Played at Abbey Road, Cambridge won 1-0
This was my first official away match for Gateshead and I had been looking forward to it for quite some time. Although I had covered most of the matches at the end of last season when they played at Hartlepool etc they were still only home games so they wouldn’t count as an away match.
I travelled down on Friday after I had finished work and I headed to my friends house in Wilburton (it’s just a 30 minute drive from Cambridge’s ground). Got to say that the journey down was bad due to heavy traffic around the Doncaster area. It was a pity that my mate (Thompa) couldn’t go to the match but he had to fly to New York on Saturday afternoon for work, must be a hard life.
I had received a couple of texts from Jeff Bowron (Gateshead’s media manager) about what sort of shots he was wanting etc. Now I felt a bit of pressure but I knew that if Gateshead played as they had done in the last home game then I would be able to get plenty of required shots.
I got to the ground, as I would usually do, an hour before kick off and headed to pitch side. I wasn’t sure where the players tunnel was so I headed to the dug outs. It wasn’t long before I saw the tunnel as Cambridge’s goalkeeper came out to do his warm up.
It was soon after that I saw George Spurs and he came over to talk to me and then James Marwood came over (he actually seemed pleased to see me) it seemed though that he had a major problem as he didn’t have his socks sorted out and he needed them sorted so he dragged George away. Shortly after the rest of the lads came out to train and as soon as he saw me Jamie Chandler came over to say hi. This sort of thing to me shows how down to earth these lads are if you talk to them they will try and make time for you, I just can never imagine that a Premier League player would do that.
I did see Ryan Donaldson but he admitted later on to me on twitter that he didn’t see me, I didn’t realise that I had lost a lot of weight and became invisible, still if I don’t see him before I’ll catch up with him at the last game of the season.
I had a good chat with Rob Ramshaw, we talked about a couple of reserve games that he played in last season and one was the cup match at Bishop Auckland when it was freezing cold. He’s a good lad and I reckon he has a great future ahead of him.
I asked around which way Cambridge usually kick off first half and I was told it was toward the stand where the away fans are at. I really hoped that this was going to be true as I didn’t want to have another long walk as I had done recently. It seems that Ben Clark won the toss and decided that they would kick toward the away fans. I do have a conspiracy theory that he saw me get myself settled at the other end and decided to kick the other way knowing that I had to do the long walk. As I say, that is my conspiracy theory.
Unlike the last home game against Hereford I didn’t take many photos during the first half but Cambridge played really well and Gateshead had to defend a lot. The Heed did get a couple of chances in the first half but I found that most of the photos I got were at a distance.
At half time the other photographers had a bit of a laugh with when we mentioned my long walk but at least I knew where I’d be at for the second half.
The second half was better photographic and play wise as Gateshead started to push on more. Before the second half kicked off I took some photos of the travelling Heed Army, there was only 27 there but they certainly managed to spread themselves out in the away stand.
Gateshead came close a couple of times to equalising and Adam Boyes missed a good chance with a flying header, I was happy that I captured his effort but felt sorry for him that he had missed.
I have to also say that I was very impressed with the Cambridge fans and the club as they certainly made you feel welcome. I did notice that the club have a rent a dug out for the day. I did wonder if this could be something that Gateshead could offer to fans but not sure if it would work at the international stadium.
Overall I enjoyed the away day experience and I hope that I can do it again sometime.
Equipment used: Nikon D7000, Sigma 170-500mm f5-6.3 lens, velbon monopod, Peli 1510