Match Abandoned 45mins – Floodlight Failure
FOREST GREEN ROVERS – 1 [Some Bloke 35]
SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Dack 34. Harlow 39]
So, the long awaited trip to Forest Green Rovers arrives (Where? Oh stop it…). Our first Conference away game in eight years and man were we planning to enjoy it. After some brief research, we’ve found our destination on the map (well, not exactly, but we found somewhere very near to it…), planned the piss up and we were off.
First stop Bristol. Where we cane 4 of the 5 planned Firkin stops we’d pencilled in for this little trip, then it was onto Bath to hit number five (the Forum) before finally a dash, relatively speaking, up the road towards somewhere called Nailsworth and the home of Forest Green Rovers FC.
As we wind down the opposite side of the valley to the ground the floodlights perched up on hill stand out for miles, how chuffed were we to see ‘em? Well little did we know how less magical those bastard pylons would be considered around an hour later…
Tonight’s line up only contains one change. As thought, Danny Brooker can’t travel and he’s replaced in the line up by an ex-Scummer. I forget his name for the mo, but it was the git who got their 1st 2 in that Memorial Cup thingy. Here we go.
As with saturday, the lads got stuck in and battled like demons from the start, but no chances of any consequence come either way for both sides. Again the main thing that strikes me is the real lack of bite up front from our hosts. Sure, like Hereford, they look solid & organised and build well, whilst looking dangerous going forwards, but when it comes to the final ball, it just isn’t there. Is it because they’re bang average or is it because it’s the second game and they’re still settling in? Dunno! Again, this gives the lads confidence though that they’re not outmatched and we start to make inroads. The main outlet is down the left flank with Dack & Skelly causing the home defence a bit of a headache and it’s from this side we get the very welcome opener.
A good run from Skelly sees him play a ball inside to Simpson. His attempt at a turn is halted and a free kick is awarded. Harlow takes it, but rather than deliver in the expected manner, he quickly slips the ball to Dacky who’s nipped in unnoticed on the left. The jovial midfielder takes a touch and places the ball between the stranded ‘keeper and his near post into the onion bag. We go apeshit of course. In fact, we’re still largely going apeshit a few mo’s later when we look up and see the game has not only restarted, but an FGR forward receives the ball just inside our box and places it low into the far corner. Well, that’s about as welcome as a fart in a lift, the lead has lasted all of about 30 odd seconds. Fucks sake.
Thankfully, the boys look as pissed off as we are with their minor slip up having gone and taken the lead. Back to square one it is though. But just 4 minutes later and we’re going nuts again behind the goal. Skelly charges down the left, beats a couple of challenges and delivers a deep deep cross to the back post. It seems to be going nowhere, but Colin Simpson launches himself full stretch to reach it and produce a perfect cushioned header back into the danger area. The ball drops on the edge of the 6 yard box and is met by skipper Harlow, gleefully sliding in to restore our lead. We can’t believe it. We’re away at a mid-table conference side and last years trophy finalists and we’re winning. For the second time! If we can just hold on til half-time, we’ll have a good shout here.
Hold on we do. And Mildly elated we stagger round to the other end to eagerly await the second 45 minutes in the way that you do when you’re 2-1 up at HT in the second game of the season. But then disaster strikes and all that adrenaline is drained away. Five minutes before the restart, the lights go out. Literally. At first, I can’t quite fathom it, but yep, it’s a fuckload darker than it was not so long ago and the lights have definitely gone out. Those magical looking, shining beacons atop the hill that had guided us here had failed us, as if mocking our achievement in the first half. Tannoy announcements follow informing that they’ll try ‘em again in about 10 minutes, we assume “When they’ve cooled down”. “That’s bollocks” is the expert opinion from our resident sparks amongst the party, Bob & Paul. Finally, at 9.15, a flicker of life atop the pylons is greeted by a mocking cheer from the slightly pissed travellers and then five minutes later, the fuckers go out again for the last time and within a couple of minutes the tannoy bloke is back to announce the inevitable abandonment.
I feel so gutted. To have travelled all that way, fight like that and to actually be in front. It feels like we’ve lost. I just can’t describe it properly. That and we’ll have to schlep all the way back down here on another evening to do it again!
A decision is made. At a time like this, beer is the one and only consolation. Without delay, we jump back in the motor and steam down the M4, before swinging off at Swindon where we manage to squeeze in a couple of games of pool and some much needed pints in the Footplate & Firkin.
I’m still pissed off though. S’pose I’ll have to wait til saturday for that first win eh? Still, we’ve played 2 mid table sides and neither has shown anything special. We could feasibly have been sitting here with 6 points now with a bit more luck. If we keep battling, come May, Sutton United will hopefully remain in the Natiowide Conference.
I’ll drink to that.
No line ups etc. It was abandoned innit. They don’t count!