Five weeks after the last meeting between Shildon and Forrest Hall, both sides have remained unbeaten since the Shildon victory. But only one team could be the victor in this cup clash on the edge of Newcastle’s training base in Benton.
The last time Shildon visited Forrest Hall, the home team came out of the traps at one hundred miles an hour pressurising the team when in possession of the ball.
It looked as if Shildon had not learned from the previous meeting and found themselves two down within the opening ten minutes.
Both came from long throws, as the ball landed to a Forrest Hall player, on both occasions Shildon players were not close enough to an opposition shirt to block a shot.
Like rabbits caught in headlights, the team had no idea on how to combat the threat of a fit football playing side.
With Forrest Hall pressing at every opportunity and their forward line doing an excellent job of putting the Shildon back three under pressure, the tactics again paid dividends, picking up on another error before slotting the ball home.
Shildon were 3-0 down and looking ragged, and to rub salt into the wounds, the final goal of the half came from a free header that crept just inside the post. Everything Forrest Hall managed to get on target seemed to find the back of the net.
After the half time team talk, the team effectively knew the game had gone and continued in the same vein: not close enough to opposition, out muscled in the tackles, letting players run past, not tracking back and desperate to hear the full time whistle.
The team did spark into life when there was a scuffle at one of the corners and it has been rumoured some of the Shildon players managed their first sprint of the day to get involved.
With the host side having a player sent off, the Forrest Hall team still managed to score another two against a flat footed Shildon who, for most of the game, were looking for someone to drag them out of the mire and were pleased when the final whistle eventually came.
It was a disappointing defeat, but the manner in which the side folded was was more important that the result.
The team ran out of ideas and weren’t prepared to roll the sleeves up and fight for each other.
A loss of form by a few players has a major impact to the whole team. If the attitude doesn’t change it could be a long while before they see another three points.
It may be a blessing that next week is a free week, giving the side time to lick their wounds and work on solutions.
Their next opportunity to put things right will come when they travel to Boldon Colliery Tavern on the 25th November.