Football from the Vault: Salford City vs Gateshead FC (19/01/19)
Without a doubt one of my most memorable days following Gateshead Football Club. This game was at a time where the off-pitch shenanigans were really starting to take over but we certainly made the most of the day out.
Steve Watson had just left the club to take charge at York City leaving Ben Clark to be manager for the first time. The club was also under a seemingly never-ending transfer embargo due to the incompetent and delusional ownership. Joe Cala and his cronies were intent on driving our hard-working, honest club into the ground - the less said about the owners at the time, the better. They don't deserve any spotlight.
Let's look back at this great day out. I got an early train from Wolverhampton to Manchester Piccadilly. Just over a 1 hour journey up the country which flew by with cans of Champigneulles continental lager in hand.
I got into Manchester for mid morning and met the boys Dan and Sam. There's a stunning photo of Sam at his glorious best featured in this blog, posing magnificently at Salford's stadium. What a beauty.
I don't seem to remember us stopping in Manchester too long before the game. We had plenty of time before the match kicked off but we decided to head towards Salford anyway. We hopped on the tram and away we went and got off at Salford Quays. What a coincidence, there was a pub right outside the stop at Salford Quays, The Matchstick Man. We went in there and had a good few pints.
If you have ever been to Salford's ground, you will know that it is nowhere near any transport stops. I believe the nearest Metrolink is about a 30 minute walk away. So we got an Uber from The Matchstick Man to the ground. The Uber ride was made enjoyable by entertainment provided by Dan which should never be talked about ever again.
This was my first visit to Salford's Peninsula Stadium. I think it looks great to be fair. I mean it does slightly resemble a shoe box but it's quite quirky. I also loved the floodlights and how they are shaped like Salford's club crest. That's a nice touch.
We still had a bit of time before the game kicked off when we were at the ground so we went into the clubhouse bar. I'd read beforehand that only home fans were allowed in but they were quite welcoming and had no problem with us going in. I only remember speaking to a couple of Salford fans in there but they were pleasant.
The clubhouse was also lovely and you can tell that they've spent a bit of money making it look good. They get a lot of stick for having the Class of 92 in charge but you can't fault them for what they have done. Salford City is a project and they've done excellently climbing through the leagues, recruiting good players and developing the stadium, clubhouse and facilities.
The only bad experience in the clubhouse was that crook Joe Cala approaching us and trying to chat about how amazing the team had been doing as of late. Yet he was the one driving the club into the ground. Irony at its finest.
The atmosphere in the away end once the game kicked off was class. Over 100 Heed fans made the trip all singing and chanting Ben Clark's name showing support for the new boss.
We knew it was gonna be a tough game. Salford were competing at the top of the league challenging Orient for the title. However, we did have a bit of hope after turning them over in the 2nd game of the season 2-1.
Unfortunately, we went 1-0 about half an hour in.. A Lloyd-McGoldrick penalty after Aynsley Pears brought down one of their players in the box. Right before halftime we decided to get a head-start on the queues for a halftime drink. As we were walking past the main stand full of Salford supporters Scott Boden scored and made it 1-1 on the stroke of halftime. Sensational scenes.
Second half we were on the backfoot for what felt like the entire 45. They were just loading the box for the last 10-15 minutes swinging the ball in from everywhere but we held on. A 1-1 draw away at a team who ended up getting promoted and we had took 4 points from them in both fixtures. It really was a fantastic result to cap off a great day out following the Heed.
Also, seeing Mike Williamson successfully execute a roulette and skip past a bunch of their players was something that still doesn't quite seem real...
We got a taxi back to Manchester after the game to have a couple final drinks in a Manchester Wetherspoons before I got the train home. What a day though.
Off the pitch, this season was just torture. Seeing your football club get completely ripped to shreds due to sheer incompetence however, the team of players were had were just outstanding. Every game, every single one of them fought for the badge. Could not have been prouder of that team for sure.
Salford: Neal, Wiseman, Touray, Walker, Hogan, Nolan, Piergianni, Pond (Rooney 69), Green, Lloyd-McGoldrick (Glynn 80), Gaffney (Rodney 86)
Goals: Lloyd-McGoldrick (28' Pen)
Gateshead: Pears, Tinkler, Kerr, Williamson, Mellish, Barrow, White, Hunter, Maloney, Boden, Rigg (Salkeld)
Goals: Boden (44')
Attendance: 2,055 (111 Gateshead)
Thanks for reading! More away day experiences to come next week!