RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Hodson 88]
SLOUGH TOWN – 1 [Deaner 30]
Yeah, our not-so-conquering heroes did it again. Another point gained when it really should have been 3.
Thankfully though this performance was a big improvement on the miserable shite dished up against Hampton, Casuals Gravesend (do I need to go on?), with the lads at least showing that they were trying and we managed to play a bit of footy as well! Bloody hell, what next? Well, probably another draw actually.
JR has decided to act and made a few changes, including not one but THREE new signings in our line up! Jesus, steady on, that’s a bit radical for us innit? The new boys are Paul Newell (a ‘keeper from Billericay), Chris Booth (a defender from somewhere else) and Ben Hodson (A striker from Hayes). Other changes include Bolt and Westcott on the bench with Nko back in his left sided spot and Sears on the opposite flank. Thompson gets his first start up front partnered by the tall Hodson.
We start well and for the first 20 or so minutes, it’s mainly the U’s making the running, playing some decent footy on a very wet pitch. Sears goes close on a couple of occasions and one of them should have given us the lead. A cross from Nko causes chaos and the ‘keeper slips over at the near post. The ball is cleared only as far as Sears about 20 yards out but his first time shot is slightly to high and wide of the mark with the ‘keeper nowhere. Hodson looks solid but without doing anything special, probably lacking in a bit of match practice. He does get one chance, a neat first touch and a smart turn on the penalty spot is finished with a weak shot at the ‘keeper.
Sutton continue to control matters, but Slough get one chance when a ball across our area finds Deaner unmarked at the back post. His attempt at a spectacular volley sees him end up in a heap having missed the ball completely. Some good work down the flanks keeps the visitors mainly in check and it’s this pressure that forces the first backpass we’ve seen in ages! The ball is lumped back to the ‘keeoer from about 30 yards out and strangely, he picks it up. Free kick inside the box and where’s our specialist?? On the bloody bench! Harlow’s effort is easily beaten out by the wall.
The Rebels take the lead on the half hour mark with pretty much their second attack. Some bad defending lets their man get to the byeline and despite the attentions of 3 U’s defenders AND the ‘keeper, he pulls it back for Deaner to slide the ball home from about a yard out. Great. Another gift wrapped goal. I s’pose the next one’ll have a nice little bow on it??
This chucks us out of our rythm and we start letting the visitors dictate the game more. This also prompts us, for some reason, to re-introduce our kick and hope policy. It’s shit, it does’nt work, so why do we bloody do it?? Natrually we get sodding nowhere lumping it forwards and go in 1-0 down at the break.
The pissing rain that had started early in the 1st half continues during the break and we decide that rather than all try to shelter under Bobs big umbrella on the Shoebox, we’ll try out the view from the Securicor terrace, just for a change.
So, dry in our temporary match viewing point, the 2nd half gets underway. Again we seem the slightly livlier of the 2 sides with Nko getting a lot more of the ball in advanced positions allowing him to get more crosses into the box. But again for all our pressure, the best chance drops to the visitors. With our lot caught up field they break quickly and the ball is played accross the box for a Slough forward in acres of space. “Shit! Here we go” I think “2-0, game over”. But the frontman somehow manages to horribly screw his shot yards wide of the exposed Newells goal. We breathe a sigh of relief. Minutes later we’re swearing our heads off as Thompson blows by far our best chance.
The impressive Walker, whos been overlapping well with Sears all night gets to the byeline and whips the ball low into the box. Thompson arrives, trailed by a defender and all he has to do is sidefoot home from 3 yards. He does’nt. He misses it completely. The words ‘Watson’ and ‘Mark’ suddenly pop into my head. I shudder at the thought and flush my mind of that nightmare and get back to muttering naughty words at another sitter gone begging.
Fortunately the lads heads don’t go down and they keep plugging away. Nko is back to something like his championship form, storming down that left flank, barrelling past the full back and sending in crosses that are just begging to be put away. One run sees him nutmeg the defender, only for him to make a last gasp tackle as he’s about to shoot. The ball loops up in the air towards the back post where Sears arrives and makes the worst header we’ve seen in some time! Bugger.
Sears departs for the final 15 mins to be replaced by Bolt. Danny’s clever passing certainly gives us a little boost. Then with a couple of minutes to go, we do it again. We go and snatch a late goal. Bolt collects the ball in midfield turns and plays a lovely ball into the path of Ekoku. The big mans flings the ball into the box where the ‘keeper gets into a real mess at the back post, loses the ball when an easy catch seemed likely and diverts it back accross the face of goal where Hodson lunges in to prod home the equaliser. Woo Hoo!!!! About sodding time.
Hodson has a chance to snatch it at the death from a Bolt cross, but he gets under the ball and his header sails over when he probably should have got it on target.
So, another poxy draw, but the performance was a huge improvement. All we need is someone (other than the oppo!) to start sticking chances away and we’ll start picking up more 3 points.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Nko Ekoku. Back to the form we know and love!!
ENTERTAINMENT : 7. Not bad at all, despite the conditions, both sides played some neat stuff.
TEAM : Newell, Gray, Hammonds, Booth, Harford, Harlow, Sears, Ekoku, Thompson, Hodson SUBS : Westcott, Bolt