Since then, the change has been quicker than a 13year old girl's boy band crush. Cloughie buggered off to FGR, a new keeper & a new forward coming in, with several going the other way out the door. And before we knew it, we were taking 3pts at home against Ebbsfleet, a point at Havant & then a win at Hemel thanks in the main to the goals of that new striker man, Dan Fitchett (a striker. Scoring. For us? Er...)
|Line 'em up!|
So having taken 7 points from 3 games against sides that we thought had 'potential bummings' written all over them a couple of weeks back, we're returning to home turf and are ourselves in the position of the big, in form boys as struggling Farnborough are coming to town. So, awful 1-0 defeat to an OG anyone?
Sorry, force of habit.
They're a funny outfit Farnborough. Having had all their rather public financial issues that have seen them set a rather impressive benchmark for administrative fuckwittery that only Salisbury with their staggering nonsensical circus over the summer have managed to better, they were a couple of weeks back again mentioned in terms of once again changing owners. And not just any owners, oh no. They were apparently being courted by the bunch of fucking wrong'uns who were in charge at Hereford until a few weeks back. Yep, the ones who killed the club owing hundreds of thousands and whose sole proceeds from the entire mess seemed to be a couple of plasma tellies & all the optics nicked from the bar before the council could change the locks.
Conference South eh? Right old laugh innit.
|Odd. And it's got nowt to do with us for a change!|
Having negotiated the late as usual 407 and it's customary painful crawl into town, I then made a tit of myself at one of Nationwide's new touchscreen ATM's by taking 3 attempts to withdraw the required folding to fund today's entertainment and refreshments, I stroll into GGL just as some lovely freezing rain starts to fall. Still, despite the alleged overnight sprinkling of snow, the pitch looks in pretty good nick. I say 'alleged' purely because the snow fell and then had long since pissed off again before I'd emerged from under my duvet at HQ. What? It's not like I wasn't going to be out in the cold long enough as it is this afternoon!
With normal home game duties undertaken, it's time to hit the warmth of the bar. Here we find the usual faces staring blankly at the Newcastle v Hull game on the telly. Christ, even Juan shows up! Who said the Premier League wasn't all glamour eh? There's the usual patter and abuse as we sink a couple before having to brave the cold for 90 minutes, although the pace of imbibing isn't quite up to the usual standard. The reason being, we're well aware that shortly after the final whistle, we'll be piling onto a coach for over an hour to head to the O2 and see local boxer Ricky Boylan fight for an English title.
And an hour is a long time when you've tipped several pints down your neck, if you catch my drift. Especially on a bus we've been told definitely won't have a kharzi.
Still, that's a problem for future us's a good couple of hours away from now and we can't put off heading out into the cold any longer.
Howe, John, Collins, Spillane, Cooper, Wellard, Hippolyte-Patrick, Southam, Fitchett, Gomis, Wishart. SUBS: White, Dundas, Serbonij, Medlock, Binns
|"Baaaaaaby, I'm ready to gooooo!"|
The early stuff on the pitch is pretty nondescript as both sides try to find their feet on a soft surface. It's mostly a midfield clash, but when in the final third, we always get the feeling that we're the most likely to break the deadlock. Louis John provides two decent balls from wide that cause problems in the 6 yard box, one the keeper manages to hang onto and the second is nodded back across by Shaq, but neither comes to owt.
As the half wears on though, the visitors get pushed back more and more as pressure builds from the U's. Ricky Wellard comes more into the contest and reminds us that he and our new striker Mr Fitchett have met before, with the midfielder slipping 2 little balls through the back line for his old Salisbury pal. The first brought a decent save from the keeper following a shot from the angle and the second looked almost certain to open the scoring, but Fitch just couldn't dig the ball from out between his feet and the chance is gone.
So goalless at the break. To be honest, a few weeks ago that would have probably meant bad news. Especially with us having missed a couple of decent chances in the process. Normally as it would have meant tossing one in the last couple of minutes to fritter away the points. But we're seemingly made of sterner stuff these last couple of weeks, so it's with hope in my heart that I take my half time slash and go for a desperately needed cuppa to warm the bones.
We start the second bit a tad sluggishly and a silly foul on the edge of the D gives the Gas meterists an early opportunity. But we needn't have worried. They're second bottom for a reason after all and their man bloots a comically bad effort high wide and handsome of Howe's goal. In fact, the only way it would have caused Aaron and sort of concern was by him cricking his neck watching the effort disappear into the ruins of the old Curva Nord.
|Cold. Wet. Needs a fork.|
Despite this less than scary scare, it's not long before we finally breakthrough. Wish surges forward, lays off to Shaq and he delivers a low ball in. Efforts from Gomis, Fitch & Mickey are all blocked by desperate defenders, but the ball pops back to Beds and he makes no mistake this time, finding the bottom far corner from around 12 yards. 1-0. Lovely stuff! Not only are we winning but I get to generate some heat with some jumping up & down.
