Fan’s View – Gateshead & Morecambe

Article by Paul Beasley Sunday, November 24th, 2013  


Left home at 20 to 11. Travelled south to Kasstad. Rain. Wind. Leaves blowing everywhere. On to coach – best option for travel in the circumstances. Some decent people on board, one being Ryan Williams’ Mum. Feel for her. At least travelling North from 11:30 onwards. Sunny. Not for long. Hour stop at the services. Rain. Lots of it. And more. Gateshead. Rain. Walk to the Schooner Inn. Rain lashing down. Two pints in “the second best pub in Gateshead”. “Pitch inspection”. Pictures of the pitch coming through on Twitter. Awaiting the inevitable. “It’s off”. And still it rains. Back on coach after we discover it’s not parked up where we got dropped off. Rain. Sleet. Snow? Half hour stop. Thursday 1:30 a.m. crawl into bed. So that’s a day and a half leave (annual and flexi) used up, 15 hours wasted, and travel costs all for a couple of decent beers (it was my round next). Oh the lot of a football supporter. I really don’t know how I would feel if I had travelled from Yeovil and booked into a b&b for this one.

MORECAMBE – First half

At least the inclement midweek weather meant no further casualties in action and we were able to start with a strong looking first XI although the bench was alarmingly anything but.

Our performance in this period was a continuation of the magnificent display put on at Field Mill. It was the best seen at the Kassam since I don’t know when. We again had two wide men doing what good wingers do. They were often found sticking to the flanks and running at the opposition at pace. Added to that they picked their moments to come inside, with or without the ball, to telling effect. With Dave Kitson playing as deep as he did this is an essential requirement if we are to get numbers in the box.

I’d almost go as far as calling Kitson a midfielder. Labels of course mean nothing. What mattered was that he again pulled plenty of strings and produced some sublime passes. His work rate was again faultless. Given his age he won’t be running around football pitches for that much longer so I respectfully suggest that Oxford fans appreciate what is on offer while they have the chance.

Danny Rose and Asa Hall were running the midfield (well the bits of it that Kits wasn’t), putting in the hard yards, passing the ball sensibly, and showing no little skill themselves.

Every one of the back line could have been singled out for special praise and yes I am including the fullbacks in that. Defensively they were faultless and they can pass a football.

That Morecambe tried to play football on the deck helped our cause too.

The Shrimps were not happy with our opener, many of them claiming handball against Beano as he got the ball over the line after it came back off keeper Barry Roche. TV replays are inconclusive but clearly show the number 22 having a big handful of our centre forward’s shirt. So if not a goal a penalty and booking should have been the outcome. Me, I’ll focus on a good delivery of the free kick by Hunt and another well won header by Michael Raynes.

Number two came from another Hunt pass, this time a perfect high ball down the line for the lightening quick Ryan Williams to run on to. He’s so quick I doubt he was offside. His control belongs a few levels above League Two.

We’ve had some duffer loanees (Danny Philliskirk playing for a League One team and now scoring a few goals is confusing me) but others that have brought joy to our hearts. I’m thinking Robbie Hall and Lee Holmes here. The gap in class between the norm in the 4th tier and what these guys brought appeared absolutely massive to me. That R.Hall is now a non regular at a championship club and Holmes is doing his stuff a division above us brings home the chasm in quality between the very pinnacle of the football world and where we’re at.

I rate Williams alongside R.Hall and Holmes and again I’d say to our fans come along and enjoy whilst you can. (But bear in mind that he is still a young lad).

Photo courtesy of Steve Daniels                                                                                  (Photo courtesy of Steve Daniels)

The goal was of course converted by our other winger whose influence too should not be overlooked. Riggy nearly did himself a nasty injury on the post as he slid the ball home. I wonder if he would have settled for a high voice for a few days if it had meant he would have had to leave the field at that stage and consequently would have escaped his latest injury setback.

The third goal resulted from A. Hall reading the pass that the “lazy” Kitson had enforced by closing down in his own half. Asa then played a precision pass into Williams’s path as he made a precision run. It was perfect; freeze framing proves it was not offside. I loved the little dink that finished the move. The defender who hared back after it, nearly caught up but didn’t. If he had done, his only option would have been to score an own goal.

MORECAMBE – Second half

I would like to think that our second half display was all down to conserving energy, avoiding injury and seeing the game out as it was all but already won, but I think there was a bit more to it than that.

Morecambe must have had a real rollicking during the break and got stuck in much more from the restart. Our showing, aside from a couple of pleasing moves, was akin to many second halves at the Kassam. This time it wasn’t a problem for any other than the most blinkered and demanding of supporters. The job had been done and when required to perform in order to retain the three goal margin Ryan Clarke did the business.


This is a subject we’ve come back to time and again but really can’t be ignored from a financial perspective. Granted most of our home performances have ranged from average to turgid but surely a top of the league side deserves at least a few more home fans to turn up than did on Saturday. Of course everyone has a right to choose but if people are staying away until there is a change of manager that means their anti manager stance outweighs their pro OUFC feelings. Or does it? Do they feel it is still in the long term interests of the football club for there to be a change? We could debate this forever and a day.
But wouldn’t it be a shame if for the want of the money lost as a result of lower gates we couldn’t afford to say keep Ryan Williams or to bring in another decent loan signing or two.

Which brings me on to:

DISAPPOINTMENT – 2. Another injury

Sean Rigg. We really could have done without this and with games coming up thick and fast its fingers crossed that this is where it ends and that we do not get found out.


Those who sit in other areas of the stadium tend to cast SSU inhabitants as a passionless bunch – I’d debate that to some extent, but that’s a different story.

After our opener there was some activity to my right and eventually a young man was led away. There had been no hint of trouble. I didn’t see what happened but chatted to people at half time who did. Apparently the lad jumped up to celebrate the goal and tripped over the seat onto a woman sat in front. She was shook up and was left with some paramedic types. The way it was told to me was that it was a pure accident but I learned of an allegation that there was a deliberate push. I sincerely hope that neither party is adversely affected by this, that commonsense prevails and the weak are properly protected. May both parties be back at the Kassam Stadium in the very near future supporting the yellows.

Oh the health and safety risks of all seater stadia. Bring back terracing, you know it makes sense.

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