Nick Gray reflects on Birtley game

After last night’s game against Birtley Town, Bay manager Nick Gray spoke to reporter Harry Salkeld.

“At the end of the game the emotions were high. A 5-1 drubbing, that’s what it looks like but it wasn’t. I don’t think the score tells the full story.

“I thought they were very good the first 25 minutes, the better side and got their noses in front, but then I thought we got back into it and 2-1 at half time we were on top the last 15 of the first half you’re right we kept on going all game.

“Before the second half I said to the players we needed to start on the front foot but credit to Birtley, I thought they started better than us in the second half but we grew into it and we had a couple of good opportunities at 2-1 to make it two each and I was confident and if we’d got that goal I think we could have went on to win that game

Commenting on Birtley’s style of play he said “You’ve got to match them for work ethic because they’re a very workmanlike team with a load of togetherness. They work hard for each other and you’ve got to match that and you just hope you’re the better footballing team on the day in difficult conditions. But listen I thought it was a good game at half time, an entertaining game and I thought the next goal was really key and unfortunately we had a couple of moments that went against us and it changed the way of the game.”

What was the message to the players at half time? “Just make sure we keep 11 players on the pitch, that’s what I said and in this day and age, once someone’s on a yellow card it’s one of these where you just bring them off the pitch because young James - he’s just about nine stone wet through bless him - he’s made a challenge. I certainly don’t think it was a yellow card. I just think they were all over him getting his second yellow and then, we looked alright after that even down to ten men I thought we were still well in the game. But then the penalty is an absolute joke. When the opposition are laughing and players on their team are saying he just went down, I just thought it was an embarrassing decision.”

Going back to the dismissal of James McGeorge, his reaction was “I just think it’s harsh, two tackles and he’s got two yellow cards. For me you’ve just got to let the game flow and for me the game’s going, it just takes the enjoyment out of it. I’ve seen games where both teams were committed, and there were two committed teams there. Do you think that’s worth 5 or 6 yellow cards in that game with a sending off? I don’t think so, not a chance, two committed sides for me and moments in the game just spoilt the game.”

Whitley had claims for a first half penalty so what were Nick’s thoughts on that?  “Well what the referee said at half time was he thought it was more of a dive than a foul, but if that’s the case why not just book the player? I’m not going to talk about officials because all they say now is about giving a three match stadium ban if you don’t say the right thing, so you can’t have conversations with them.”

Many fans in the ground were annoyed by the way visiting players surrounded the referee and urged him to give a red card to James McGeorge but the manager’s response was  “I’m not going to blame the Birtley players. I think it’s what football’s like now and one team, when someone’s on a yellow card, they’re going to try goad him and some people rise to the bait.

“Yes, disappointing but we kept on going to the end and Birtley were a good side. They work hard for each other and they’ve got a great result today and I look forward to the game at their place.”

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