The One Where We Waited

Given what went off before, I wouldn't normally be in a rush to go back to Harrogate Railway Athletic, regardless of whether or not they were playing table-topping Lancaster City.

picture of spike from the quireboys
But needs must, and believe you me, it was for the greater good. I am writing this ahead of the main event not only of the weekend, but of my year so far. The Quireboys are playing an acoustic gig in Knaresborough tonight, and I'll be there, centre stage, screaming my adulation for the man they call "Spike". I'm on record as saying I would go gay for him. He wouldn't touch me with someone else's hands. But the offer is there.

eleite meat butchers harrogate
For all your pre-match sausage roll nee
But you're not here to read about of the dark recesses of  my mind, are you dear reader? On the contrary, you come to Beat The First Man because it drops in your reader unexpectedly of fabled tactical insight and pithy observations on the noble game. So, to business...

flag of mexicoHarrogate is nowhere near to Mexico. Most of us are aware of this. But the rather garish kit of HRA means that they display a flag outside Station View that could confuse a stupid person.

That said, not even the most cerebally challenged would have struggled to work out where they were once they surveyed the pitch. I'm not criticising anyone, as we all know the troubles this winters weather has caused groundsmen up and down the country. But given there is ample
space immediately behind the ground, is it unreasonable to think that both teams could at least have warmed up elsewhere, rather than churning the pitch unnecessarily?

man in long scarf
A very long scarf
With the visitors embroiled in a battle with "the mighty" (c) Shyamen of Halifax at the top of the Unibond First Division North, and the hosts heading squarely in the opposite direction, this should have been a banker for an away win. Certainly, the visiting fans, who at least matched the number of home fans, thought so.

As a side note I've never seen so many fans accompanied by so few flags or banners. They had a long scarf tho.

fat goalkeeperRailway though had other ideas. They took the lead within ten minutes, after the ball was lobbed back in to the area from a scuffed free kick, and the impressive Stansfield latched on to it. Didn't stop him moaning at his team mates all afternoon tho.

speeding mobility scooter
Write your own. I'm not going to hell for you.
Fifteen minutes later, Lancaster City finally got the equaliser their possession required. A fact which pleased the vociferous fans no end. If for no other reason than Railway's keeper is a rotund chap, and we all love a fat keeper, don't we kids?

As the half drew to a close, those vocal fans became quieter. This banker was looking increasingly less of a sure thing.

Things got worse at the start of the second half, when City had a corner, which was comfortably claimed by the keeper and launched downfield, where Hollingdrake slotted it past the keeper. Some of this action has been caught on video. Alas, not the important bit.

As the game wore on, tempers frayed on and off the pitch. The vocal set moved behind the dugouts and managed to upset the home management. Attentions then turned to the playing staff, with individual performances being singled out for special attention. (edit: this has continued on their forum. Not sure how beneficial this is to anyone, but then the myopic and opinionated football fan is what forced me in to ground hopping anyway)

A second yellow was shown to Lancaster's midfield "enforcer", before Harrogate broke away one more time to confirm their victory. It can be viewed here, sort of. There is a reason the BBC never employed me, that's all I'm saying.

All in all, not a great day at the office for The Dollyblues. With Halifax beating Prescot Cables, the race for promotion is really hotting up in the Unibond One North.

Postscript: the gig was bloody fantastic. I love Spike.
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