This Is The Ball, This Is The Net

NATIONWIDE CONFERENCE

Att: 1014



HAYES – 1  [Charles 67]

SUTTON UNITED – 0

Yet again, Sutton United’s ability to completely ruin my Christmas has done it’s stuff. Another abject 1-0 away defeat to a frankly average side and we miss a shitload of chances.

I really should’nt need to say who’s responsible, ‘cos all U’s regulars should know by now. I wish I’d stayed in bed. No, more to the point, I wish a certain No10 had stayed in bed.

Our trip to fellow strugglers Hayes, the game we’d decided we’ve really GOT to win. 6 points of this lot would put a nice bit of distance between us and the Conference drop zone. Oh, alright, we’ll accept 4 points at a push. Especially after the defeat of FGR a couple of weeks back. Sadly, certain people have other ideas.

The bad news is that Aidan Newhouse has collected his 5th booking of the season and is suspended. Ho Hum. We kick off and straight away the U’s are causing the home side problems. For once the midfield looks actually quite effective and Watson and Winston are causing their rearguard concern. With just 5 minutes gone, a Dave Harlow plays a through ball to Watson, who finds himself 1 on 1 with the ‘keeper. He draws him out and fires wide of the target with Sammy lurking. Ah well, no big deal, there’ll be others. We cause probs for about another 5 minutes and then Hayes make a sub. Their No11 is withdrawn from his midfield position and replaced. It must have been either an injury or the flu that’s going around, because within a couple of minutes of the change, our midfield is looking as terribly ineffective as ever. Dack and Harlow are delivering piss poor balls and conceding possession with alarming regularity. Normal service resumed then.

Hayes now pick up the tempo and start to dominate. Howells is called to make one smart save before he makes a brilliant one handed stop from a point blank header. It’s not looking good. Gareth makes one further quality stop from a 1 on 1 before Mr Watson’s day (and mine) gets worse.

Sammy makes one of those runs down the flank and muscles past the defender. Mr fullback isn’t happy

with the little blokes progress and hauls him down in the box. The ref points straight to the spot. Penalty!! Our euphoria disappears when we realise Watson is going to be the man responsible. What’s wrog with Sam? He’s taken the last couple (and scored ‘em). Even Riley would be better! Some find themselves unable to watch. I just have this feeling……..

Moments later I wish I’d joined the more faint hearted amongst our support and averted my gaze as Watson drives his spot kick against the upright and gets nowhere near the rebound. Now I’m pissed off.

More dire, aimless balls forwards for Sam to chase are the feature for the rest of the half. The gossip is that Sammy isn’t popular for his ‘attitude in training’. I have a 4 word response to that. “Yeah-and-so-what??”. He does more running in an afternoon than the rest of the side put together. I don’t give a toss if he’s a mass murderer. If he’s good, he goes in the side. End of story.

Half Time 0-0 (cheers mark….) and the results in our part of the table are so-so. Most of the sides are drawing, apart from FGR who lead Yeovil 2-0. Great.

The second half isn’t much better. More aimless hoofing and parallel balls across the midfield that go absolutely nowhere and when the central players do get a chance to attack the opposition, they stop and look for the parallel ball. Why don’t we ATTACK??? For christs sake!! Sammy is still the only U’s player really causing the oppo any kind of problems. Another Winston charge-and-muscle-past-the defender run ends in a delicate cross from the byeline to the back post where a totally unmarked Watson awaits. So does Watson make up for his earlier horrors and simply nod the ball into the empty net??? Does he fuck. He goes for a flash bastard elaborate overhead bicycle kick thingy. Which he drives into the ground and harmlessly over the goal. Even Sammy looks pissed off. Dacky ain’t impressed either. He’s clearly heard to tell our wayward ‘marksman’ that his attempt was “fucking rubbish”. Sadly this is Jimmy’s most telling contribution to the game as he’s having another mare. Words ranging from the old favorites (tosser) to really rather naughty words regarding the female anatomy are heard from the U’s faithful to describe the latest sitter chucked away by the indomitable Mark Watson.

Then the inevitable happens. Hayes score. They bring on a sub. 14 is his number. He’s been on the pitch about 18.9 nanoseconds when he recieves a pass out wide, races into our half and swings a low ball into the penalty area. Lee Charles, he recently of MOTD fame, meets it first time and crashes the ball into the net. The only consolation is that the goal hadn’t arrived seconds before half time as they normally do……

We shake our heads. The calls for subs start from the terraces.

“They’ll take Sam off” I say.

“Can’t do” says Bob “We need goals”.

I look at my fellow beerhound. “Never stopped ‘em before has it?” I reply. Bob’s look says it all.

A few minutes later, my prophecy ubeliveably comes true. Sammy is subbed for Scotty Forrester and the again ineffective Sears is replaced by Rowlands (WHY isn’t he starting??). This really hacks off the away fans, me included. Quite why a useless bastard like Watson stays on and a threat like Sam is subbed is beyond me.

Scotty, thankfully, again looks promising. Soon after coming on, he turns a defender on the edge of the box. Sadly his snap shot is about a foot wide. Shortly after Watson fails to take a half chance. Hitting the ‘keeper from 4 yards. This really is down to a decent stop more than anything. But I’m not in the mood to be charitable at the moment. Forrester forces the ‘keeper smartly off his line to save at his feet soon after as the U’s actually manage to put some pressure together.

Then, with just a couple of minutes remaining, Mark Watson has one last chance to redeem himself. A diagonal ball over the defence finds him in space in the box. He controls the ball and fires straight into the ‘keepers midriff. I look to the heavens and think bad things about a fellow human being. Not bad, only 2 days after Crimbo and I’ve probably already blown my chances of Santa dropping by next year.. Which really is a shame, ‘cos I was gonna ask for a decent fucking striker.

So, Hayes take the points. You know, those points we HAD to get. All I can say is, we’d better beat ‘em at our place, or I’ll be REALLY pissed off.

Right, as it was the last game of the 20th century for us, here’s what we need to sort NOW or we’re shagged. 1. Get another forward. (I’ll leave it to you to guess who needs replacing) 2. Get a sodding midfield. Ours is so non-existant sometimes, it’s unbelievable. 3. A decent centre back would’nt go amiss either while we’re at it.

Oh, and my I’ll tell ya my New Years resolution now, just in case of any Millenium bug bollocks come 12 midnight on the 31st. It’s to shoot a certain centre forward if he misses any more complete sitters. But something tells me I’ll be at the back of a bloody long queue.

Funniest thing was the Hayes programme listing Watson as ‘One to Watch’. Bloody right! I bet the Hayes fans were pissing themselves at his comedic impression of a centre forward.

MAN OF THE MATCH : Howells and Winston. A ray of light in the darkness.

ENTERTAINMENT : 0. Another Crimbo ruined. Cheers lads.

TEAM : Howells, Skelly, Riley, Laker, Harford, Sears, Harlow, Dack, Ekoku, Watson, Winston

SUBS : Rowlands, Baker, Forrester, Hutchinson, Little

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