FOREST GREEN ROVERS – 1 [Drysdale p24]
SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Watson 21, Newhouse 34]
Well, I don’t like to say it, but I bloody hate the part of the world that is commonly known as the ‘South West’. It’s a sodding nightmare.
I mean, first time we visit this lot and they turn the poxy lights off when 2-1 down, which is hardly sporting and the second time the gits close the M4 the junction BEFORE we want to get off! Suffice to say, I’m glad we don’t have to go there again this season.
The normal crew assembled at the Firkin in time for the 5pm leave. That’s about as smooth as the journey gets. Soon after joining the worlds biggest car park (otherwise known as the M25) it takes on it’s normal stationary appearance, with junctions 12-16 knackered. Bollocks. That knackers us for the M4 then. A quick rethink and we dive onto the M3 with the intention of cutting accross and joining the M4 a bit further down. Then a cock up with the signs sees us miss our junction!! This coupled with rush hour traffic and it’s 6.30 when we fianlly get onto the M4. Col then engages warp drive and we hurtle down the motorway towards the Gloucestershire hamlet of Forest Green. Bob lifts our spirits with the news that our beloved neighbours were tonked 5-0 at Barton Rovers in the Ryman League Cup on the previous evening.
We snigger childishly before I ask the burning question. “Who the fuck are Barton Rovers?”
The sniggering turns to full blown hysterical laughter.
Then as we approach the junction before our exit, the traffic stacks up. Aaaaggggh!!! What now? ‘Judith’ grabs the mapbook and plots a fantastical detour via a couple of smeggy B-Roads. We dismiss it as foolish and not worth the aggro. A couple of minutes later and we’re told by a cheery local copper that the M4 has been closed ahead due to a nasty smash. Uh Oh. What were those smeggy B-Roads again PC?
We finally roll up at ‘The Lawn’ 15 minutes after kick off. Col finds a patch of ground in front of someone’s house to park on and we pile out. Thankfully, we stroll in just as Mark Watson is spanking us into the lead. Yippeee! We then recieve the ‘congratulations’ of the home fans as we wander round to the opposite end. By the time we’ve reached our vantage point, Rovers are level. A FGR forward is brought down by Howells whilst chasing a through ball. Penalty. Oh bugger.
Drysdale sends Gareth the wrong way from the spot to level the scores. The lead has lasted 3 minutes. Which is approximately 2 minutes longer than the last time we went 1-0 up here!!! This lifts the home side and they pile on the pressure. Ex-England international, Tony Daley, is making particular inroads down the left flank against Skelly and is delivering some quality crosses. Sadly the forwards are’nt quite up to the standards Mr Daley is used to and most of the balls in are wasted. Nko is also making progress down his flank and is really causing the home full back serious difficulties. It’s through this method that Sutton retake the lead after 34 minutes. Nko tears down the line and delivers a knee high ball onto the penalty spot. It’s met on the ‘Buddy Holly’ by Aidan Newhouse and despite the efforts of the ‘keeper the ball nestles into the far corner. WooHoo!!! I’m really warming to our new forward. Can’t think why!!
Our hosts up the tempo again and 5 minutes later their dangerous running wins them another penalty. Andy Riley is adjudged to have felled MacGregor and Mr Drysdale appears to square things up. Sadly, his penalty is firmly struck, but woefully placed. Gareth looks like he’s actually trying to avoid serious harm in the ‘dangly’ area as the shot comes straight at him. I swear to god that from my position at the far end, that the ball came back off of Howells left buttock!!! Drysdale then completes his cock up by heading over a completely empty net. Laugh? Us? Well, alright we pissed ourselves. I suppose you could say the spot kick was quite literally ARSE!
Rovers blow one further chance to equalize when an attackers jinking run ends in a looping shot against the bar with our ‘keeper stranded. Barry Laker hammers the loose ball far into the valley below.
So half time and a pastie from the munchie bar. We chuckle again at Scummers ‘unfortunate’ 5-0 mauling at Barton Rovers. Most amusing.
The second half is mainly the home team with U’s breaking out on counter attacks. Nko is still our main outlet and most times he’s double teamed by home defenders. But his pace and strength continue to get him into dangerous positions. Rovers have a great chance after a mazy Daley run, but MacGregor somehow blazes over from 5 yards. The referee is also becoming rather erratic and is awarding fouls against U’s players for the most trivial things whilst the home teams rather rough treatment of our front players and particularly Nko goes unpunished. Just after the hour and a Paul Harford header from a Dave Harlow corner flies inches over, then a minute of so later the increasingly stupid ref ignores a blatant hand ball on the bye line by a home defender and awards a corner.
The home side are reduced to 10 men when one of their forwards is stretchered off and they’ve used all their subs. This does’nt stop them piling forwards looking for a desperate equalizer. But they make little use of the almost constant pressure. The ref appears to be trying to string the game out as long as poss, by stopping his watch at every bloody opportunity. Then as we enter injury time a dodgy Rovers free-kick is cleared by a solid Laker header. The linesman is waving his flag like an idiot (I bet he practices that in front of the mirror at home…). Finally he catches the attention of the whistle happy moron and they engage in a lengthy conversation. “The bastards gonna give ‘em another penalty, you watch” I mutter. “Surely not” my fellow drinkers reply. But after a few moments contemplation they start to worry like me. He calls Danny Brooker and their No 16 over. After a bit more buggering about he waves Suttons 7th Red card of the season at Brooker before wafting it in the direction of the FGR sub. “You don’t know what you’re doing” chant the home fans. No shit. We twigged that about an hour ago.
Moments later and the ref finally tires of proceedings and signals the end of the match. The lads trudge over to the few hardy supporters behind the goal (That’s us that is!) to register their appreciation and then dissapear down the tunnel with the 3 points we were bloody well owed from our fist visit to ‘The Lawn’. 3 BIG points as far as our quest to keep our Nationwide drinking tour going is concerned. Mr Chalmers keen mathematical brain calculates we’re up to 15th. Cool!
The SUFC formation drinking team say their goodbyes to no-one in particular and leg it to the car in search of chips and more importantly, BEER! When we reach the car, there’s a rather poorly scrawled note on the back of an envelope attatched to Col’s windscreen. This is where the title for the report came from. It bitches about the fact we’ve knicked someones spot. We glance round. The scene is exactly as we’d left it almost 2 hours ago. So where’s the car we’re depriving of it’s spot?? And besides, you live next to a football ground. What the fuck do you expect? Twat! We shrug our shoulders and reckon it’s just some saddo who doesn’t even own a car who’s stuck the note there for the hell of it. I pocket the note as a crap souvenir.
Oh well, chips! Chalmers has procured the location of a chippy from a steward at half time. We hit this and scoff lots of chopped up bits of fried potatoes. Then we saunter off the way we’d come, back down the smeggy B-Road we’d used earlier. Damn fine pubs in Lympsfield. They do Brains SA don’t you know.
MAN OF THE MATCH : None. Another of those ‘team effort’ jobs.
ENTERTAINMENT : 7. Not a bad game. Most amused by Howells ‘Arse’ penalty save!
TEAM : Howells, Laker, Skelly, Brooker, Riley, Harlow, Harford, Ekoku, Dack, Watson, Newhouse SUBS : Hutchinson, Forrester, Rowlands, Little, Baker