The headline mixes up the industries that once flourished in the towns brought together yesterday in search of grassroots cup glory. Pete Sixsmith was there. Now he’s London-bound, praying that a certain other team can somehow muster a winning away performance …
Fulham on Sunday, Consett on Saturday. What a contrast. One is a cosmopolitan area full of pretty young things oozing class and sexuality while the other is in west London.
It was to Consett that we travelled on Saturday to watch the Steelmen take on the Railwaymen in The FA Vase For Clubs Named After Industries Destroyed By Mrs Thatcher.
Malcolm Dawson and I drove up the A68 in the trusty Mazda, passing through Fir Tree, Tow Law and Lay By, and driving through the once oxide dust covered town to arrive at the Grey Horse, once known as the Rust Horse.
The beer was excellent, a pint of locally brewed Red Dust costing £2.45 in a warm and welcoming pub, which rapidly filled up as some of the passengers from the Shildon Supporters’ Club coach trooped in. They were followed by Mr Horan, taking in the game after spending a morning fouling up the computer system at the DWP at Longbenton.
A brisk walk up to Belle Vue, a ground soon to disappear as Durham County Council plonk an Academy on the site, and the game was under way. Both sides were looking for a place in the last 64.
By half time, it looked like Consett were the ones going through with Shildon being dumped out. Goals from MacKay and Pounder had put them in a commanding position. Shildon were about as effective as Mark Hughes defending himself at a press conference, and a reliable source told me that words were exchanged in the dressing room at half time.
Whatever the Shildon manager Gary Forrest said, it worked. He changed the formation and seems to have told his charges to attack, attack, attack. Which they did.
The persistence of Jamie Owens forced a mistake out of a previously reliable Consett defender, allowing Ben Wood to pull one back. The same player equalised and, as Consett flagged, the visitors were in the ascendancy.
They were roared on by a good following. Shildon have exceptional support, and the fans love to visit towns where there are things like banks, supermarkets and buses. We gaze on these trappings of civilisation in wonderment and amazement.
Back at Belle Vue, another strong run by Owens ended up with Sam Garvie stroking home the winner to rapturous scenes on the terracing and in the stands. Coupled with the news of a second goal by Swansea, it made for a splendid day out.
Now, I am at Fulham. We need to start winning, seeing as Southampton and Reading have. Twelve months ago, the O’Neill revolution started. It has stalled. Time to kick start it by the banks of Old Father Thames.