Hebburn Town boss Scott Oliver admitted to mixed feelings after Saturday’s game against Team Northumbria.
Oliver, and the Hebburn committee, had appealed during the week for the community to rally around the cash-strapped club, as it faced an uncertain future.
And the town, and wider non-league footballing public, certainly responded as a superb crowd of 281 1turned out to watch the Hornets – a huge increase on the attendance in Hebburn’s last home game when only 16 paying fans watched them against Thornaby.
Unfortuantely, the players couldn’t respond on the pitch, putting in one of their poorer performances of the season against the league leaders as Team North ran out comfortable 3-0 winners.
Oliver admits he was disappointed with the display, and hopes the bumper crowd will give his team another chance to impress between now and the end of the season.
He said: “What an incredible day it was.
“The attendance was absolutely fantastic and just shows the power of the media. I was blown away.
“Unfortunately, the display was shocking, but that’s football sometimes.
“I think the situation got to some of the players.
“We are way better than we showed on Saturday and hopefully some of the crowd who came along will stick with us and come again.
“We asked the town to get behind their football club and they did not let us down.
“A massive thank you to everyone who turned up and we sincerely hope that you will come again.”
Team Northumbria took the lead with a goal against their usual gameplan, which involves building from the back, starting with their goalkeeper.
However, this time Steve Mundy took advantage of the wind to launch a ball deep into Hebburn’s half where leading scorer Ben Dibb- Fuller pounced on a mistake by Scott Wallace to plant the ball wide of Steve Hubery in the Hebburn goal. Route one football at its finest.
Hebburn enjoyed a brief period where a shot from Chris Feasey was well blocked after 20 minutes and shortly after Feasey found Channon North in the box with a clever ball but the striker was unable to get a shot off.
Team North continued to apply the pressure with the strong wind behind them and another long ball let Dibb-Fuller in and only a great stop by Hubery and a good clearance by Kris Summers prevented them from doubling the score. However, the resulting corner led to another goal when Dibb-Fuller volleyed the ball home for a clever second goal.
With Hebburn trying desperately to keep the score down to two going into the break and the advantage of the wind in the second half, their opponents struck again just before half-time with a third goal from Ross McKeown.
Hebburn raised their game in the second half and enjoyed far more possession, but rarely troubled goalkeeper Mundy.
In the 63rd minute, Hebburn’s pressure paid off when they were awarded a penalty as Mundy pulled down Kris Summers but skipper Channon North side-footed the ball well over the bar.
With time running out Hebburn suffered another blow after 75 minutes when Wallace received a nasty eye injury and had to leave the field; with all substitutes already used the Hornets were down to 10 men and Team North had no problem holding out for a comfortable victory.