FA TROPHY 2nd ROUND
Salisbury City – 2 [Shepherd 57, Sales 83]
Sutton United – 5 [Winston 8, Watson 33, Ekoku 68, Rowlands 86, Harlow 87]
Apparently Salisbury has the most pubs per square mile in Britain. Woo hoo! My kinda city!
A late start caused by Mr Chalmers oversleeping (again!) and us having to go and get his lazy arse rather than meet at the Fielder. We finally arrived in Salisbury at around 12.30 and set about trying to find as much obscure scrunge as possible. This we manage quite well.
On arrival at the ground we’re greeted with the sight of the official England team coach, decked out in it’s ‘Nationwide’ livery and the St Georges cross. Hmm, what’s that doing there? Hang on, it’s got a sign in the front window with ‘Sutton United FC’ on it!! Bloody hell! Looks like Mr Evans travel sponsorship has come up trumps again.
The ground is another newie. Miles out of town and very modern. What has been built is quite impressive. An all in 1 stand that joins seamlessly to the covered terracing on the side and around behind one goal. Sadly the effect is spoiled a little by the 3 foot wide terracing along the opposite side (which backs onto a large desolate looking field!) and behind the other goal. This causes us to take almost 10 minutes to negotiate passage to the opposite end. Still, at least the stewards were nice enough to lay the flags out on the bank behind the goal for us!
Not a lot happens early on until a ball over the home defence sends Sammy scampering clear into the box. He draws the ‘keeper and places the pall past him into the bottom far corner of the net. Yahoo! 8 minutes on the clock. Not bad boys! This sets the trend for much of the half. The home defence is being severely troubled by Sammy’s relentless running and even Watson’s pace is hurting them. Our boys are well in control, veterans of almost 4 months of Conference trench warfare style footy, the home side are’nt being allowed to settle.
Salisbury’s first attack some 20 minutes in sees a shot fly narrowly wide of Andy Little’s far post. Then just as the home team look like they might start to give us a game we hit ‘em with a classic suckerpunch. A carbon copy of the ball that produced the opener again finds Winston racing into the 18 yard box. This time the defender is close enough to prevent the little forward from tucking away the opportunity himself, so having drawn the ‘keeper once more off his line, he slides the ball to Mark Watson who has charged in completely unnoticed and the forward strokes the ball into the unguarded net.
Just before half time, Sam has the chance to finish the game as a contest near half time, when he again races onto a through ball. But the ‘keeper is quick off his line to deny him with his legs.
So half time and 2-0 up. A discussion between the mildy inebriated beer monsters decides that we’ll rack up 5 against this lot, no problem. So that’ll be a replay on Tuesday night then!!
More pacy incisive attacking at the start of the second period forces a string of corners which come to little. Then the home side haul themselves back into the contest. A wide player squirms past Skelly out wide and fires the ball low accross the edge of the 6 yard box from the byeline. It evades several U’s and Salisbury players before being poked in at the back post by a lurking striker. Rat’s cocks. 2 up, cruising and now we’ve let ‘em back into it. Oh dear! The home crowd senses their lads might be in with a shout. But about 5 minutes later, a poor goal kick by their ‘keeper reaches Sears. He plays the ball through for Watson who races into the box. His progress is halted by the combined efforts of a backtracking defender and the goalie. Unfortunately for them, the ball breaks loose accross the face of goal and Nko Ekoku, who’s only been on a couple of minutes, flies in and thumps the ball into the empty net. Phew! Minor panic over!
Or so we think. The game dies a little with the home side now battling for every ball, trying to find an opening to get them back into the game once more. Then with about 10 to play, our defence gets caught pushing up and a ball over the top is recieved by a Salisbury attacker. He enters the box and fires past the exsposed Little from 12 yards. Again the home fans raise the noise a little, thinking maybe they might rescue something from the match. Sadly it’s their turn to get caught on the break. Pushing up, looking for an equaliser, Harlow breaks up an attack in midfield and knocks the ball wide to Nko. He charges off past his marker and delivers an excellent low ball into the near post from the corner of the box. His teasing pass is met first time and hammered inside the near post by fellow sub Rowlands, despite the attentions of a chasing defender. 4-2, 5 minutes to go, even WE can’t fuck this up!! Bugger! Did I really say that?? Oooops! I should know better really.
The margin of victory is increased in the last 2 minutes with a real cracker. Dave Harlow breaks out of midfield and charges into the Salisbury half. With little cover, the ‘keeper is again exposed and he comes off his line to try and narrow the angle. The skipper sizes up the target and in full stride curls the ball wonderfully past the stranded custodian and into the bottom far corner. A real peach to finish the day with.
So the ref blows for time and we bugger off back into town to continue our scrunge hunt. More beer and chips later, we head to Winchester for a swift pint in the town’s Firkin pub. It’s all very lesuirely.
God, we’ve got Morcambe next week and it’s a loooong way! Oh well, see ya there.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Dave Harlow. Bossed midfield and scored an absolute belter.
ENTERTAINMENT : 7. Not a classic, but 5 goals away from home is always nice!!
TEAM : Little, Riley, Brooker, Berry, Skelly, Harlow, Harford, Sears, Dack, Winston, Watson SUBS : Ekoku, Baker, Rowlands, Hutchinson