RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
Att : 585
Slough Town – 1 [Hammet 85]
Sutton United – 2 [M.Watson  
Sutton finally gained revenge for that awful opening day defeat at home by a Slough side which had been put together much like a hungover Sunday outfit. Eg. At about an hour’s notice.
Again though, they made hard work of putting away plainly awful opposition. The trip to Wexham Park was tinged with feelings of trepidation as the U’s had only ever won on 3 previous visits out of 20 attempts, coupled with the fact that a certain sad, fat, grey old man by the name of Graham Roberts now managed our opponents.
He’d suffered defeat only once at the hands of a Sutton side in several meetings. So the omens were not good and neither was the pitch come to mention it. It was a bit of a state, so much so it made our own maligned dung heap look like a billiard table. Thus was no doubt the reasoning behind leaving Naz & Salako on the bench and moving Nko up top alongside Mark Watson. It appeared as if little football was going to played today.
As expected the day started badly. Only 7 minutes on the clock and Berry goes awol in the face of a Slough attack, Laker tries to cover, but is unable to prevent the shot. Howells does his job with a good stop, only to see the recovering rearguard screw up the clearance. The ball drops at the feet of the home No 4, who makes no mistake from 10 yards. Thankfully the lino has his flag up for off-side and we have an early reprieve. Sutton take advantage of this and start to get a solid grip on the game from here on in.
Nko is causing the oppo No 3 serious grief and Mark Watson also looks lively. The midfield of Steve Watson and Harlow are running the show & winning their battle without too many problems. And then comes the breakthrough. A long ball forward is met by Ekoku, whose flick on sends Mark Watson away between the two home centre backs, he cuts inside a desperate challenge and slots home from about 8 yards. 1-0 to the good guys.
The first half carries on in much the same vein with Slough fighting a rearguard action against the Sutton onslaught. Unfortunately most of the moves are made down our left flank, where Steve Tallboys manages to deliver one of the worst passing displays seen in recent memory. Every time he receives the ball, the resulting pass is either woefully underhit, straight at a Slough defender or way too long for anyone to get on the end of. This wastes a fair bit of posession.
The start of the second half reveals that our hosts have made a couple of changes. The No 3 who Nko had been slaughtering for the first 45 had moved to the opposite flank to ‘deal with’ the rather awful Tallboys. This made no difference, as just 5 minutes in Ekoku is away down the line again. He delivers a pinpoint ball straight onto the head of an unmarked Mark Watson, whose header floats over the ‘keeper and sneaks in under the crossbar. 2-0 and it seems as if the home side will now fold.
Sadly our dynamic management team are clearly distressed at the pain & suffering caused to the Slough Team, Fans, Board of Directors etc by our comfortable 2 goal advantage and promptly order our boys to ‘pull down the shutters’ and settle for the win rather than go on a viking like rampage that will lead to a twelvety-nil win. Now as anyone who has watched the U’s this season will clearly know, we are totally incapable of any sort of stout defending, let alone the sort that involves shutters. Nevertheless, sit back we do and us paying punters get to watch the previously pounded Slough pound our goal from all angles for the next 35 minutes. How they manage not to haul themselves back into the game is beyond me, as rank defending allows the home side attack after attack.
A couple of good saves from Howells keeps the 2 goal margin intact, but our inability to keep a clean sheet and the pressure finally tells 5 minutes from the end. Gareth makes another good stop only to see the ball thumped straight back into the net by the Slough No 10, who our back 4 appear to have regarded as no immediate threat, by leaving him all on his own in the 6 yard box.
2-1 and with 5 minutes left our heroes are looking to chuck away 2 valuable points in any manner possible. But somehow despite more late pressure they hold on to all 3. News filters through to us outside the ground as we head to the TV-less bar, that St Albans have lost 2-0 at home to Gravesend. So we’ll head home slightly happier and a phone call in the pub back in Sutton reveals Oldham have snatched 3 valuable survival points away at York. Unfortunately, Sunday morning shows that Aylesbury are back on top after giving Boreham Wood a 6-1 kicking, although our much loved neighbours recent run of good form ends with a 3-1 home defeat to Walton.
So all in all, not that bad a day.
Man of the Match : Gareth Howells – Quality in the face of shite defending.
Entertainment Value : 7 – For the 1st half. Some good stuff. 3 – For the 2nd half. Bollocks.
FIRKIN PUB COUNT : 2 (Slough & Paddington)