FA CUP 3rd QUALIFYING ROUND
BATH CITY – 3 [Bloke 3.) Holloway 47. Geezer 90]
SUTTON UNITED – 0
Well, after disposing of the mighty Littlehampton in the previous round we were ever so slightly ‘chuffed’ to get DML premier side Bath City in the next round. That’ll be us out then.
And so it came to pass! Another rather poor showing from the U’s, outfought and outmuscled by a side that simply wanted it more. No offence to Bath, but they weren’t exactly spectacular. But yet they still managed to score 3 times. Says a lot really.
Our day started bloody early with a rather drawn out journey to Paddington. Chalmers and I arrive 15 minutes late for a 9.30 meet, missing our train. Bob shows up 5 mins later! Oh bugger, it’s going to be one of those days. 31 quid lighter courtesy of Great Western Trains Plc we park ourselves on the choo choo. An hour & a half later than planned, we’re off at Bath Spa and hunting for the first pub.
We find it quite easily. Which surprises the hell out of us. 3 other bevvy stops later, including The Hobgoblin, where a ‘Reclaim the Streets’ anti-car type demo floats past, much to our amusement. Even funnier is when one of the parade sticks their face right up to one of the windows and peers in making silly faces. The barmaid collecting glasses looks back, puts her own face to the glass. “Fuck off yer crusty!” she declares. Priceless! Then onto a mod/scooter place that Chalmers adores.
(CAMRA approved!) and after that, via the magnificent ‘Evans’ Fish n Chip emporium, it’s back to the station for a cab to the ground. (As you may remember, we’re lazy bastards!) About half way there, we encounter the suporters coach. Quite clearly lost (No change there then). We then end up directing them to the ground via mobile phone!! Jeez, I know we paid 31 quid for the train, but at least if we get lost looking for the ground, it’s cos we’re pissed, stupid or both. Not because some div can’t read an AA map book.
The formation is the same as it is every other bloody week, but the faces change a little again. Howells, thank christ, is back between the sticks, with Berry (?), Boothe and Hammonds in front of him. The 5 man midfield is Brooker and Ekoku at ‘wingbacks’ with Bolt, Harlow and Harford sandwiched in between. The front men are Scotty and Panter. Goals galore then.
Bath have the first opportunity after about a minute when a very good ball from out wide is aimed at their beanpole No9. Unfortunately, his first touch is of the same calibre as Michael Owens against Germany. In other words, he misses it all together. Soon after the Bath no11 is fortunate to stay out of the book for a crude challenge on Boothe who’s on a surge forwards. The first 20 minutes or so are played at a frantic FA Cup tie pace. End to end stuff. It has to be said that the home side look more threatening in this partnership.
Our first chance drops to Scotty. Put through, he draws the ‘keeper, but sees his shot defelected wide. Harford then creates a half chance from the resulting corner. Soon after, our hosts are in front. A long goal kick finds it’s way down our right flank. With our defence trailing and very square, the ball is played accross the box for the big no9 to tap home. And another rather easy goal is conceded. I’m amused to see Chris Boothe arguing the toss with Howells about who’s to blame. Leave it Chris, Gareth knows what he’s talking about, he had to suffer from defending like that all last season!!!
Our own forays forwards aren’t coming to much. We create openings, but no real clear cut chances. And so we go in trailing at the break.
The main bone of contention for us is the annoying performance of the ref. Not crap by Joe Ross standards, but just irritating. Ignoring 2 or 3 rather rash tackles by home players. Ho hum……
Bath start the second half in determined mood and Howells has to be on his toes to make two excellent stops within 5 minutes of the restart. The U’s meanwhile are struggling to gain any sort of momentum and after about 55 minutes we’re out of the tie altogether. Holloway pressures Harford, who loses the ball to him and then makes a pigs ear of the tackle. The bath man cuts accross the edge of the box and the two centre backs, Boothe & Berry part like the bloody Red Sea for him to shoot.
Howells is helpless as the ball pings into the net off the bas of the post. Another case of poor defending I’m afraid. We make a sub, bringing on Salako for Berry (Their tannoy bloke ‘amusingly’ announces it’s Andy and NOT John. Cheers you twat….). Despite this, the pattern stays the same. 3-5-2. Er, do we actually KNOW any other formation?? Come on John, for christs sake, why bring on a winger at 2-0 down and STAY with the same formation that isn’t working (and never has!) in the first place?? Sometimes I wonder.
Sal has a decent couple of runs and Bolt delivers two very good crosses, but there’s no bugger within a mile of the ball. Our faint hopes of getting anything from the game die with about 15 to play. We get a free kick just inside the Bath half and as the players form up on the edge of the box Paul Harford passes their no8 who crashes to the ground holding his face. Now, I saw the incident and I did’nt see any contact, so I reacted thus, accussing their bloke of being a cheating bastard. Loudly. As do many other U’s fans behind the goal. But after consulting both linesmen, the ref finally produces a red card and Harford walks for the 5th time in his Sutton career. It turns out later that Paul admits in the bar he DID twat their man. Very clever Paul, very clever.
We bring on Thompson for Scotty but this makes no difference as we continue to make no headway on the home defence.
Our miserable afternoon is completed in the last minute as we fail to even remotely defend a corner and the bal is nodded in at the back post. Bugger. So, we’re out of the cup again. Lets get back to the boozers.
Still cursing their ‘cheating’ no8 (remember, we didn’t know that Harford had actually twatted him!) on the way out, I’m told we’ve released Joe Nartey. To Carshalton. Typical.
We decide to stroll back into town to cool off and we then hit a couple more of the boozers on our CAMRA approved list (Cheers Amber Aleman!) before stumbling back to the station via Maccy D’s for a big green choo choo home.
Billericay next week. Joe Baker plays for them.
That’s us fucked then.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Howells. Great to see him back!
ENTERTAINMENT : 5. Not a classic. More muscle than style.
TEAM : Howells, Berry, Boothe, Hammonds, Brooker, Ekoku, Bolt, Harford, Harlow, Forrester, Panter. SUBS : Thompson, Salako