SURREY SENIOR CUP FINAL
Sutton United – 3 [Akrour 25, Harlow 44, S.Watson 80]
Carshalton – 0
Played @ Metropolitan Police FC
The answer to the title is of course a resounding ‘No’, just in case you were wondering. You weren’t? Oh ok then. So, Sutton swept to their 3rd Surrey Senior Cup Final victory over their local rivals with consummate ease at Imber Court, encountering minor resistance from the the Bobbins who had only escaped the drop into Division 1 by the narrowest of possible margins last week.
Having finished the season rooted in the bottom 3, which traditionally means you exit via the u-bend, they are being reprieved by the fact that Wealdstone’s ground was not deemed up to standard in time to allow them a return to the Premier and replace our neighbours. The lucky, lucky bastards! So after that little bit of good fortune, the assembled throng clad in Choccy ‘n’ Amber arrived at the Plod’s gaff wanting the rather fortunate Bobbins bubble well & truly burst with a damn good hiding along with some carnival football on a fantastic surface thrown in for good measure. We’re not asking for much really….
We’re surprised to see Gwynne starting today. His gashed foot obviously not deemed serious enough to keep him out of this encounter, either that or he didn’t want to miss out on the party. The dislikable half of the borough run out to a bit of cheering, which is the only indication we get all afternoon that they actually have some support here. In contrast, Champions Sutton trot out to a raucous chorus of the old fave ‘Champions, Champions’ and a shower of yellow balloons and confetti, which is nice. From the off, our neighbours start with a clear game plan. Stifle us as much as possible, double up on Skelly and Watson when they get wide to prevent the crosses coming in and to hoof the ball as far forward as possible for ex-U Junior Haynes to run ontofeed off the scraps. This first 2 points of their somewhat ambitious plan appear to work fairly well for the first 15 minutes, with their midfield coming out slightly on top and the aforementioned Skelly and Watson being immediately confronted by 2 defenders each time they look to get a cross in. Sadly, the big boot aspect of the plan is less successful. Either the hoof isn’t very well directed or if it does go anywhere near Haynes, Laker and Gywnne are there smartly to deal with the treat without too much trouble. Haynes does manage one shot on the turn on the one single occasion he actually gets away, which flies narrowly over the bar, but apart from that the Bobbins threaten little else.
Once the 15 minute high tempo stuff blows itself out, the U’s start to find some space, begin to get the passing game going and the should-be-relegated half of the Borough future in this game starts to look distinctly dodgy. Harlow and Harford begin to dominate in midfield and their incisive balls into the front 2 of Naz and Mark Watson start to stretch the Maroon & White back line more and more. This in turn knackers their tactic of smothering the Sutton wide boys and the Skelly, Steve Watson partnership are now delivering some of the best quality balls in I’ve seen in bloody ages. Only some desperate defending from the Bobbins prevents us from scoring and the floodgates no doubt opening. This fact does not escape yours truly & the other pissheads on the terrace. “Good stuff this.” Comments one “all we need is a goal now”.
And hey Presto!!! Within a minute of our sage like musings, the boys are in front. A laser guided Richard Skelly cross is whipped onto the forehead of a soaring Naz. His deft little header loops over the grasp of the scrambling keeper, under the bar and nestles in the back of the net. Of course, we understandably go a bit mental at this point. A goal against this lot is to be celebrated well, but one in a cup final? Get in. This is of course the biggest spanner in the works for the Scummers limited game plan, as they now have to abandon their tight stifling style even more and open up a bit to chase the game. More space means more chance for us to dominate proceedings.
The gaps do indeed start open up and the dangerous supply from wide becomes more & more frequent. A Paul Harford drive from 20 odd yards is inches wide with the ‘keeper not even in the same postal code as the ball and a Mark Watson shot is then desperately smothered by the ‘keeper soon after. Then just when we start to think the second goal probably isn’t going to come before the break, it arrives. A minute to the break, some nice play on the left sees Steve Watson play a quality little ball in for Mark Watson, who twists and turns, loses the defender sufficiently to slip the ball low across the six yard box for Dave Harlow, arriving late, to poke home. More anti-Scummer hysterics ensue on the terrace. Get in there! 2-0 up right on the stroke of half time, perfect. Only a complete no-show by the lads in the second half can stop our Double winning juggernaut now surely?
Unfortunately for the other lot, that no show doesn’t materialise. Sutton are in a far more relaxed mood after the break and are more than happy enough to allow the Scummers limited attack to throw themselves at our back four, looking for a way back into the contest whilst we simply look to counter when space allows. Again most of their attacks are literally launched from their own half, mainly aimed at Haynes. Barry Laker is now in the groove and has the nippy reject firmly tucked in his pocket. What he rarely misses, Berry is sweeping up behind and deals with without any fuss. Again because of this the Bobbins (or the ‘Dodos’ as I’d declared they should probably now to be known) are restricted to long range efforts none of which really test Howells reflexes in the Sutton goal. Meanwhile, U’s now break at will, stroking the ball around and letting the White shirts do all the chasing. Mark Watson comes close to adding to our tally with a header that the ‘keeper somehow manages to push over when a goal seems certain.
The icing on the cake of that extinction level event third goal comes though with about 10 minutes to go. Again some good work on the left sends Mark Watson scampering into the box, where having won his tussle with the defender this leaves him free to drag the ball back into the path of Steve Watson, whose low shot squirms under the body of the ‘keeper and in. 3-0 and we celebrate again, knowing that’s sealed the deal and there’s definitely no way back for our neighbours now. They realise this as well and revert to type, as some crude late challenges start to fly in and they try to earn their customary scumbag red card. The worst of the bunch is from another ex-U, Robson whose frustrated lunge at Nko rightly earns him a yellow card. Sadly though despite their best efforts, the Scummers manage to end the game with a full compliment of 11 players on the pitch and all their officials on the bench,which makes a nice change for them.
What they don’t end the game with though is the cup and a load of winners medals and another pitch invasion at the final whistle from the joyous U’s faithful greets our League and Cup double. The Bobbins then also have the galling scene of their long serving ex-skipper, Andy Riley hoisting the cup in front of their very eyes. Which is nice! Then just as the customary team photo with the pot is being taken, JR steams in and soaks all and sundry with a celebratory bottle of Champers. Have some of that.
Right, we’re all off to get really really pissed I think.
Oh, before I forget, has anyone found out where the fuck Forest Green is yet??? No?
Man of The Match : Nassim Akrour. Tormented ’em all day long.
Entertainment Value : 9. Some nice play from the boys on a surface I wish we could take back to GGL.