Who Cares? We’re Up!

RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION

Att : 1381


Sutton United – 1  [Ekoku  44]

Basingstoke Town – 2  [Xavier [28] [35]

So, it’s finally all over. Sutton promoted back to the Conference after an 8 year absence and Carshalton staring relegation in the face for the second season running.

What a bloody long season it’s been. I don’t think I can still quite believe that we have won it. It’ll probably only sink in when we get next seasons fixtures. So we trade in visits to footballing meccas like Bromley, Purfleet and Heybridge for the likes of Barrow, Forest Green and Morecambe. Ooooooh can’t wait!

My day started in most crap fashion. As I somehow lost my bank card, leaving me with less cash money than our much maligned neighbours at Colston Avenue. Which is somewhat short of the entry fee required for a match at GGL I fear. A quick call though to the beer posse soon produces a crisp tenner and my entry to the game. The Rains boys were clearly intent on resting a few of the lads in anticipation of the cup final on Monday and thus Mark Watson, Skelly and Naz are all on the bench today, whilst Howells isn’t in the squad at all with Pape starting between the sticks instead.

Starting positions going to Nko & Sammy up front and Sal back to his wide right position. Off we go then! Basingstoke look like they want to spoil our party, as they play some nice footy and attack quickly. Our changed line up takes some time to settle and it’s the visitors who strike first. Veteran striker Mark Xavier races into the box, sidesteps Pape and squeezes the ball inside the far post.

He Hum. This seems to wake our boys up and we go in search of an equaliser. Nko goes closest as he charges clear, picks his spot and sees his low piledriver cannon back off the far post. Salako’s shot on the rebound skips just wide. Sal himself has a chance soon after. A corner isn’t cleared and reaches him on the edge of the box. His fierce shot flies through a crowd of bodies and somehow the visiting ‘keeper manages to push it away for a corner.

Basingstoke increase their lead after about 35 minutes. The U’s back four gets in a muddle and despite Pape pulling off a good stop from close range, that man Xavier is there again to thump in the rebound. Again we push up looking for a goal. But the Basingstoke ‘keeper is having a blinder. His best stop is an amazing save from Steve Watson, whose 25 yard bullet is heading straight for the top corner, that is somehow kept out. Just when we think we’re not going to score, we do. A corner is drifted into the box and Nko gets the finest of touches with his head to direct it into the far corner of the net. Half time also brings news of the Scummers being 1-0 down away to Stortford. A game they must at least draw to stay up. Natrually, this brings a smile to a few faces!!

Skelly replaces Riley at half time as we have a bit of a re-shuffle. This gives us a bit more balance and it shows as we start to do most of the attacking. Sadly a lot of good approach work suffers from a bad final touch or a fortunate bounce in favour of our opponents. The Basingstoke ‘keeper isn’t particularly well tested, with only a handfull of not too dangerous long range efforts to deal with. Naz & Watson appear to try and bolster the attack, but unfortunately it just isn’t quite our day and our guests hold on for all 3 points.

The chaps parade the Championship Shield on a ‘Lap of Honour’ at the end to the applause of both sets of fans. Then the news that the Scummers are leading 2-1 with a couple of minutes to go, brings utterances of ‘Bollocks’, ‘Jammy Bastards’ etc. Into the bar we go, which is stacked. So we move into the Allders Lounge for some breathing space, only to find the aforementioned Shield stood on a table, unguarded!!

Cue our opportunity for much silly posturing with non-league silverware for the benefit of Bob’s camera. Lovely!

PS…Anyone know the way to Forest Green????

Man of The Match : Vince Matassa. Basingstokes ‘keeper. See! I can be sporting!!!

Entertainment Value : 8. Good game for an end of season affair

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