FA TROPHY 4th ROUND
SUTTON UNITED – 3 [Brooker 25, Newhouse 41, Winston 62]
FOREST GREEN ROVERS – 0
Away from the trials and tribulations of the league campaign and back to the dreams of an appearance at Wembley in the FA Trophy.
The pre-game cuppa behind the shoebox is interspersed with the normal abuse and banter. It also brings a cheery piece of news from Bob. Apparently the Scum lost their Surrey Senior cup tie against our conquerers Croydon. Now we played like utter wankers and only lost 2-0, so the news of the Bobbins resounding 4-0 defeat has all of us smirking. A nice little pointer to start the day with!
And so to the game. Brooker returns in place of the cup tied Lee, Sammy partners Newhouse up front and Gwynne is absent. Replaced by a new signing, Darren Broderick who joins from the aforementioned Scum bashers, Croydon. So good to see we’re going with proven Conference quality.
The game kicks off and within about 30 seconds, the visitors are nearly in front. A mazy run brings a low save from Howells. Oh goody, this is going to be a fun afternoon if that carries on……
Not much else occurs as both sides settle into their patterns of play and start battling away to force an opening. You’d never guess we’re both threatened with relegation in the league…..NOT!! With almost 20 minutes gone, a FGR player is felled in full flight about 30 yards out. We can’t tell who the culprit is, but Andy Riley ends up recieving a caution. About 20 minutes later and ex-Aston Villa winger Tony Daley bears down on our ageing centre back. He nicks the ball past Riley before they collide and crash to the ground in a heap. Riley is first up only to see thr ref reach for another yellow and then a red. Bollocks! Just what we needed. ANOTHER player sent off this season.
Strangely, as a few times before this season after losing a man, we actually play better with 10 men! Then out of the blue, just 5 minutes after losing Riley, we take the lead. Skelly overlaps on the far side and delivers a wonderful cross to the back post where Danny Brooker has timed his run perfectly to power home a header. YES!
FGR push forwards, looking for a way back into the game, but most of their approach play flounders around our penalty area and Howells has little to do. Then as we approach half time, the numbers are evened up. Jimmy Dack is felled in a crunching, yet perfectly fair tackle from the FGR No 6. Ref, Joe Ross beckons the No9 over to him. Awww, a yellow card is a little harsh we think. But Ross thinks otherwise and produces a red!!! Bloody hell!
The loss of their midfielder does’nt have time to sink in before the U’s are 2-0 up. The free kick is spread to the far side and again Skelly beats his man and delivers another excellent cross. This time Aidan Newhouse rises to thump home a header. The half ends soon after and we wander round for the second period as happy campers.
The second half is played out in relative comfort for the U’s, with the visitors unable to fight their way back into the contest. Chances fall to Newhouse, Winston and Skelly, but none are converted. Then just after the hour mark, Sammy puts the game beyond the reach of our guests. The terrier like forward chases a long ball over the top. He retrieves the ball and races in towards goal. Holding off a chasing defender, Sammy somehow forces the ball home between the ‘keeper and the upright from an almost impossible angle. It’s a brilliant effort and maybe a sign we’re going to start seeing the best of Mr Winston now.
Sammy is substituted for the returning Watson. His contribution is pretty much par for the course. He fluffs 2 decent opportunities before flicking a goalbound Newhouse effort over the bar.
So, into the 5th round for the first time in ages and a decent run is emerging. If only we can translate this sort of performance to the league (especially against FGR here at GGL!) then we should see further trips to places other than Billericay, Slough and Aldershot.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Dave Harlow. Actually ran the midfield for a change!
ENTERTAINMENT : 7. Not bad once we scored!!!
TEAM : Howells, Broderick, Riley, Laker, Skelly, Brooker, Harlow, Harford, Dack, Newhouse, Winston SUBS: Ekoku, Watson, Rowlands