I’m A Cider Drinker…

NATIONWIDE CONFERENCE

Att: 2839



Yeovil Town – 1      [Long Haired Bloke 45]

Sutton United – 2    [Watson 65, Laker 75]

So, having finally got off the mark in the W column just last weekend, Sutton of course won their second Conference game in a row on Saturday with a stunning 2-1 success at early league leaders Yeovil. A side who until that afternoon hadn’t conceded a goal, let alone lose at their isolated (and bloody windy) Huish Park fortress. Fucking football eh?

It’s an early morning cruise straight through to Yeovil through sporadic crappy weather and we camp in a nearby Hungry Horse pub to feed our hungry little faces and get some beer down our necks to settle the nerves for the game. Then come 2.30 and we zoom over to the ground and actually manage to obtain a programme on entry. A first for some of the assembled crew this season, mainly due to the fact we’re usually rocking up at places like this 5mins before kick off. We discover as the teams are announced that the suspended Paul Harford has been replaced today by Andy Riley. Nervous looks are exchanged amongst the Shoebox peeps. Don’t get us wrong, we love the old Scummer, but against the best side in the division? Hmmmm.

Early exchanges though show that the U’s aren’t going to lie down and be crushed beneath the Cider swilling pacesetters welly boots. In fact our first real chance comes after 11 minutes. Some good work by Sammy sees Mark Watson in on goal. Unfortunately his shot hits the legs of the advancing ‘keeper. Yeovil of course knock the ball around well as befits their lofty position, but so are we and we’re looking far from out of our depth in this one.

Most of the home sides forays break down around our area, with the Warren Patmore completely sewn up by the hugely impressive Laker. The 6 foot odd forward is being constantly out jumped and out foxed by our Barry and looks more like a Sunday leaguer than an England Semi-Pro International with a good scoring record at this level. They cause little threat until mid-way through the half when a low strike from inside the box flies through a crowd of players, comes back off the post and is hastily cleared. Phew!

Then a minute before the break, Sammy tears off down the right flank, leaving his marker for dead. His low ball into the box finds Mark Watson in literally yards of space, not a defender in sight and only the ‘keeper to beat. We hold our breath as Watso takes a touch. Then scream in frustration as his frankly fucking awful shot from 10 yards out almost hits the left hand corner flag. Fucks sake!!!

Even worse follows barely a minute later. Mark compounds the miss and for some reason plays the ball back towards his own goal. It goes straight to a Yeovil player, who bursts towards our rapidly backpedalling defence and fires in a powerful low shot. Howells does well to save, but parries only to the see the rebound nodded into the now unguarded net. Cheers Mark, miss a sodding sitter and then set ‘em up for a goal they’ve barely deserved. Nice one.

We’re understandably a bit pissed off at the break. We’ve made this lot look bloody average and then gifted ‘em a goal. If ever there was a game to typify our start to this campaign, this is it. But then again, that seems to be something of a pattern in this division, if you don’t take chances, you can bet your last shilling the other lot fucking will take one of theirs at some point.

The second half starts with the boys getting stuck in again and looking to get the goal back. A few dodgy moments for the home side and then a breakthrough. It ain’t pretty, but we frankly don’t give a toss!! A scramble ensues after a corner and the ball bounces to Mark Watson 6 yards out. He shoots  on the turn and again hits the legs of the ‘keeper. Fortunately for him, the ball rebounds to him, hits his shin and trickles into the net inside the post. It’s another absolute munter of a goal from the Sutton forward, but once more we’re cradling it like that gold newborn again and  going absolutely apeshit. No I mean we lose our minds, charging down the steep terracing to greet the pile of Choccie & Amber shirts forming behind the net with Watson at the bottom.

This lifts the boys and us. We start making some noise, urging the team on and win a string of corners which have the home defenders desperately trying to clear their lines with a fierce wind in their faces. Patmore is by now starting to thoroughly amuse me with his appalling attempts to break free of the Sutton’s ‘No Escape’ security system, otherwise known as Barry Laker. The big forward frankly looks shite and he knows it, with his theatric tumbling cutting no ice with the ref. Our persistance finally pays off in the best way possible with about 15 minutes to play. Dave Harlow goes and takes a right wing corner on his own for a change. With that hurricane gale barrelling down the ground into our faces, it’s a good idea. He whips an inswinger into the box, the wind predictably catches hold of it and with the pace and the wind it appears to be heading straight in just inside the far post.

It doesn’t get that far as the superb Laker charges in and bullets it home with his nut from about a yard out. We go predictably mental again. Once more we charge down the terracing to jump around like nutters at the perimeter wall, with the lads also going a bit crazy. Until today, the country boys hadn’t conceded a single goal here and here we were 2-1 up. Right, hold onto this you wankers!!

This fires Yeovil up and they push forwards looking to save their unbeaten home record. Naturally, being half decent, they provide us with 2 heart stopping moments in the last 10 minutes. Gareth Howells first saves brilliantly from a 1 on 1 with a home forward and then leaps to his feet to acrobatically claw away the follow up. The cheer from us is almost as loud as for the goals! Then with a couple of minutes later, a deep cross to the back post finds the consistently anonymous Patmore who’s actually managed to lose Laker for once and his diving header finds the net. Sadly for the big galoot he’s about 5 yards offside, which explains how he’d found so much space from Barry. Thankfully the Lino’s spotted it and the cheer form our end as the ref disallows the goal IS louder than the ones for the goals.

A couple of minutes later and the whistle goes. We charge down the terrace a final time to greet the lads and congratulate ‘em on a fantastic and very surprising victory. We don’t win here often (try about once a decade) but to be the first side to win here this year AND be the first away team to score is bloody brilliant. We depart to the car to begin our pub crawl. Well the others do, Paul and myself charge around the car park whooping and hollering like utter lunatics!!! I LOVE IT!!!!

Following this, Colin laments how times have changed down here and that had we done that back in the 80’s our corpses would probably be left dissolving in some barrels of particularly ripe scrumpy before the afternoon was out.

Off we go then on an celebratory extended detour home in some frankly shocking weather via Plymouth for 2 Firkins and Exeter, home of the fabled Fitzgig, eventually reaching Sutton and civilisation again at around 2am Sunday morning.

3 hours later, my alarm goes off and I’m up to catch my 8.20 flight to Stockholm for my weeks holiday. Ho Hum, price of fame I s’pose.

Still, we bloody won!

MAN OF THE MATCH : Barry Laker. Made Patmore look a complete muppet.

ENTERTAINMENT : 9. We don’t win here often!

TEAM : Howells, Riley, Berry, Laker, Brooker, Skelly, Mackie, Harlow, Dack, Winston, Watson SUBS : Ekoku, Salako, Little, Rowland

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