Off the ‘Firkin’ top again



Dagenham & Redbridge – 0 

Sutton United – 0

Sutton’s short tenure at the summit of the Ryman Premier ended with their first goal-less draw of the season at Dagenham’s Victoria Road.

Our hosts were on an unbeaten run of 8 games themselves and had’nt conceded a goal since January 31st!! Our own little bandwagon had of course been upset with our screw up at Gravesend last Saturday. The ‘Daggers’ had also done us a little favour last week by beating Aylesbury. Which all boded badly for us. So we decided to soften any impending shock to our system by embarking on a small tour of our favourite chain of public houses! One mad dash later and we just arrive in time for kick off….

Both sides tear out of the blocks like lunatics. Passes go astray, and tackles fly in. Naz is on the receiving end in the first couple of minutes and the reckless lunge earns the Dagenham man a yellow card. First our hosts carve out a couple of openings but fail to make anything of them, then U’s react by threatening the home goal. The best opening comes almost right on half time, Naz nips in to receive a throw in. He dummies the defender and smartly spins away, leaving his marker trailing. His low cut back from the bye line is beautifully placed onto the edge of the 6 yard box, just begging to be hammered home. Sadly the closest green & white shirt to the ball is probably on the terrace, worn by one of the supporters as there’s absolutely no bugger in the penalty area to finish.

The second half is the same as the first. A frenetic pace, both sides trying hard but tending to rush things when maybe a little bit of patience and thought might have produced a different end result. Dagenham’s forwards force a couple of saves from Howells, whereas our own frontline is again missing in action. Naz is well known to the Essex boys and is therefore well martialled wherever he goes and Mark Watson is having one of his off days. So much so that he’s withdrawn with 10 minutes left and is replaced by new signing Sammy Winstone (No, I have’nt got a clue where he’s from either!) The stocky little forward then proceeds to put himself about and cause problems for the Daggers backline. U’s step up their assault.

They come close right at the death as a Dave Harlow corner is headed on and looks destined to break the deadlock until England Semi-Pro ‘keeper Gothard claws the ball from under his cross bar and the danger is cleared. In the final minute, sub Winstone has a chance to make himself an instant U’s hero. He finds himself free in front of goal, 10 yards out. Agonisingly his looping shot , beats the stranded ‘keeper but shaves the top of the cross bar.

A point is probably the fairest result, but it does’nt really help our cause great deal as our post match visit to the bar for results reveals that Aylesbury are back on top, beating Gravesend 2-0. Although we are slightly cheered by the news that our lovely neighbours have lost 2-0 at home.

Ho Hum. Off we toddle into the Essex drizzle to continue our ‘World Tour’ of London Firkins….

Man of The Match : Barry Laker. Faultless at the back.

Entertainment Value : 7. Few chances, but good old fashioned million-miles-an-hour footy.

Firkin Pub Count : 9 !! (Gt Brompton St, Euston : Closed!, Kings Cross, Mile End, Holborn, Oxford Circus : Closed -Referb!, Brixton, Clapham Common & of course Sutton!!)

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