FA TROPHY 3rd ROUND
SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Winston 4]
CANVEY ISLAND – 0
After the U’s recent disappointing Conference form, I think it’s fair to say we weren’t exactly chuffed to be paired with Ryman Premier side Canvey in the Trophy. Currently sitting in the top 6 of our former home and boasting at least 4 ex-pro’s in their line up, this could have been a bit of a ‘nana skin for the U’s to sidestep.
The Sutton side is pretty much the one that lost narrowly at Doncaster the previous weekend with no changes made to the starting eleven. Canvey from the off looked like a typical Essex side you expect to see these days. Big & ‘orrible! So a good kicking isn’t out of the question then? Off we go and straight away we’re pleasingly into our oppo. Just 4 minutes on the clock and a flick on finds Sammy in the box. He skips 1 challenge and fires his shot between the ‘keepers outstretched hand and the near post just as a desperate defender tries to get a tackle in. HA! Maybe not so big & orrible after all eh?
Nicely settled with the early opener, we now expect a bit of a roll over of Salisbury type proportions. Sadly the lads out on the field have other ideas.
Having taken the lead, we again go completely off the boil, inviting the other side to attack us at will, almost as if we want to toss away what we’ve worked for. Fortunately our visitors finishing is as wayward as our own recent attempts in that department and Gareth goes most of the half without actually having to do a great deal. Which must have been nice for our somewhat overworked stopped. Naturally, our assumption on getting a good going over in the physical sense proves somewhat correct. Sammy and Dack are both scythed down whilst in full flight. With the particularly thuggy looking No8 receiving a yellow card for his trouble. The first half dies out with few other chances of any note. All I have to add is I got bloody cold. Still, I guess it is January so not really headline news that.
At the break and we hear that the only Conference game happening today involves fellow strugglers Hayes. And sadly they’re holding top side Kiddie, who we play next week, to a 1-1 scoreline. Ah feck. That’ll just make ’em angry!
It’s sad to say, but the second half is as bad as the first spectacle wise. We seem unable or unwilling to step up a gear and finish the game off. Canvey are still looking a bit threatening going forwards, but still lack that final application to make the attacks count. The major event of the half comes about 10 minutes in. The previously mentioned No8 tussles with Harlow for the ball. But just as he wins the battle and the ball, he lashes out with his arm and smacks Harlow right in the mush. Unfortunately for him he does this right in front of the ref who no doubt taking his previous transgressions into account immediately produces a red card. Bye bye Mr Not-very-intelligent! This call pisses off the Canvey players who surround the ref and complain bitterly. The No9 complains so much that he also ends up seeing a card. Sadly this one is yellow.
This sets the tone for the rest of the half. The U’s continue to do sod all whilst the visitors take offence and end up remonstrating loudly with the ref at every challenge. Their mood isn’t improved around 20 minutes in. A corner from our right is met by the visitors No6 about 6 yards out and headed firmly past a stranded Howells and into the back of the net. But before we can start using colourful expletives on the Shoebox and matey can really celebrate his moment, the ref blows his whistle and disallows the ‘goal’ for pushing. Naturally our guests go apeshit, surrounding the official. Quite how he refrains from adding to his autograph collection any further at this point is beyond me.
Nothing else of real note happens as we toil out the remaining minutes and the game ends predictably with Canvey in our half trying to force a replay but never quite managing to look like doing so.
So, through to the next round. Wonder what delights the FA Trophy will present us with next?
Later at home and I am saddened to discover that our buddies, the Robins, have been dumped out of the same competition by Farnborough. And I’m saddened even further by the news that Harrow have won in the league, thus planting our aforementioned local rivals at the foot of the Ryman Premier.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Sammy Winston
ENTERTAINMENT : 4. Poor game with little to capture the imagination
TEAM : Howells, Skelly, Sears, Laker, Riley, Berry, Harlow, Harford, Dack, Newhouse, Winston
SUBS : Watson, Little, Forrester, Rowlands, Ekoku