SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Hutchinson 58]
SOUTHPORT – 1 [Pell 47]
OK, the honeymoons over. Let’s take the rose tinted specs off and start facing facts. We are staring relegation in the face. Simple.
Another game we HAD to win has slipped by, leaving us further in the shit. Another performance where our inadequacies were on full display, which does’nt exactly fill me with confidence. I have’nt bothered to find out the last time a newly promoted Isthmian Premier side dropped straight back down, but I have a feeling it was a while ago and we’re next.
Even more frustrating is the situation of the signing of 2 new players during the week. (McCormack from St Albans and Broderick from Brighton) Rather than gamble and actually try to go out and maybe win a game, we leave the 2 new boys on the bench. Even more puzzling to me is that one of them is a right winger. Er, so what the fuck was wrong with Joe Baker then?? He was’nt exactly given what you’d call an extended run in the side was he?? Sometimes, it just makes you wonder.
We meet our 2nd ex-Liverpool player turned Conference manager in successive saturdays, as Southport are now managed by Mark Wright. This has natrually seen their form improve a bit recently. Fantastic, just what we need. Sammy is back in the side and Ed Hutchinson replaces the suspended Harford in midfield.
From the off our guests tear at our back four, looking for an early breakthrough. As per normal, our rearguard give us plenty to worry about, but manage to get the job done. Gareth is again trying to single handedly keep us in a game, making 3 good stops in the first 20 minutes. Thankfully, we weather the storm and almost take the lead with our first real attack. A ball forwards from midfield sets Sammy free on a run. He cuts behind the last defender, leaving him 1 on 1 with the ‘keeper. Unfortunately, he elects for a shot, rather than dinking it over the sprawling ‘keeper and the effort is blocked. This is our only clear chance of the half (if not the game) and again we’ve failed to take it. This is sadly the difference between us and many Conference sides. Whereas many forwards would have stuck the ball away, we just simply can’t find the back of the net.
Another chance falls to Jimmy Dack after a clever move from a corner. He takes the kick which is knocked on to Lee, then to Harlow who then plays it back to the unmarked Dack. Jimmy is unable to keep his snap-shot down and the ‘keeper takes a straightforward catch. Soon after the ‘keeper loses the ball from another corner but there’s no one there to get a decent shot in. Sammy has a run ending with a powerful shot that is inches wide with the ‘keeper scrambling.
Half time, 0-0 and none of the beerhounds can see where a goal will come from. Surprise surprise! Even less surprising is the fact that sod all of the results are going our way. But that’s nothing new.
The second half starts badly for the U’s, with the visitors taking the lead with a freak goal. A big hoof forwards is solidly met by Robert Pell around 30 yards out. He’s obviously just trying to flick the ball on, but his header soars the full 30 yards to goal and loops over the stranded Howells into the net. Typical, just sodding typical. Another completely poxy fucking goal against us. I wonder just when we’re going to get our handful of spawny miskicks and deflections???
We fear the worse. With our lack of firepower, it does’nt look like we’ll get the goal back, let alone win the game. We up the tempo a little but we still don’t look like getting any reward, until just before the hour. A corner is delivered from the far side and met with a firm downward header into the goal by Ed Hutchinson. At last!! A goal!! It’s our first for something like 3 and half hours league football.
About this time, Bob notices 2 or 3 away fans being escorted to the Main Stand side of the ground by some of the local plod and a couple of stewards. Silly boys, obviously got a bit gobby. Not so!! Later that night in the pub, a flurry of text messages reveals a far more entertaining reason for their encounter with the law. Apparently they’d been acting strange all afternoon and the old bill decided to keep an eye on ‘em. It turns out that they were apparently completely stoned!!! When we saw them being carted off, they were on the way to the car park, where upon searching their car, Sutton Constabulary alledgedly recovered some 1500 quids worth of dope!!!! Fucking hell!! I know Southport have been on a bit of a slide recently, but has their form REALLY been that bad??? :o)
Besides, if it was doing the trick, why did’nt the greedy bastards pass it round.
Unfortunately, our equaliser does’nt lead to us dominating the game. We battle on, but we just don’t have the edge required to break down the visitors and claim 3 points. Aidan Newhouse finally gets into the game with around 15 minutes to go when he turns and hooks a shot just wide, followed by a shot blooted way over the bar. Southport look dangerous on the break, but lack the killer touch and in the end, both sides settle for the point. Annoyingly, new man McCormack gets just 10 minutes of action and does’nt touch the ball once.
So a point where 3 were desperately required. This was’nt a bad performance, but it was’nt a good one either. It was just the same as many others this season. Plenty of heart, but lacking the edge to create good goalscoring chances and convert them. If we do go down, it’ll be for one simple reason.
We were’nt good enough.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Ed Hutchinson. Nice touches and a good goal.
ENTERTAINMENT : 6. Not much to write home about.
TEAM : Howells, Laker, Berry, Riley, Skelly, Lee, Harlow, Dack, Hutchinson, Winston, Newhouse
SUBS : McCormack, Broderick, Rowlands, Ekoku, Brooker