The FA trophy provided an opportunity for entrenching the North-South divide as the Mighty Saints hosted Harrogate FC. Some wax lyrical about whippets and flat caps in very bad Yorkshire accents while TLF has the sense to keep quiet her desperate hope that the Harrogate players will heard across the pitch performing their best Alan Bennett impressions, referencing Dame Thord and perhaps coconut macaroons for good measure. This is of course a ridiculous notion, Bennett being from Leeds not Harrogate. Even so you would have thought they might have had Betty’s Tea Rooms logos on their shirts.
There was fortunately much to distract TLF from these little disappointments. It was all change in the shop with our erstwhile shopkeeper and programme editor on day release, free to roam the terraces to his hearts content. Barry had come off the bench to produce a fine substitute shop keeper performance, putting himself in the frontline of a scarf shortage, selling his own Saints neck apparel to a Harrogate fan desperate for a souvenir of his trip Sarf.
The scarf shortage made for a quite a few chilly necks that afternoon. TLF was in the market for a replacement scarf (the previous one being AWOL; another unfortunate casualty of pre Xmas TLF bonhomie) as was Ray, although his claims that a cold neck would lead to pleurisy, were TLF assumed the beer talking rather than some previously hidden medical expertise. For once TLF wasn’t speaking Stella; making a nod to moist January with a teetotal and indeed teatotal afternoon. Apparently I was also looking a bit weak at the back. Although after some consternation Hatboy assured me that this was a comment on Lesta’s defence rather than the TLF posterior.
Harrogate sit second in the Oop North equivalent league to the Mighty Saints but unlike the residents of Clarence Park they are full time professional players. Not that it showed on Satday. Saints were up for it, Harrogate seemed a bit mardy and injury prone and it wasn’t a total surprise when Saints went one-nil up.
Have you noticed how time slows down once you’ve got an unexpected one goal lead and you can’t double it no matter how hard the team tries. Nails are bitten but we were starting to get a bit excited about the next round. A MISTAKE. OF COURSE.
In the third and final minute of injury time the bloody Northerners bloody equalise. We are beyond gutted and at the final whistle the players look utterly deflated. Opportunities for ‘upsets’ are rare and must generally be grabbed with both hands. Well, feet as I guess technically it would be handball….And it proves to be the case as Saints and a hardy fifteen fans travel to a wintery Harrogate on the following Tuesday night and lose five nil.
According to the interweb Harrogate is the happiest town in Britain. I bet.
Ee by gum Fox