Penalty Heartache For Yellows!!
By Keith Inkster
The Yellows entertained local neighbours North Shields Athletic in the semi-final of the ENYD Cup, after three weeks without a game they were hoping they could put their indifferent league form to one side and grab a spot in the final.
Recent new signing Kai was added to the squad as all of the boys were in attendance. The three week break clearly didn't help the team in the first half as they put on a poor display and looked rusty. They still created some chances but the majority were poor decisions being took by the players, especially around shooting from distance rather than looking for the killer ball into Owen or Astin, who both spent the first half living off scraps. The away side broke the deadlock first when a long ball caused some indecision at the back, which allowed the forward to latch onto and toe poke home from the edge of the box. The system of 4-4-2 was scrapped at half time as a 3-4-3 system was deployed, with Kai coming on for his debut. The changes seemed to work as Tynemouth were much the better team in the second half and were constantly on the front foot with Elliot being commanding in the middle of the park, Kai causing damage down the left, with James and Owen being a nuisance too. You could sense the equalizer was coming and from a Lewis corner the ball fell to Lucas on the edge of the box to hit a cracker over the top of the keeper to pull it back to 1-1. The home sides tails' were up and 5 minutes later after some good play from James, which won a free kick, top scorer Owen cracked the free kick, which took a slight deflection to sail past the keeper. With the lead intact the boys should have been good enough to see the game out as a few chances were squandered especially from inside the box but they allowed the visitors to equalize. A quick free kick caught United out as a ball was played to the edge of the box to be smashed in to the top corner with only 5 minutes remaining. The home side still though could have won it when Kai raced through a few defenders only to see his effort go wide from a tight angle. So extra time it was, similar to previous round, but this time not the happy ending. A long range free kick from the visitors went in and the cup dream looked gone but then a moment of magic, as after James teed up Owen (pictured) he brilliantly lobbed the keeper from outside the box to bring it back level. The second period of extra time seen Tynemouth bombard the away goal and on another day would have scored two or three but on this occasion the ball wouldn't go in. The keeper made a wonderful save to his left to tip a shot wide, a goalmouth scramble was not finished off and then as the referee was about to blow James did great to wriggle free on the edge of the box, find himself some space only to see his shot cannon off the post. Then it was down to penalties and who could hold their nerve. Sadly, the visitors seen it through 4-3 despite Kai, Lewis and Harry all scoring for United. Elliot who started the game at centre half moved into midfield in the second period and once again had a fabulous game, since his signing at Christmas he has been excellent and is proving a great addition to the team. Defeats and occasions like this is what the boys can learn from and with seven league games to go in the Premiership, survival is the aim. At present the boys are not taking their chances and making far too many individual mistakes which are being punished, this is what needs to change to get back to winning ways.