It's largely dull after this, with Farnborough sticking to their task but without ever really looking like getting the goal back. In fact, their other real effort of the half is another free kick, which is somehow delivered even more poorly than the one earlier! Oh how we chuckle on the Shoebox at this woeful shooting. We continue to make the better of the chances, but never quite manage to create what would almost certainly be a killer second. A few subs are made with White, Dundo and Binnsy coming on to inject some new life.
More amusement is provided with a few minutes left when Dundo goes on one of those bulldozing runs we love so much. Two Farnborough players attempt to stop him, neither in a remotely legal fashion and both end up on the deck, trampled into the mud before the U's titan can be felled. The first man to attempt this foolhardy task is so traumatised by the outcome, he limps off before jacking it in completely and leaving his mates to see out the last couple a man down. Of course, this also earns him lots of sympathy from the shivering ranks of the Shoebox.
With time almost up, the lads finally put the issue to bed. Again a direct drive from Wishart pushes the visitors back. He finds Spillaine who sizes up to shoot from the edge of the box before laying off to White in acres of space in the box. He greatly accepts the tee up and drives a low shot beyond the 'keeper for 2-0. The final whistle follows soon after and we give the lads a clap before heading into the warmth of the bar once more.
Here we endure a much quicker than normal Strikers are Key draw thanks to our boxing jolly, but there's still enough time to have a quick chat with the returning Wayne Shaw. Who, as he is very keen to point out, isn't quite as fat & round as he used to be. However, he's not so quick to deny that he's worth a million pounds. Welcome back big man!
With all the usual nonsense done, we purchase a couple of snifters for the bus and pile on, along with a bag of leftover pie related goodies from Roses. Of course, being the cool kids, we all sit at the back swigging our beers. Right driver, to the O2 and don't spare the horses. I'm planning on needing a leak in about 50 minutes or so.
Thankfully traffic is light and we hit the car park of the biggest Millennium white elephant on the planet pretty much when expected. Naturally, we rapidly scuttle inside to watch men hit each other whilst we pay a fiver a pint for shit lager. First we settle down to watch another local lad, Charlie Edwards, win his pro debut before the reason we all made the trip, Ricky Boylan's English Light Welterweight title fight. Sadly, despite having what we felt to be the better of things, when it comes down to the judges decision after 10 rounds, poor Ricky is on the wrong side of the scoreline. Although we felt he did far better than one twat of a judge gave him credit for, marking the other bloke the winner by 5 rounds.
Slightly deflated by this, we decide that boxing is rubbish and head out into the bar & eatery area of the O2 itself. Purely so we can avoid paying a fiver a fucking pint on shite. A couple more and a knocked over beer in All Bar One (did we ever mention the first one opened in Sutton? We have? Oh....) was followed by a quick bit of food in a burger place. Here, Wardy ruins the lovely Brewdog IPA I'm supping by assuming I'm on Peroni and ditching the unwanted remainder of his large bottle into my glass. Twat! Still, it says a lot for the Italian beer when on my next sup I can't tell any difference at all.
|Who said 'White Elephant'?|
We meet the rest of the gang out by the bus and we're soon loaded back on board for the trip home. Here a senior member of the party, who shall remain nameless but is the same one Dukey alluded to in his report from Hemel regarding the shocking gamesmanship towards the end of the contest, accuses us all of being big kids that only drink fizzy lager and 'Blue Wickeds' because we're really not keen in partaking in some of his 'fine Irish Whiskey' he has with him in a hip flask. Personally, I'm not fussed, mainly as I can't stand the fucking stuff. And to be honest, nor can the rest of us. Well, except for Greek. Who'll drink any old shit, especially as it's free. This however isn't enough to placate the gentleman in question and he continues to loudly berate us and call our good character into question for much of the journey home.
Needless to say, we'll be talking to our lawyers about this vile slander. Just as soon as we get some lawyers that is. Anyone?
Back in Sutton, Dukey and I bunk through the ground and stride out for the bright lights of O'Niells on the high street as it stops letting people through the door at 1am, even local celebs like us. We fully expect to miss out and when we rock up at 1:02am and get told to do one, we've already pretty much accepted we're going straight for a cab home. Melville's in the provider and we avoid the knife wielding maniac that Wardy bumped into a couple of weeks back to be chauffeured home by the brother of one Bobby Southam, a Sutton United legend from the late 70's an part of the Anglo-Italian winning side. Naturally, this and chatting about the likes of Mickey Joyce etc earns him a nice tip when he drops me back at Gandermonium's top secret volcano lair.
Right, you'll all be delighted to hear his stately Hassocks-ness is back on duty for saturday's jaunt to the magical tropical Isle of Canvey. Mainly as I'm off up to Nottingham to see the missus and have a few beers with her mate Marian. I just hope she doesn't invite those noncey thieving mates of hers in the green tights along again. Twanging their bows all night long, the fucking wrong'uns.