Well, that completes the set. We've been off for rain, freezing temperatures and now snow. No doubt fire, brimstone and a plague of locusts are next up.
So, with a match postponed we all know what that means. Archive report time!
To be honest, I wasn't sure what to go for today. I was lacking in inspiration somewhat, so decided to simply sit down in the basement of Gandermonium HQ, stick the kettle on and just leaf through the many dusty tomes of past nonsense we have stashed away down there until something took my fancy. Then, after what seemed hours, there it was. And what a pleasant surprise it was to find it as well, as I thought this was one of the reports lost when my old PC died ages ago.
It comes from the incredibly pissed up, seaside tripping, first Conference South season. Football wise, we weren't at all great that year, but my word we had some fun! This match is only really memorable for one single reason and if you were there, you'll know what I mean.
I'll say no more than this: Eastbourne Away. Dom O'Shea. THAT goal. Those celebrations.
|The most stupid outings always start quietly....|
EASTBOURNE BOROUGH 2 SUTTON UNITED 2
Conference South - 26th March 2005
After the heart stopping, artery clogging, fingernail devouring stressful 90 minutes of last saturday's visit of Maidenhead, a nice quiet, relaxing trip to the seaside would no doubt be the perfect rest cure. Sadly, when it comes to Sutton United visiting the seaside, our trips are anything but quiet and relaxing.
So a long day of drinking and stupidity will have to do instead then. What a shame!
The crew assembles at East Croydon nice & early to assure we’re on the 9.33 to Eastbourne. Unsurprisingly the train is late, but as it’s only a few minutes, we’re not that bothered. Once under way and even before we’ve reached as far as Gatwick, Greek produces his little treat for the journey down. 2 pints of homemade Vodka jelly. Everyone gets a healthy portion, scoffs it and then settles back to enjoy the rest of the journey to the coast.
|Ignore him and his evil gloop. He'll go away eventually.....|
There are several other travelling U’s fans on the train it turns out and they elect to join the pre-match festivities once we arrive in our destination.
Eventually, we’re off the choo-choo and wandering up the high street. We leave the non-weekenders in the Terminus pub and go in search of our B&B, which we locate surprisingly easily given the amount of Vodka jelly sloshing around inside us. So, bags dumped, it’s back to the pub to get started on some vital lubrication of the tonsils.
With a fair bit of drinking done, people are getting the munchies, so we attempt to adjourn next door for some grub as the Terminus doesn't do food. Sadly, the place has instated a ‘no colours’ policy since our last visit and thus we won’t be getting any scoff here! A quick wander around the corner and we spot a small cafe\bar place called ‘Venus’ and it seems that they couldn’t give a monkeys either way that we’re wearing football shirts. So everyone settles back for their munch, keeping an eye on the Boston-Yeovil match showing on the big plasma screen on the wall.
Sadly, the proprietor’s assumption we’d be sticking around for the England game is dashed when we cough up and head outside to the nearby cab rank. Sorry mate, but we’ve got bigger fish to fry down the road!
Arriving at the ground, we’re in plenty of time for a cheeky short before kick-off. Attempts to secure programmes are unsuccessful. They’ll be in the ground we’re told. Heading in after necking the drink, we find they’ve sold out. Bugger. Ho hum. I’ll settle for 3 points instead........
As is the expected norm, the U’s side has changes forced upon it. Elliot, Vansittart & Scarborough are out injured and Jermaine Hunter has apparently called in sick. So Craig Watkins starts up front and JR is forced to call upon reserve teamers Greg Andrews and Dominic O’Shea to fill empty spaces on the bench.
Proceedings are slow to pick up and neither side manages to make an early impact and it’s pretty dead until around 17 minutes in when Corbett loops a header over the target from the corner of the 18 yard box follownig a corner from the right. It’s not until the 22nd minute that the hosts reply, but it’s a close run thing!
A ball down our left flank finds the no6 in a little more space than we’d like. Gonsalves makes up the ground quickly and does enough to close the man down. But he still gets his shot off, forcing a save from Wilson. The ball then runs loose to another red shirt at the back post, but his effort is somehow deflected into the arms of our recovering ‘keeper.
|Priory Lane, Eastbourne. Definitely not the Maracana.|
Despite their lofty position up in the play-off spots, Eastbourne flatter to deceive a little. We’d certainly expected a lot more from ‘em. We’re not exactly entertained by the home ‘band’ down the side of the ground either. Their monotonous bashing simply serves to annoy most of us and actually drowns out any singing their fans are doing. Now, a drum, when played right, is ok to help produce a bit of atmosphere and help provide tunes for people to sing along with. If you're Brazilian and there's about 60 thousand of you that is.
They sadly meet neither criteria, so as this isn't the Maracana please just stop it you twats. You're giving me a fucking headache.
Despite having the wind at our backs, the U’s fail to trouble to stout Borough rearguard much during the rest of the half. Corbett thumps a dipping half-volley straight at the ‘keeper and Gray whips a deep hanging cross in that the ‘keeper just claims right under the crossbar before backing into his own upright. With half time approaching, Gray ends a good little series of passing by swinging a shot just over the bar and then we go and do it again. Give away a goal right on the break.
A quick ball out from the back, a pass behind the defence down the right and the Borough man gets to the byeline before pulling the ball back for the no10 to sweep the ball beyond the reach of Wilson and into the far corner. Bollocks.
