Monday, March 17, 2008

Baker left feeling Blue as Star suffer late agony

Mar 17 2008
Evening Chronicle

Unibond First

COACH Paul Baker can’t believe how Newcastle Blue Star returned home from their UniBond League Division One North game at FC United of Manchester empty-handed.

The Tynesiders, who trailed by two goals from the 12th minute, staged a magnificent rally to draw level, but in stoppage time they conceded another sloppy goal and all three points as they lost 3-2.

“We made a poor start but thereafter I thought the lads were fantastic,” said Baker.

“We dominated for large chunks of the game but we lacked concentration and paid the penalty since at least two of their goals were gifts.

“Overall I believe we played some fantastic football which was a joy to watch, and although we were two goals down at half-time I told the lads the game was there for the taking.

“Once Chris Emms reduced the deficit I knew we were in with a chance, and after Mark Sheeran levelled I told the subs in the last few minutes that we could win it but we threw it away.”

FC United of Manchester were full of praise for Baker’s side.

“They said after the game that we had been robbed and were the best team seen at Gigg Lane for a long time. They weren’t being patronising either,” added Baker.

The former Newcastle Benfield Bay Plastics manager was in charge of the side for the second time with manager Tommy Cassidy still officially on leave.

Baker went on to say: “It’s a bit of a strange position for me but the lads have put in a couple of good performances and I’m pleased with their commitment.

“Nobody has thrown the towel in, which might well have happened given the circumstances and the uncertainty.

“I’ve told them that we must battle for every point and play to the best of our ability until the last kick of the season.

“Nobody is certain what the future holds and we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Tonight, Baker faces another challenge when Blue Star travel to Bradford Park Avenue with a depleted squad.

The Tynesiders took only 14 players to Manchester and tonight miss Scott Bell, Lee Novak, Ben Pringle and Chris Fawcett while Gretna want to recall Michael Tait.

“Hopefully, Ben Webster, who took a knock on Saturday will be okay, but it looks as if I’ll be down to the bare bones again tonight,” admitted Baker.

“One thing’s for certain though, the lads who play will give me everything.”