Thank you very much Dukey for the kind hand-over from the previous blog! Determining on tonight’s result this could very well be the last time I write for Gandermonium. You readers may remember me writing in the Weston-super-Mare entry that Natalie labelled me a “bop” because each time I have written for this lot, doing the games against Bath City and Weston-super-Mare, we drew both of them.
What a ride (no Margate pun intended!) us U’s fans are on at the moment, a 22 game unbeaten run, last four games all won and now with four games to go its looking likely we are going to (hopefully) pip Ebbsfleet to the title and get that sought after promotion to the National League; of course I am choosing to ignore the other “paperwork” issue as I am sure the club are in hand with this. As Rossi Stearn said in a Tweet much earlier on, every game is like a cup final now! As for last week’s win at Maidstone, wow I have never seen anything like it – the celebrations from fans and players at that final whistle is something I will never forget. Moving onto the Margate game on Saturday and even though we fans were thoroughly drenched in the second half, we watched our U’s get yet another win. This was followed by countless people coming up to us wishing us luck and hoping we go on to win the league, even BBC Radio Kent – thanks!
So to tonight’s game – Bishops Stortford, a team sat in mid table and looking very much likely to survive relegation, with no realistic prospect of the play offs. I notice a familiar name in goal for them – Tom Lovelock – a former U’s keeper. I liked him, a shame he never got enough chances but I would no way swap him now for Ross Worner – and as Mr Barry says the best keeper in the league. Sadly we will be missing Wish tonight due to his suspension.
|Got our name on it.|
The team for tonight is as follows – Worner, Amankwaah, Spence, John, Eastmond, Collins [C], Bolarinwa, Bailey, Dundas, Fitchett and Rossi (Stearn).
Natalie has brought her friend Billie tonight, who is attending her second game – most welcome. I just hope she doesn’t get to witness me being a “bop” and we win this one – boy do we need a win again. In what is pleasant Spring conditions, the game kicks off and the first spot straight away by Natalie is the dodgy hair on the Bishops Stortford number 4 adding to the list of dodgy haircuts seen down at GGL this season.
|Where's the other lot then?|
It was in the first 15 minutes where the first proper chance fell to the U’s where Louis John who had a volley saved by Lovelock. There was me now thinking oh great a former playing come back to haunt us and this continued as further chances from Jamie Collins (JC) and Fitchett were again missed…..until seven minutes before half time; after Stortford failing to deal with another Sutton attack, the ball fell to Eastmond who hit a low shot into the net, 1-0, and what followed was the trademark Craig Eastmond celebration that we saw at Maidstone last week in the form of an aeroplane. Apologies readers I did not catch the celebration you will have to rely on Mr Loughlin and his magical picture device for that one.
May I add that Rossi took a number of corners nearby to where we were standing and yours truly got a good action shot!
|Robbo's Man Crush|
Again, as I was on blog duty I stayed till the whistle ending the first half which I jokingly mention to another Steve as he makes his way down to the bar on 40 minutes telling him to have a drink on my behalf. As we head out for the second half I note Beckwith comes on for Louis John. Tactical or was there another reason? I did note the referee – who may I add was another shocking one to add to the collection – previously talking with JC about Louis John’s conduct so obviously this was a precautionary substitution with Louis already in the book?
What endured in the next 40 minutes of the second half was one of pure tension and frustration as it did not look like a second goal was coming and more scarily an equaliser for Stortford thus incurring the “bop” theory about yours truly again. What made matters even worse, for me, was Rossi being substituted on the 78th minute for Slabber – noooooooo! However, with five minutes to go, Eastmond races through the penalty box and is tripped by funnily enough the Stortford number 4 (mentioned earlier) – penalty to the U’s! Cue people with their phones and biting fingernails as JC steps up to take it – duly then coolly slotted home and thus decreasing the tension inside GGL as its now 2-0 to the U’s. One final substitution is made by Dos, bringing Cooper on for Fitchett straight after the penalty scored.
Natalie asks me “How long left” to which I look on the FlashScores app to see we were now in the 90th minute and consequently we begin our walk round towards the dugouts. Thus what happens is halfway walking round the final whistle blows and its game over and cue whooping cheers. That’s three more precious, valuable, important, cherisly (note the GCSE Grade B and A-level Grade B English language coming out here) needed points for the U’s. It might also be noted that an attendance of 1061 for a Monday night game is just amazing to hear. Cue the rendition of the song “wise men say, only fools rush in……” how we love it! Subsequently, this win also saves my blog writing duties for the time being - phew! A fact I related to when re-entering the bar. Maybe I'm not a "bop" after all? (Ok, I give in. What the fuck is a bop? -Ed)
I guess I now have the much wanted, sought after and “proper” privilege (after Dukey’s albeit 45 minute write up of the Margate game), to say that we, Sutton United Football Club, are now officially top of the Conference South, wahoo!! Of course, we still have a game in hand on Ebbsfleet and also a significantly better goal difference which is worth an “extra point”, let’s just also add we still have three games to play.
|Looks lovely that.|
It’s safe to say the atmosphere in the bar after the game was one of joy and happiness; leading me to declare to quite a few patrons in the bar that we are going to do it (he says in all hope). You can certainly feel the anticipation, excitement and joy throughout the club now – from the manager, to the staff, to the players and to the fans. My Dad even had the pleasure to speak to the great manager that is The Dos – go on sir, we can do it – we’re in this together!! So now it’s on to the big one – Ebbsfleet United this Saturday and what I anticipate to be the biggest crowd we’ve had at GGL since the Notts County FA Cup Second Round Tie back in 2011.
I would now like to officially hand over the blogging reins to, er, whoever's next up for Ebbsfleet!
Wise men say……