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RYMAN FULL MEMBERS CUP 2nd ROUND

Att: 194



SUTTON UNITED – 2  [Bolt 50.70]

CROYDON – 2  [Unknown 35. Garland 72]



After Extra-Time. Sutton win 4-3 on penalties.

Oh bugger it. I had to open my big gob didn’t I? I comment on never having reported on a penalty shoot out for the site. Obligingly, the lads went and bloody well supplied another one for me!! Er, cheers?

The game had been in doubt, what with the mildly inclement spell of weather we’ve been having recently. In fact, it’s rained so much that your average Duck would have commented ‘Bugger that, I’m staying indoors’. Or something. Maybe.

Chalmers the lucky git had wangled a ticket for a Bad Manners gig (funnily enough in Croydon) and would be bouncing around like an idiot whilst the less fortunate amongst us (IE. Bob and myself) ended up at a cold wet GGL for this less-than-eagerly awaited Ryman Full Members cup match. Now all you real footy fans can gauge the importance of a game and the stature of your opponents by the size and fervour of the crowd. Well, when I walked in at about 7.15, there were about 10 other nutters visible in the ground. Fervour?? Left it at home mate.

Croydon were here about a month back, losing 2-1 to the U’s but fighting for everything and unlucky maybe not to snatch a point in a league match. With their bad start to the season, games like these are important for them as it gives the club something to aim for and wins can of course build confidence. So naturally it’s the visitors who start the brightest, looking for a quick breakthrough. They almost get it when a looping header from a corner bounces off the top of the bar and back into play. A Croydon player get his head to it and nods it goalwards, but Howells is thankfully alert and palms the ball away. We create a couple of openings ourselves, but most of our attacks are either flagged offside or we try and walk the ball in rather than shoot.

There’s a suspicion of offside when Croydon do take the lead after 35 minutes. A ball in from the left is played accross the box and is touched in at the back post by a Croydon player BEHIND Howells. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that offside?

Soon after, Chris Boothe, again being pressed into action as a forward, takes a pass from Bolt and runs clear of the defence. But he hesitates slightly and the ‘keeper is able to make the save at Boothe’s feet. This is our best chance and we go into the break 1-0 down.

JR replaces Harford and Boothe at half time for 2 blokes I don’t recognise (reserves?). Thankfully the lads pick up the tempo at the start of the second half and it pays dividends about 5 minutes in. Bolt goes on another tricky run on the far side, just onside the Croydon box. For some reason the visiting defender decides to trip the little midfielder rather than just shadow him and the ref has no option but to award a penalty. Bolty steps up and thumps the ball into the bottom corner. We then have our best spell of the game, creating some nice openings but no real clear cut chances. Again it’s Danny Bolt who provides the goods.

He collects the ball on the edge of the box following a corner, skips past a couple of challenges, finds a gap and wallop. His bloody lethal left foot plants the ball neatly into the bottom corner. That’s better lads. Unfortunately for us, that pesky Croydon lot are’nt going to let us get away with this and barely 2 minutes later, they’re level again at 2-2. A silly free kick is given away about 20-25 yards out. Peter Garland steps up and ‘Beckhams’ it inside Gareths near post. It’s an absolute cracker. Such a shame that Mr Garland is sometimes better known for being a bit of a twat than a good footballer. He proves that the effort isn’t a fluke about 10 minutes later, when from an almost identical position he swings in another cracker which Howells just manages to get a touch to and the ball thuds back off the bar. This lifts the U’s and Stuart Hammonds has a good header from Salako’s cross palmed away by the visiting ‘keeper.

Sal himself almost snatches it with a couple of minutes to play, running onto an excellent diagonal ball from Panter, he draws the ‘keeper and shoots only to see the ball ping back off the upright and then bobble past him when he seems certain to poke the rebound into the empty net! The keeper gratefully gobbles up the loose ball.

And so to extra time. The first 15 minutes are quite uneventful, with our guests probably having the better of things, but in the second period, they take over and manage to miss a shitload of chances. One corner is missed by everyone and bounces back off the far post, whilst another his headed against the bar. Gareth also pushes out one point blank effort to prevent a certain goal.

And then to penalties. You know, the things I was soooo disappointed to miss in the last round. Gits.

Dave Harlow goes first and send the keeper the wrong way. 1-0. Next, their man shoots weakly wide of the post. Wahey! 1-0 still! Danny Bolt is next and again plants a perfect effort beyond the keepers grasp. 2-0. Gareth is then sent the wrong way as Croydon pull it back to 2-1. Panter takes the next and despite the keeper getting a hand to the ball it sneaks inside the post. 3-1. Gareth then guesses wrong again, 3-2. Ryan Palmer thumps his effort low down the centre to put us on the brink of victory at 4-2. Howells then guesses right and gets a slight contact on the ball but it finds it’s way through to make it 4-3 and leave it all up to Andy Salako to win it……….oh fuck.

You just know he’s going to miss by the way he winds up to hit it. And he does. The ball pings off the top of the bar and over the Securicor terrace. Arse. Sorry Gareth mate, down to you again! He doesn’t let us down and he dives to his left to stop Croydon’s final kick and send us through 4-3.

There, I’ve done it. Penalty shoot out covered. So no more ok boys……OK?

MAN OF THE MATCH : Danny Bolt. Both goals and still our most dangerous player by far!

ENTERTAINMENT : 7. Actually not a bad game considering……

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