Unable to return to the bar at half time so we can drown our sorrows with a swift beverage, we head up to the far end to await the restart where the discussion is the same as it always is when we’ve given away a goal right on 45 minutes. We’ve got to cancel it out as soon as we can or we’re in big trouble.
Fortunately, it seems the lads have drawn the same conclusion as us and start the second 45 minutes very very brightly. And within 2 minutes of the restart, we get the opportunity to pull ourselves level. Akuamouah accepts a short pass from the left, right on the edge of the 18 yard box. He’s already being manhandled by the defender before he tries to turn into the box and understandably goes down under the weight of his marker.
Thankfully for us, the ref is right there and has no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Laughably, the perpetrator tries to argue the toss, but it’s too late to cry about it, the damage is done. We take great pleasure in pointing this out to him. Matt Gray holds his nerve and rifles the spot kick to the ‘keepers left & into the corner of the net. It’s a priceless equaliser and we celebrate it as such behind the goal.
The hosts react to being pegged back and try to restore their lead. On 58 minutes a cross in from the right drops loose at the far post. Wilson reacts quickly and makes another of those timely stops. 4 minutes later and a free-kick from our left finds a red shirt jumping highest at the back post, but he directs his header straight at our man between the sticks. Sutton then enter their best spell of the game, exerting a fair bit of pressure on the Eastbourne defence. But despite this, we fail to create anything clear cut in front of goal. The best opportunity is a wicked curling free-kick put in from the left by Gray that a defender heads clear from in front of goal despite the call from his ‘keeper.
We're hoping JR sees we’re getting on top and will introduce a fresh pair of legs, possibly in midfield, to push us on for the last 15 minutes or so. But, the change doesn’t come and with 8 minutes to play, we’re left to rue that fact.
A long throw into the box is cleared, but immediately clipped back over the defence. Their nippy and on form striker Odubade gets in behind our advancing backline, but it looks like it’s Wilsons ball. What happens next just sums up our season to a tee. Wilson somehow makes a hash of the easy catch and the striker manages to bundle it past him and then into the empty net.
Once again, it looks like an individual mistake has cost us valuable points. The goal is Odubade’s last touch and he’s subbed straight after. JR reacts and throws on striker Dom O’Shea in place of Honey. The midfielder doesn’t seem particularly pleased with the decision, which is unsurprising when you consider he’s had to run his tits off again to cover for the leggy Scott Corbett in midfield. Dom is obviously keen to impress and straight away he’s involved down the left, nipping into a bit of space and delivering a ball into the box. It lacks pace and the ‘keeper gathers without any problem. But it’s his second contribution that's the important one.
With the 90 minutes pretty much up and injuries to go, Gray plays a pass in from the right touchline for Watkins. He in turn feeds it along the edge of the box for Akuamouah. Ed does well to hold his man and turns to slip a pass into the box. O’Shea gets in front of his marker, controls the ball and from a narrow angle gets his foot round the ball delivering a low effort to the near post.
|"Nope, it's no good. His head just won't come off......"|
Now, 99 times out of 100 an experienced ‘keeper like Hook would deal easily with such a relatively run of the mill effort, but somehow to his horror the ball somehow squirms between his legs and trickles over the line, sparking wild celebrations amongst the travelling fans behind the goal. Dom sets off on a celebration run to the side, before checking & legging it back towards goal before disappearing under a huge pile of team-mates and supporters.
Again, the ‘Tom Hark’ tune the home PA announcer has played after each of their goals rings out around the ground, but again like in the cup tie back in October, it’s the U’s fans singing it mockingly back to them.
The home side are shell shocked by the goal and there’s simply not enough time remaining to respond anyway and the ref blows for time, much to the delight of us lot behind the goal. Somewhat delighted with our unexpected point, we stumble back into the bar for a well needed drink and to find out the England score. A good few bevvies later, it’s a cab back to the B&B in town for a shower, change and back out for the evening to hit the bright lights of Eastbourne.
We return to the Terminus for much beerage, where we discover that our club of choice around the corner, Kings, have a BOGOF deal before 11pm. Naturally, we fully intend to take advantage. So with 20 minutes to the deadline, Miller instructs me to 'Bog Off' and I neck my beer to dart round the corner undertake my pathfinding duties for the rest of the troops.
I make it in with 10 to spare and then thoroughly piss off the barman serving me by requesting 36 bottles of fizzy pop, meaning he’d have to uncap 72 of the buggers. He looks at me to process the ridiculously large order, then checks his watch to see what the time is. It's at this point he sighs, calls me a cunt and starts emptying the fridge behind him of Smirnoff Black! See below for some evidence.....
|I think that'll do for starters. Keep 'em coming barkeep!|
This supply of booze gets the party properly started and we boogie the night away inbetween making loud proclamations of manly love about a 17 year old reserve striker. Then somewhat worse for wear, we eventually leave at kicking out time around 3am and head for the kebab place just round the corner.
My Cheeseburger tastes particularly sweet and only the following morning do I discover that it actually wasn’t mine as I'd not ordered anything, let alone paid for it!
So, if you were in the kebab place in the early hours of sunday morning and some bastard nicked your cheeseburger order...........yeah, that was me. Sorry!!
Note - The celebrations pic above was pinched from Google, but I'm fairly sure it's from Paul Loughlin's excellent 'From the Lane' site. If so, sorry about the accidental theft of your intellectual property Mr L!