RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
ST ALBANS CITY – 0
SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Thompson 90]
Zzzzzzzzz, eh whassat?? Mmmm, sorry, must have dropped off there for a bit. I was just thinking back to yesterdays game and kind of nodded off. Strange that, can’t think why.
Yes sports fans, the U’s doled out, not our worst performance of the season, but by far the dullest. But more of that shortly.
I got to the Old Bank next to the station at about 11.45, for the 11.30 meet with Bob! Strangely, he’s not there yet. So I have a pint and sort of half watch the Chelsea – Man Utd game while I wait. 10 minutes later, he shows up having overslept. Who does he think he is?? Chalmers?? Speaking of our other beer drinking colleague, he’s supposed to be working, but it later transpires that he couldn’t be arsed and had a lie in instead. Lazy tosser!
We hop on the trusty old Thameslink and jump off an hour later in St Albans. We’d heard about a loacl pub not far from the station that brews it’s own beer. So map in hand we try to locate it. Whilst we’re trying to get our bearings, Richard Thompson appears and asks which way the ground is. We point him in the right direction and as it turns out later, we’re bloody glad we did! A couple of minutes later and we’re off to the brew pub for some refreshment.
The Farmers Boy is a small but tidy boozer, but best of all, it sells scrunge. And that my friends, is all the excuse we need! We also partake of a fine plate of Sausage & chips to accompany our beer, before heading off to the ground. We discuss the option of putting a few quid on a draw today at a bookies, but we fail to find one and drop the idea.
Clarence Park is as tidy as ever, but is now sadly minus the tree on the terrace that propped up many a pissed U’s fan over the years. Sigh, how times are changing. The terraces also now have these big crash barrier thingys and a big metal gate object for segregation. Apart from these cosmetics, it’s still the same old place we don’t win at very often. Chalmers finally arrives with a couple of minutes to spare. Lazy git!
The team stays the same apart from Newell in goal. His missus is about to drop and so Tommy Dunn replaces him. The formation is again the dull, soulless 3-5-2 nonsense. Christ, do we have to suffer this until it actually gets us a poxy result?? Bolt and Westcott stay on the bench, with Nko & Sears as ‘wingbacks’. The front line remains Hodson and Thompson, mainly due to the fact we have’nt got anyone else!! Damian Panter has joined from Woking, which I’m not too impressed about. He agreed a loan deal a few weeks back & then changed his mind at the last moment, leaving us short of cover up front. Why’s he here now?? ‘Cos Woking cancelled his contract. Decide for yourself….
The game gets underway and somewhat shockingly, we actually look the better of the 2 sides. Even with our crap formation! Some half decent passing unhinges the home defence on a couple of occasions, but the final ball is either lacking or the recipient fails to read it correctly. Thompson gets through on one occasion but is unable to direct his shot powerfully enough to trouble Batty in the Saints goal. The home side manage a few forays forwards, but Dunn isn’t unduly troubled as our defence deals with most problems ably, with only a couple of minor scares supplied by the pacy Samuels. The closest we come to scoring is midway throught the 1st half when Harford gets the ball on the corner of the box and pops in a delicate chip with Batty stranded. The ball bonces back off the crossbar and out for a goalkick. Hodson limps off (our 4th striker to do so in as many games!!) and is replaced by Panter.
Half time and we’re a little disappointed not to be in front, but then there’s always the next 45 minutes!
Arse! The St Albans manager obviously uses his half time break to have a word with his team about their lacklustre performance and to get it sorted. How could we tell?? Well, the fact that they came out 5 minutes after our lot to start the half and then promptly spen the next 20 minutes camped in our half!
Samuels again is the main problem, but Lenny Piper also looks a good player, causing problems with his runs from deep. Twice early on Samuels gets into the box but is unable to provide a finishing touch. Dunn is far busier than the 1st half having to be smartly off his line several times. His best stop is of Howells proportions, a Saints midfielder is allowed to run into space and his swerving 20 yard piledriver is instinctively beaten out by the young ‘keeper, the ball then bounces across the goal and out for a corner.
We take our time to get going, if walking pace could be termed ‘getting going’ that is. Many of the team amble around, lacking urgency, especially Panter who looks mildly uninterested to say the least. The 3-5-2 is starting to take is dull toll as well with Nko’s attacking runs especially negated. When he does get up the flank, he seems unwilling to take on the last man, probably mindful of the fact that if he loses the ball, there’s 70 yards of open field behind him. JR, he’s a winger, not a bloody full back. If he’s not storming down the wing causing havoc, then there’s not much point in him being out there.
Thompson has a couple more good chances to give us the lead rather against the run of play, one good turn in the box gives him a good sight of goal, only for him to punt the ball over the bar and then one effort, that if he’d finished it, would have been a great contender for goal of the season. Collecting the ball some 25 yards out, he goes for goal. Turning one way then the other he weaves past at least 3 home defenders before slipping the ball inches past the far upright. Bugger.
But, just as it seems our 5th straight draw is approaching and the game into injury time, Thompson does a ‘Pufleet’ and gets our lardy arses out of jail again. Recieving a pass out on the corner of the box, he beats his marker, draws out Batty and this time nips the ball the right side of the post. About fucking time!
Seconds later, the whistle goes and we’ve gained 3 valuable but fortunate points (again). My my, won’t that please the Scummers. Even better is the news that K’s have lost again and remain second bottom of the Conference. Not nice is it you hoopy tossers??
We return to the Farmers Boy for one more pint, pleased our directions had seen Mr Thompson safely to Clarence Park about 3 hours previously. Our luck continues when we spot a bookies dead opposite the pub. Good job we didn’t spot that or we’d have done our money eh Bob??
MAN OF THE MATCH : Tommy Dunn. Did well with several winning saves.
ENTERTAINMENT : 5. Dull, neagative, boring, yawn, Zzzzzzzzz…………
TEAM : Dunn, Booth, Walker, Gray, Hammonds, Harford, Sears, Harlow, Ekoku, Thompson, Hodson SUBS : Bolt, Westcott, Panter.