NATIONWIDE CONFERENCE | Att: 2447
DONCASTER ROVERS – 1 [Kirkwood 23] SUTTON UNITED – 0
Sutton’s miserable recent form contiuned on Saturday with a disappointing 1-0 defeat at Doncaster’s Belle Vue ground. This away game was a tadge different for your correspondent as I hadn’t had to endure the normal early start & marathon journey up with the rest of the beerhounds. This was due to visiting my friend Sarah in Grimsby just down the road (Cleethorpes on a Friday night is quite the experience, I can tell you!).
The friend in question attended the game with me rather than take her normal place at Blundell Park to watch her beloved ‘Mariners’ take on Bolton in the FA Cup. So, after seriously questioning her sanity and promising her a hot chocolate at half time, I agreed to let her tag along. JR had finally spotted the fact that Watsons recent form had been somewhere between ‘shite’ and ‘non-existant’ and actually started with the long awaited Newhouse-Winston partnership. Matt Lee gets another start at Right back and Gwynne returned after his ankle injury. So a fairly strong line up then, well, for us at least. Maybe we could be in with a shout!
After getting a lift over to Donny from Sarah’s mate and being dropped in the locale of the ground, we amble along the main road and a short while later find Col & the rest of the gang getting parked up. So we decamp to a nearby pub\hotel for a couple of pre-match pints and to discuss their trip up in the motor and other assorted bollocks such as the fact that yes, I do indeed know a member of the opposite sex, before we head back out for the game and what will probably be the more disappointing part of the day. On the pitch, we start bright and straight away the lads get at our hosts. Sammy has a burst at the home defence but is halted on the edge of the box. Then a couple of minutes later Sam leaves his marker for dead and again charges into the 18 yard box. The defender promptly pulls our little terrier down and the ref points to the spot for this rather obvious foul. Penaty!! Bloody hell. I feel confident about this one, mainly as Watson isn’t on the pitch to take it.
Aidan Newhouse places the ball on the spot and strikes the kick to the ‘keepers left. Sadly it’s a poor effort. Just the right position and height for a ‘keeper guessing correctly to get down to and make the save. A defender of course is quickest to the loose ball and hacks away the danger as the home crowd roars it’s delight. Bollocks. Quite why Sam wasn’t allowed to take it given it’s usually him running his cods off that earns us such opportunities, I don’t know. Still, we’ve missed another vital chance and we all know it’s probably gonna cost us dear at some point.
The miss lifts Donny and they start to become more dangerous coming forwards. One thing that is apparent though, is that their side are the biggest bunch of fucking powder puff footballers I think I’ve ever seen in my life. Every challenge by a Sutton player ends up with the opposition man lying in a heap like he’s been violently assaulted. The worst culprit is the Ex-Everton forward, Mike Newell. First he goes down like a sack of spuds after a simple challenge by Matt Lee and then gets Nko booked near half-time after a similarly innocuous challenge. An experienced ex-pro he may be, but he just makes himself look an absolute tosser by carrying on like this. If you can’t be arsed any more mate, just retire.
The home sides mounting attacks look to be just lacking that final edge or that final pass when they strike. Cheating bastard Newell knocks on a pass to Kirkwood behind him. Howells moves across in anticipation of a shot but the Doncaster forward seems to mis-cue his shot and it comes off the outside of his boot leaving Gareth flat footed as it loops over him and into the net. Oh dear.
The rest of the half is played out in similar fashion, with the U’s struggling to get a solid foothold in the game and Doncaster’s quicker more incisive attacks putting the back four under heavy pressure. Our only other dangerous moment is again down to Sammy Winston. He once more eludes his marker, gets to the bye line and pulls the ball back across the six yard box. But sadly not for the 1st time this season, there’s absolutely no fucker there to get near it, let alone finish it off.
So half time and I buy Sarah the hot chocolate I’d promised. It’s the least I can do. Her comments about the U’s less than impressive performance so far are cut short as a bloke behind us in the queue for refreshments reveals that her own team are currently 1-0 down in their game. I try my best to look sad for her, but I’m secretly a little relieved as it takes the focus off us being shit if only for a while.
The U’s start the second half with a bit of fire, but ultimately lack the final pass or movement to carve out the vital chance to give us a goal. The home side do spend a lot of the second period in their own half sitting deep, but they create the more and better chances on the break. Laker has to hack an effort off the line for one and Howells palms a fierce drive over the bar at full stretch. to keep us in touch. Our only real opportunity again once more comes from Winston. Despite his diminutive stature, he gets in front of a defender at a corner and sends his header flashing just wide of the far post. Says a lot when he’s winning the headers as well!
A couple of half chances are there for the taking as Winston and sub Watsons running at the back four produces shooting opportunities. Sadly the lads prefer to try and beat the defenders rather than have a dig. The only long range efforts come from Harlow, Harford and Newhouse. All of which are well off target and cause the Donny keeper no issues at all. A flurry of late corners give us some small hope, but all come to nothing with again the keeper remaining untroubled. And so another narrow defeat away from home befalls our heroes when just a shade more quality might have brought a result.
We amble away away from Belle Vue and I wave off the crew as they jump back in the motor and shoot off home via pub stops in Nottingham, Derby and Leicester. Lucky bastards. I walk Sarah back top the to the station to see her on her train home. Fortunately, Grimsby have lost 2-0 to Bolton. Which means I largely escape the young lady’s dissection of the U’s performance as she’s far too upset by her own mob’s failure. Then with her safely on the way back to Grimsby, it’s back to Kings Cross for me and an early night for a change on a Saturday, painfully sober. God football’s shit when you’ve not had a pint!
Sadly it’s an inability to take opportunities that are gifted to us that is hampering us at the moment. That and the lack of good incisive passer\someone to dominate in midfield that is. Our meeting with Ryman side Canvey Island in the trophy next week doesn’t look particularly promising at the moment. Ho hum.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Sammy Winston. He created all our chances to be honest.
ENTERTAINMENT : 6. Not bad, but we still need something……..
TEAM : Howells, Laker, Berry, Skelly, Lee, Harford, Harlow, Ekoku, Rowlands, Winston, Newhouse SUBS : Watson, Sears, Forrester, Hutchinson, Dack