Tadcaster Albion v Bridlington Town, Monday 10th April 2023, 3.10pm

I’d thought about going down to Ashton Gate for the Boro game, but it has been switched to a tea-time kick-off and the thought of travelling back to Teesside from Bristol afterwards on a Bank Holiday Monday was sufficient for me not to think about it too seriously. Instead, I drove down to Tadcaster for a match in the eighth tier Northern Premier League Division One East. I’ve been to a few grounds in this division as it’s where teams that are promoted from the Northern League tend to find themselves.

Tadcaster is great as it has that brewery smell of mashing grains and boiling wart. Or at least the area around their Ings Lane ground does. The John Smith’s brewery provides the backdrop to the pitch and whilst I’ll only drink a pint of Smooth if it’s pretty much my only option, I’m happy to inhale the production aroma all day long.

It was nine quid in, which is about par for this level and I called into the clubhouse for a chip butty that led to a conversation with the girl behind the counter about the respective merits of ‘spread’ ‘spreadable butter’ and ‘butter’. We agreed that ‘spread’ is the least desirable of the three, yet that was exactly what I got. The chips were good though and, with heavy drizzle coming down, I took the butty and a coffee to the covered stand behind the goal at the brewery end.

There was a ten-minute delay to the kick-off as an elderly lino, who perhaps hadn’t warmed up as thoroughly as he might have done, pulled a leg muscle when over-vigorously checking the goal net for holes. One of the away staff was roped in for flag duties. I’d have thought that there would be a fourth official at this level and maybe there was. Perhaps his duties were considered more difficult to fill than running the line.

I found myself sitting behind the Bridlington coach driver and he filled me in on the respective merits of the teams. That was two conversations with strangers in the space of ten minutes. Maybe I’m getting more sociable these days. He told me that Tadcaster were bottom of the league and already relegated, with Bridlington destined for mid-table whatever happened. Perhaps this was why everyone was happy to go ahead with a replacement linesman.

It was an excellent match. Tadcaster went a goal up early on and then doubled their lead midway through the first half. Bridlington had plenty of chances though and kept the pressure on, pulling one back from the penalty spot fifteen minutes from time. Tadcaster finally cracked in the final minute and conceded from a header lofted into a crowded box. For a nothing game, there was far more emotion than you’d imagine with the home players slumped to the floor and Bridlington celebrating as if they had done far more than nicked a point against the side propping up the table.

That wasn’t everything though. As Bridlington pushed for the winner in added time that they clearly thought was on the cards, Tadcaster broke free and the ball was squared to their Polish striker who finished it off to clinch the win. It was now the turn of the Bridlington players to drop to their knees and for Tadcaster to celebrate as if they’d been promoted.

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: