Fenham made it four points from the last two games, with a hard fought win at home to a Newcastle City side who sat directly below them in the Division 1 table. The game began with City racing into a 3-0 lead, which was no more than they deserved. The Dynamo were at sixes & sevens right across the pitch and the visitors were more than happy to exploit this.
Cliff Lyall managed to stem the tide slightly, when he chased down a City defender and forced an error near the corner flag. The Fenham leading scorer brought the ball to the edge of the box before crossing, where Jim Ellis was arriving; somehow the ball found it’s way in to the net. Lyall was credited with the goal by the officials, but who got the final touch is anyone’s guess.
City came back once more and reinforced the three goal deficit with another defensive mix-up allowing an easy finish to make the game 4-1 at the break. Some serious home truths were told at half time and with those words ringing in their ears, Fenham decided to ditch the 3-5-2 system that had been so lacking in the first half, in favour of a more conventional 4-4-2. The switch resulted in Tunesi moving to left back, with Miller dropping in at right back, from his midfield role.
The change in system seemed to give the home side a much needed shot in the arm, as Ellis and Arkle in the centre of midfield had greater passing options; with player-manager Greeves wide on the right and new signing Bradley Smith on the left. Mark Harrison would have another new signing with him at centre back, as Scott Skelton made his début alongside the Fenham skipper.
If the front two of Lyall and Chris Thirlwell had been quiet in the first half, it would be a different matter after the restart. Within minutes of change, a poor kick out from the opposing keeper dropped to Thirlwell and with his weaker foot, he found the back of the net from a good 25/30 yards out. The ball fell perfectly for a strike to catch out the keeper and the DFFC striker found the back of the net with ease. The Dynamo could feel the tide turning and when Greeves was upended in the box, Thirlwell stepped up from the penalty spot to shorten the gap to 4-3. Game on.
Sensing that the away keeper may be susceptible to a long range strike, Lyall smashed a great effort from the left angle of the box to find the back of the net to level the game at 4-4. Fenham well and truly had their tails up, with the game all square, the referee awarded a free kick around 25 yards out. Seeing his chance for a hat-trick, Thirlwell wasn’t going to let anyone take this one from him and he duly delivered. He bent a superb left footed strike around the wall, which gave the keeper no chance. It was a goal of the highest quality and one which would have deserved to win any match.
But this still wasn’t over as a contest. Substitute Chris Hewitson made it 6-4 with a fine volley from the edge of the area. With only his second touch of the ball after coming on, it all came from a weak punch from the City keeper that fell perfectly for the Fenham man to find the top corner with his right foot. At 6-4, the game seemed won, but Farndale would be picking the ball out of his net once more as the away side refused to stay down. The final 10 minutes saw the home side keep tight and with the pitch getting more sticky as the game went on, the heavy legs following the winter break were starting to tell.
In the end, the reshaped back four of Fenham stood strong and held out for what had seemed a most unlikely win at 4-1 down. Michael Greeves was named Man of the Match for his industry down the right and two assists. Special mentions also go to the tireless Jim Ellis in the centre of the park, and to hattrick hero Chris Thirlwell.