A rather sudden and torrential downpour just before the game started last week could have been a portent of what was to happen on the pitch by the end of 90 minutes. When the rain was at its hardest you could barely see the the other side of the ground from the changing rooms.
Onto team matters and despite some ‘left over’ suspensions from last season – Kieran Duff-Weekes, Steven Turnbull and James Moore all missing – we had pretty much the same squad as finished last season with manager Lee Jewett being able to retain quite a few players. Added to the squad were Jason White from Willington, Kieran Alderson, Tom Goundrey and Owen Stephenson from Spennymoor Town as well as a returning Vinny Gash.
Resplendent in new strips for the season, Brandon kicked off in bright sunshine befitting the August day that it was and both sides tested each other out in the games initial stages. The first chance of the game fell to Lewis Martin for Brandon following a free kick that deflected off the wall. He latched onto the ball but his shot was low and wide of the mark.
We maintained a bit of pressure but this was to be our undoing. A long high clearance from midway inside the Ryton half sailed all the way to our box. ‘Young’ Declan came out to meet it but a wicked bounce sent it over his head. Unfortunately for us there was a Ryton player still running on and he gathered the ball and slotted it home into the empty net. 1-0 to Ryton – just 12 minutes gone.
Picking ourselves up we attacked again a long range first time ‘lob’ from Ryan Burton almost caught out the ‘keeper who had headed out in the first place. And then following a Brandon corner there was a bit of a scramble in the Ryton box with the ball eventually reaching Jason White but his little ‘dink’ went wide.
Immediately after this though a quick ball from defence splits our back line on the right. Racing along to the edge of the box the ball is shot across the 18 yard line to be met by a Ryton player who’s first time shot is hard and low. Declan manages to get a hand on it but the ball hits the post and goes in. Two nil down after 19 minutes.
From the 20th to the 39th minute my notes indicate that we had a further three ‘half chances’ without really testing the ‘keeper that much and Ryton had one where Declan made an ‘easy’ save. Then on 39 minutes Ryton went further ahead. A lovely ball from just inside our half on the left was met brilliantly by the Ryton player who had run onto the ball in our area. He controlled the ball first time and with not one defender near him was able to place his shot passed the ‘keeper for 3-0.
Again, we showed determination and thought we had a break through on 40 minutes. A rasping shot from the edge of the box by Vinny gash looked to be going in until the Ryton ‘keeper somehow got a hand to the ball and tipped it onto the post and away. Just after this he was forced into another great save from Dan Pearson. Ryton weathered the pressure and just before half time their own play created another chance and a shot from the edge of the box went through a crowd of players to make the half time score 4-0 to Ryton.
Obviously we had to come out for the second half and at least try and grab ‘something’. We tried earnestly enough but no matter what we tried it just didn’t end up with us scoring. We had all the pressure, the territory and some more ‘half chances’. Again, their ‘keeper pulled off a tremendous save to keep us at bay from a Luke Thompson header. You just sensed – if the score line already wasn’t proof enough – that it just wasn’t going to be our day. As we pressed Ryton tried to hit us on the break, but rarely managed to get into our box – our dominance was that much. Unfortunately, however, as the clock ticked over the 90 minutes, they hit us one last time on the break and went round Declan to make it 5-0.
A really, really tough result to take. In essence Ryton had six shots at goal – and scored with five of them. Normally you might say they were more clinical – on this occasion I’d say they were more lucky. Good to see the players keeping going despite the demoralising score.