SUTTON UNITED – 3 [Hutchinson 38, Watson 36,81]
FOREST GREEN ROVERS – 2 [Bennett 27, Hunt 75]
They had to go and win it didn’t they? Bastards.
Just as we’d resigned ourselves to Ryman league footy next season after the shite dished up at Telford, the U’s came back to beat Forest Green for the third time this season (Well, 3 and a half actually!) and keep our exceedingly slim survival hopes alive.
Well, one things for certain, whatever happens, this lot won’t half be glad to see the back of us! 3 and a half meetings, 3 and a half defeats. We’re really not going to be on FGR’s crimbo card list this year.
Following on from saturday’s defeat at Telford, Sutton desperately, DESPERATELY needed to win this match to have ANY hope of staying in the Conference next season. Yeah, they won, but fuck me if they did’nt put us through agony first!!!
Andy Riley returned to the side, with Mark Watson replacing the injured Ekoku. (Nko reported as 50-50 for the Trophy clash on saturday) But apart from that, the side remained pretty much the same as normal.
Our visitors started the stronger, obviously looking for an early goal in the hope we’d fold. Thankfully they failed to break through very early on, but there were some scares. The most heart stopping being Gareth’s clearance on the edge of the box rebounding against a Rovers forward and almost looping straight back over his head. Thankfully, our man is awake and manages to pluck the ball out of the air and prevent an embarrassing and fatal error. We huff and puff, but don’t produce a great deal although Watson is having a half decent game for once and Winston is his normal terrier like self.
The first real opening falls to Sutton. Dack is substituted, presumably injured and replaced by Rowlands. The subs first touch is to run onto a through ball and blast the ball goalwards. The ‘keeper makes a block and is then alert enough to parry the follow up, also from Rowlands. Sammy follows up this with his shot barred on the edge of the 18 yard box.
FGR take the lead after 25 minutes. An interchange of passes on the far side gives their man a clear run to the byeline. He pulls the ball back to the near post and Bennett pops in front of his marker to smartly volley home from a tight angle. Arse. Not exactly what we wanted. This seems to shake our lads out of their sluggish state and we start to make some promising moves. Soon after, a ball over the top sees Watson burst clear of the defence and race in on goal. With only the ‘keeper to beat, our slightly errant striker fires his shot against the legs of the visitors custodian. Another similar attack sees Watson in a similar position, but this time he looks to square the ball to the unmarked Winston to stroke home and level the affair. Unfortunately, Watson manages to hit his pass straight at the single covering defender and the danger is cleared. Sammy has an opportunity from a deft cross by Skelly, but his solid header is a shade wide of the near upright.
Thankfully, our sustained period of pressure does finally bring it’s reward. A melee around the visitors 18 yard box is only cleared a few yards and the ball is angled back into the area. Harlow drifts an angled ball into the box and onto Watsons bonce. He rises to send a curling header into the top corner. Thank christ for that! It seemed as if we’d watch us hitting a brick wall all night. The equaliser really gets the lads going and our step up in gear brings the lead just 2 minutes later. A flowing move involving Newhouse to Winston to Watson sees Watson deftly backheel into the path of the so far impressive Hutchinson. Ed’s low shot seems on target, but takes a wicked deflection on the edge of the box and loops up and over the desperate ‘keepers outstretched hand. Wooooo Hoooo!!
God this lot must REALLY hate us!
We keep pushing up on the shellshocked visitors, trying to finish the job. But just when we don’t need it, the half time whistle blows. Bugger.
The second half finds the U’s continuing their attacks on the FGR goal. Sadly the finishing is very reminiscent of the Hednesford game as both Watson and Winston fire shots against the ‘keepers legs when 1 on 1. Soon after Mark Watson ends the Rovers ‘keepers evening. He recieves a pass in the box holds off the defender, but his final touch is a smidgin too strong. The ‘keeper races off his line to meet the oncoming forward and the 2 collide. The ball runs loose to Sammy who’s sniffing around and his shot takes the slightest of deflections off a recovering defender and goes inches wide of the far upright. FGR are forced to use their 3rd and last sub in replacing the crocked ‘keeper.
Strangely, the loss of the goalie seems to send our lot to sleep again and we procede to let our guests back into the game. We endure a few nervy moments as Rovers look to prise our back four open with darting little runs and clever movement around the box. We manage one counter attack, when a surging Sammy Winston break ends with him passing accross the box to the supporting Watson. Sadly Watson is unable to divert the shot the right side of the post and hits the side netting.
Then the moment we’ve been dreading arrives. Yep, we gift a soft equaliser. Hey, we were almost expecting it!
One of the little darting runs mentioned above produces a floated cross to the near post. Gareth can only palm the ball over his head and despite the attendance of at least 2 U’s defenders, Hunt forces the ball home from around 2 yards, much to the delight of the sizeable and noisy Forest Green contingent behind the goal. Arse. Fucking Arse. We’ve done it again.
We then suffer several minutes of some awful passing from Aidan Newhouse. He was crap at Telford on saturday and he’s just as bad tonight. JR subs him for Scott Forrester with about 10 minutes to go. Well at least we’re trying to be positive!
The change works wonders. Within a minute an attack runs into a dead end in the corner to our right, the ball is played back to the supporting Skelly, who then procedes to send a high curling cross to the back post. Forrester controls excellently and lashes the ball across the 6 yard box. It evades the touch of Winston but not Watson behind him. To the delight of the Collingwood end, the net ripples to register an utterly priceless third goal. God DAMN we’ve deserved that!!
We then have to suffer 9 minutes of sheer hell. FGR throw everything at us to try and salvage something from the game and twice Howells has to be sharply off his line to smother the ball at the feet of onrushing FGR forwards.
Finally the Ref blows for time and we get ourselves another stay of execution. Relieved, the Drinking team retires to the pub to recover. Well, we’ve got 7 games left to play with 34 points. I reckon 45 or 46 MIGHT just do the job. So that’s 4 more wins. Easy eh??
Hey!! Where are you going??? Guys! GUYS!
If the K’s game is anything like that, somebody better book me a bed in Kingston General’s Cardiac Unit.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Ed Hutchinson. Showing he’s an excellent prospect.
ENTERTAINMENT : 7. Some good stuff by both sides.
TEAM : Howells, Sears, Riley, Laker, Skelly, Harlow, Dack, Hutchinson, Newhouse, Watson, Winston SUBS : Iga, Rowlands, Forrester, Barclay