Herne Bay 1 v Whitley Bay 2Gate : £6 superb value !
Ground: Excellent ground, three decent covered stands with lots of charachter ,very scenic and i loved it. 9/10
Food: I had a Fry up with 'Bubble and Squeek' in town near the sea front - 7/10
Match Enjoyment: Excellent match, great atmosphere, both sides really going for it, a draw probably a fair result but the sting in the tale was decisive 10/10
As i made my way to the south-east corner of England i was welcomed by mist and cold rain, Linda as always had done a beautiful job and i was very proud of her. I parked up and asked a local lady where the nearest bank was , her reply was " million and one banks daaan there darlin' as she gesticulated with her nicotine stained fingers whilst patting her pregnant belly. When i also enquired as to the location of an eating establishment she replied "omg darlin' you're in the back 'n' beyond 'ere". I didnt learn much from this lady except that Herne Bay had over a million banks in the town centre !
|Fry Up in Herne Bay|
Linda told me within seconds ... "turn left in 50 yards and you have arrived at your destination". Linda was not wrong , i suddenly found myself surrounded by stewards in bright yellow bibs, obviously more than the usual amount on duty for home games. I did a u-turn and parked in the nearby street.
From the outside the ground did not look much, but to be fair as you could not see inside just yet due to the metal fencing it was too early to judge.
Once inside you could notice what a gem of a non league ground this was.
A perfect ground for any ground hopper.Three sides of covered stands and the other side with the Clubhouse bar, catering and well stocked shop.
I decided to venture for the bar and on entrance was welcomed by a bar full of Whitley Bay fans already in full flow.
It was here i met Whitley Bay loyal fans , Big Louis, Mickey T, Jeff, and more and great banter was had. The passion they all had for their team was wonderful to see and there was no way they were not going to be here today.
I was aware that Herne Bay had themselves been on a very decent unbeaten run of games until the previous weekend. With Whitley Bays 20 match unbeaten Vase run , either way this was going to be a cracker !
The ground was now filling up and the teams were warming up.
|Whitley Team warm up|
Whitley Bay started the second half very strongly and within a few minutes scored the first goal.
|Whitley Players celebrate first goal.|
It was now Herne who were on top and Whitley Bay were hanging on , you could tell from the groans of their fans that they were under heavy pressure and were about to lose their proud long unbeaten Vase run in Kent.
It was thrilling end to end stuff chances galore for both teams. The two Whitley forwards Chow and Kerr were an impressive partnership. The Herne goalie made two outstanding saves. Then Whitley Bay had a succession of corners , Herne bay held firm. The ball came out to the far corner and the Herne defender was beaten for skill through sheer fatigue, the ball was chipped in the box and Chow took the ball down well, dropped his shoulder and fired home the winner in the 93rd minute !. The sheer deleight shown by the Whitley fans was clearly evident - some fans were dancing on the pitch !
It was a very cruel blow to Herne Bay as extra time was seconds away. They had fought so hard and bravely but you could feel the cruel sting in the tail of this cracking cup tie was down to the experience of Whitley Bays Vase history in recent years.
|Die Hard Whitley Bay fan celebrates winner !|
But as a neutral i was kind of sad for two reasons. Missing out on an extra half hour of cracking football and the chances of a replay and experiencing the company of these great fans.
The celebrations continued long after the final whistle. I also celebrated ! they were celebrations of a cracking game, gem of a ground, meeting wonderful people, being part of FA Vase history and a day that will live long in the memory. What more could a ground hopper want ?