They Only Need 10 Men

NATIONWIDE CONFERENCE | Att: 1548

STEVENAGE BOROUGH – 1   [Pearson 86]   SUTTON UNITED – 0

So, another game, another defeat. Well, you didn’t expect anything else did you?? We certainly didn’t.

With folorn hearts we met at the Friar & Firkin up in the smoke for a pre-travel pint and a bit of a shufty at the Man Utd-Chelsea game on Sky. Here Chalmers takes the time to complete his match report for these here pages from Thursday’s game against Scarboro. Nothing like prompt reporting eh Paul? A guzzle of some London Pride later and we’re finally Stevenage bound. 25 minutes later and we’re deposited in the wonderfully ‘new’ part of the town. (For ‘New’, read ‘Shite’).

After wandering around finding no boozers and allowing Chalmers a quick Maccy D’s stop we stumble groundwards. This turns out to be fun as Bob and myself are forced to watch Judith stick a large fries, cheeseburger and a Big Mac into his gob as we walk. It’s something you really have to see for yourself to understand the pure majesty of a gutsy bastard stuffing his face on the move.

Upon arrival at Broadhall Way we head for the bar. Upon arrival at the bar, we find both hand pumps to be inoperative, so promptly declare the bar a ‘Fuck That’ zone and adjourn to the away terrace. Here we discover that the programme seller for the aforementioned ‘away’ terrace had just buggered off to the aforementioned ‘Fuck That’ zone and won’t reappear until around 2.30. Slightly under beered and 100% proggie-less we park our unhappy arses on the terrace to await kick off to take in the scenery. The ground has changed considerably since our last visit a few years ago. In fact, the whole place is practically brand new on all four sides and none of the old Isthmian level\style venue remains.

Eventually, proggies are finally secured which at least stops Bob from grumbling and we soon discover that both Dacky and Newhouse are ‘unavailable’ for selection. The reason? Seems they’d reacted badly to dressing room criticism and ‘fucked off’. We’re not exactly gutted by the news. If they won’t give 100%, especially after the season we’ve had, then ‘Fuck off’ is the only way for them to go as far as I’m concerned.

This means that Hutchinson partners Harlow in midfield and Watson reappears up front with Sammy. The game starts and we’re soon showing the pure class that sees us propping up the division. Twice our back line is breached with ease and only desperate last ditch defending saves us. Gwynne Berry naturally turns and abuses the lino on both occasions. Nice one. Obviously the fact you’re a slow is down to the officials Gwynne.

Boro’s grand a week man, Carl Alford is continuing his recent crap form by hitting everything BUT our goal, despite the numerous gifts presented to him by bollocks Sutton defending. His strike partner is faring no better. We manage a snap shot from Sammy before we get our first bit of officiating in our favour this season. Nko goes on a barrelling 40 yard run, before being hacked down on the edge of the box by the last defender Trott. The ref produces a red card for the Stevenage man and we know from that moment on we’re buggered. Us? Against 10 men? Not happening. The free kick is of course predictably fired into the wall by the tired looking Harlow.

The loss of a defender does nothing to dent the home sides attacks as they continue to look by far the most likely to snatch a goal. More poor marking is recovered by frantic last ditch tackles/clearances. The ref by now is overwhelmed with remorse for the dismissal of the home defender and is naturally giving every bloody poxy little foul the home sides way. Which when you’re as bad as we are, having the oppo stick the ball into your box as often as they like is not good for the ticker. Wanker. Nko comes in for some stick from the home crowd after a rather theatrical dive by the No4, no doubt trying to exact some retribution for the earlier red. The booing lasts the rest of the match.

So half time, 0-0, they’re down to 10 men and we’ve yet to launch a serious attack on their goal. Er, anyone wanna run by me the reasons we’re going straight back to the Ryman??

Half time at least produces a strangely amusing moment. A certain, pissed up female member of the away support proceeds to spectacularly throw up over a fellow U’s fan during the break. We stifle our giggles, then soon start gagging as the smell of fresh spew reaches our nostrils. The spewer in question is led away by another pissed up female supporter and the ‘vomit’ jokes and puns begin. It at least amuses us before 22 blokes show up and start kicking a ball around again. Sadly this regains our our attention and the jokes stop.

Naturally, the home side continue to threaten most, even despite being a man down. But most of their efforts on goal are way off target. Sammy is of course having the shit kicked out of him by the home defence with almost no punishment. One particularly nasty foul by the No4 warrants not even a talking to by the soft arsed ref, although we do at least have the honour of the award of a free kick in our favour for that one. This is a rare occurrence as any sort of challenge around the home 18 yard box by a U’s player concedes a free kick, whilst general butchery & shithousing by the home side goes unpunished. Typical.

Subs then appear and both Alford and his partner are withdrawn for the home side. They’re replaced by a chap of average height and a tiny 4ft 2in midget who makes Rowlands look like a member of the Harlem Globetrotters. “He’ll score” I prophesise. Sagely nods abound amongst the U’s following around me.

Of course, it is Mr 3ft 9in that does the damage just 4 minutes from time. A long hump down the left is collected by the tiny forward and he races towards the box. Gwynne ambles to meet him and is naturally left for dead with a little change in pace. Skelly tries to cover but is also turned inside out before the ickle striker fires low inside Howells near post. Ah bollocks.

We then huff and puff for the last few but never really look like creating a chance let alone snatching an equaliser. And when the final whistle blows, we’re all certain that relegation is now but a formality. This is confirmed by Welling defeating FGR 2-1 and Woking’s 1-0 win at home to Telford. Ooooh goody, we could travel 200-odd miles to Northwich on Saturday for the big moment. Can’t wait.

Desperate for a pint after that, we trudge straight to the station and head back to Kings Cross. Once back in the Capital, we set about beer hunting. This proves harder than we’d originally thought as we aim for the 3 Firkin pubs in the Islington/Angel part of London. But sadly find that 2 have closed due to the recent change in ownership, but one is thankfully still around and produces a reasonable pint of Adnams. An unscheduled stop in a Hogshead nearby with a beer festival yields a pint of some scrunge or other to make up for the earlier fails though. Much walking later and a fruitless hunt round the Blackfriars area, we hop on a bus and decide to head for the west end. A drink in the Leicester Square Firkin is followed by another just up from Piccadilly Circus. (Fucking £2.80 for a pint of 6X! What???) There then follows a rather mad dash for Piccadilly Circus tube station, a ride on the Bakerloo and a brisk ‘stroll’ to the Carnaby Street Firkin for a final beer for the night. We leave Picc with 45 minutes to go. We arrive with 30 minutes to spare. Good use of VDT that.

The final pints of a disappointing day are sunk and then Chalmers and I procure pizza slices nearby to scoff on our way home. Moments later, pizza slices hanging from our gobs, we have to sprint for the last tube back to Victoria and a train home. Who said we were giving the club a bad name??

So, a trip to Cheshire beckons on Saturday. Us relegated?? Oh all right then…

MAN OF THE MATCH : Nko Ekoku. Pissed off the home fans

ENTERTAINMENT : 5. 0-0 until one of Snow White’s mates intervened…..

TEAM : Howells, Berry, Skelly, Brooker, Harford, Harlow, Hutchinson, Rowlands, Ekoku, Winston, Watson SUBS : Forrester, Barclay, Sears, Brodrick

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