter as they travelled alongside the supporters from both teams, how we all laughed when our Tizer bottle spilt.  The teams changed into their latest strips: dark tuxedos for one team and the rather fetching white tux’s for the others and took to the field with the smells of Deep Heat, Brillcream and Old Spice mixing into one heady aroma in the tunnel.   Despite the rather natty new outfits both goalkeepers still chose to wear the now customary flat cap, which they waved to the enthusiastic crowd behind each goal, who in turn responded with a rousing chorus of rattles.  Luckily it was their own supporters they were waving to or the responses may not have been so gentlemanly.

The Ukele Orchestra Of Great Britain played a rather quaint version of the National Anthem and kick off quickly followed.  Both teams were splendid with magnificent individual performances throughout the sides.   Most interesting however was that both coaches chose very fluid formations, with left wing halfs and outside rights rotating positions, sharing defensive and attacking responsibilities, full backs appearing in the scoring third and a centre half who looked more like a winger at times: for neither of these teams were the restrictive formations of some of the London teams and the capacity crowd lapped it up.

Half time came with scores still level, for all the remarkable attacking verve, the defenders were equal to the task, and when the attackers did break through the goalkeeping was at times miraculous or the woodwork came to rescue.  Following a delightful pie at half time and a quick smoke of freshly prepared roll ups handed out by the trainers, they took to the field for the second half to the sweet tones of Jimmy Hill singing ‘The White Cliffs Of Dover’ and the titanic battle continued.

The game ebbed and flowed, both teams having the upper hand for periods at a time but still the deadlock could not be broken.  As the giant clock at the far end of the ground ticked down to full time both teams pushed ever forward for the winner.  Right at the end the mercurial winger Brian ‘the slippery eel’ Macintyre set off on yet another of his mazy runs, past one past two past three, past the first man again, he stopped to catch his breath, flick his hair from his eyes prompting an ‘ole’ from the supporters before he sprinted towards the goal, surely this was it, his shot seemed destined to bring glory to the whites, there was a despairing dive by the ‘keeper, the ball just caught the rim of his cap which lifted its flight just the few short inches needed to take it over the bar.

Somehow it seemed a fitting end to a glorious game, an honourable draw between two of the modern Northern titans of our beautiful game.  The whistle was blown and the teams, congratulating each other on such an epic struggle, left the field to a standing ovation from both sets of supporters to enjoy a pint of the local brewed bear and a hearty pie supper before heading home for a hot bath in front of the fire.

So, best nob nailed boots and baggy shorts at the ready, who is playing this week?


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