Saturday, September 26, 1981
Game of two halves
Woke up late to leaden skies and a torrential, steady downpour. The prospects for the match looked poor.
At two I rang Athletic up. The match was definitely on, so at two-thirty Dad and I set off. It was the first soccer match he'd been to for years and I was glad he was going, and prayed there'd be no trouble. The Shed was packed, and got even more so as people flooded through the broken fence from the Easterby End to avoid the rain.
Athletic started well, attacking toward the Easterby End and the Whitehill goal in typical fashion; Whitehill looked quick and sharp but could rarely get in shots. After half-an-hour, Athletic got a free-kick on the edge of the box; virtually every Whitehill player in there, and up steps Wild, shoots the ball straight over the defence and past the statuesque goalkeeper. 1-0! I catch a glimpse of Dad’s obviously delighted face. Several more chances after this but then it was half-time.
The rain was steady and continuous for most of the second half and Athletic looked less confident and Whitehill started to outpace the Athletic defence making them look ragged. Sure enough, just before the hour, someone missed a cross and the ball was volleyed into the net. Then almost immediately, McArdle got a penalty. Unbearable tension and—wham!! Straight over the crossbar. Whitehill dominant now, the Athletic players looking jaded and slow, and it was a siege. They looked to be holding out for the draw when, right at full time, Broome took the ball and shot home for the winner. Total jubilation, everyone, clapping and leaping about. It was an unfair result but I don’t care!
Dad seemed to have enjoyed it, and when Robert rang he said he was glad he had. I’m going to Hydebeck next week.
I’m really getting into my Floyd album. . . .