RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
FARNBOROUGH TOWN – 2 [Piper 24.71]
SUTTON – 1 [Boothe 24]
Well, here we are. Another New Year with just loads of fun packed Ryman Premier action to keep us amused til May. I don’t think!
We were saying before Crimbo that the fixtures in January would make or break our season. Well, at the mo, I’d say it’s the latter, after the pre-crimbo defeat at home to Heybridge & now this loss at title chasing Farnborough, it leaves you somewhat underwhelmed at the approaching fixtures. And we’ve still got to play Aldershot, Canvey and Heybridge again. Oh joy!
For once, LT did’nt let me down and got me to Croydon for the tram ride into Wimbledon on time. Arriving 10 minutes early for the meet with Bob in the Wetherspoons. Arse, it won’t be open. One quick browse round HMV later and I crash opposite Mr Bone with a pint of Brains and flick through the copy of the Non-League rag he’s brought. There’s a bit in it about our lot not planning to splash the cash to get us back into the Conference. Now there’s a shocker. 10 out of 10 to the boys at the NLP for this astounding bit of investigative journalism.
From the moment we leave the boozer, things begin to annoy me. We get to the station & I attempt to buy my ticket. I say attempt as of the 3 people in front of me, 2 of them are complete fucking morons. I mean, I was under the impression that when buying a ticket for a rail journey, you at least had to have SOME idea of where the hell you’re going! As dickhead number one takes 15 minutes to purchase his ticket. Am I upset?? A bit.
Then dickhead number two worsens my mood by prurchasing about 10 different tickets for about 6 different destinations for approx 4 other people. YOU BASTARD! Matey number three then orders a ticket to Liverpool St in broken English, splashes the cash and fucks off in ten seconds flat! Amazing. The tourists have got more of an idea of the system than our own bloody people. Natrually, taking twenty minutes to get the ticket means we miss the poxy train. Although it’s possibly the only SWT service that runs to the exact second this century, as we hit the platform 30 secs after its due AND IT’S GONE! Typical.
Slightly delayed, we finally make it to F’boro via Woking and go in search of our first beer stop. Thankfully this is painlessly found (Probably as it did’nt involve using a fucking train!!!) and we’re greeted by Speckled Hen & some other scrunge. Lovely! The pub is also quite different in the fact that we encounter home fans. Wow. We’re just not used to that outside the confines of the grounds themselves.
A couple of pints later at 2.30 we toddle off to Cherrywood Road, Sorry, The ‘Amita’ Stadium, home of Farnborough Town, oh bugger, sorry, FTFC to give them their correct Corporate ‘brand name’ (Eh??). And boy are we glad we did. The walk is short, but we’re greeted by two bloody great queues at the only open turnstile. It turns out that they’ve not been open long. Are these people serious? For a crowd of around 800, you open the gates less than an hour before kick off? How did they cope with the crimbo derby with Aldershot?? Probably pushed the boat out and opened ‘em at 2.
What realy pisses me off, is that a 2 minutes to 3 we’re still queueing albeit several people from the gate, when some bastard opens a big main exit gate to our right and invites anyone with the right money to enter that way! Thus half the people at the back who’ve queued for no more than 10 seconds are in the ground 5 mins before we are. Nice one mate. I thought this Westley geezer was meant to be portraying a more professional, corporate type of operation. What did he base it on? That of a big mouse normally resident in Florida?? Oh and Graham? Spending some wedge on the car park would be nice. Last time I saw that many craters was in an educational film on the moon landings.
Right, onto the football. Well, in a minute…
After just a bit more about that Westley bloke.
The proggy is good value at just a quid. No complaints there. But is sadly turns out to be something of a “Self help manual for expensive and until recently underachieving football teams” as some of the completely nauseating, corporate, pyscho-bollocks contained within make it possibly a less enthralling read than Kingstonian’s season review from last year (entitled : We’re dead dead good we are. And you’re not!). Content wise, probably the biggest load of shite I’ve purchased at a football ground. The programme that is, not the K’s book. I made that bit up. It’s all nonsense like ‘blue sky thinking’ and ‘Attitude it more important than ability’. Fuck off mate.
Oh right, yes, the game. Great.
The home side run out and we’re a tadge dissappointed they don’t jog out, a yard apart, going ‘hut hut hut hut hut hut’ like some fucking SWAT team deploying with you know who loudly quoting his latest ‘uplifting’ masterpiece from the proggy. Ho hum.
The U’s line-up is the same as usual. Howells covered by Horner, Palmer and Hammonds. With a 5 man midfield (oh goody!) and Boothe partnering Thompson up front. Our reservations at this formation is curtailed though as the U’s open strongly and tear into their oppo.
For once, the passing is actually crisp and acurrate, causing Farnboro a few probs. They inturn struggle to create much as we go close on a couple of occassions. Horner fires just wide of the upright from a sharp angle and Bolt screws a shot just wide. OUr hard work and good approach play does get it’s reward when we take he lead after about 20 odd minutes. Thompson recieves the ball around 30 yards out on the right. He turns his marker, scampers past a second and unleashes a fierce drive from the edge of the box. It curls past the deperate dive of the home ‘keeper only to thump back off the upright. Luckily it rebounds out to Chris Boothe, completely unmarked and he takes great delight in slotting the ball into an empty net against his old team. Now this is where it all goes a bit Pete Tong. There’s a big bundle to celebrate the goal in front of our dugout and it seems as our lot get a little too excited as around 30 seconds later, we’ve conceded a shite goal to undo almost 30 minutes of hard work.
The kick off is sprayed out to the right, where their wide man is allowed to run almost 40 yards unchallenged. He then slips the ball into the box, only for Horner to close off the run of the home forward. He seems to expect Howells to come and collect as there’s a moment of hesitation and the striker takes the opportunity to toe the ball accross the 6 yard box where Lenny Piper scrambles the ball home. To concede such a shit goal immediately after taking the lead having played all the footy is fucking annoying.
This complete gift unsurprisingly gives the home side the edge and their midfield starts to get a grip on proceedings. We keep playing some nice neat football, but Laker has got the back four in order and most of the approach work is wasted. Farnborough meanwhile have their first couple of serious efforts on goal which Gareth deals with without too much trouble. And so we go in level at the break with the home side probably just on top.
Half time reveals Dagenham are amazingly 1 up at Charlton and K’s are winning at Southend. So, not all good news then!!!
The second half starts with Farnboro trying to gain the advantage, attacking us down the flanks and getting particular joy down our right hand side. Now Danny Brooker is a good solid fullback, but he’s NOT a wingback and thus he gets caught out of position a few times, leaving Hammonds a little exposed. Fortunately Palmer is on the ball and is accross to assist when required. Despite the early pressure from our hosts, it’s the U’s who go closest to going in front. With about 10 minutes of the half gone, a through ball is missed by the Farnboro centre back and Boothe is in on goal. Sadly, his legs have’nt quite got enough to carry him through for a clear shot and he instead pops the ball accross goal for Danny Bolt who’s charging into the box. Laker puts in a last ditch lunge to try and prevent a goal. This seems to be enough as Bolty has to stretch for the ball and despite getting it on target and beating the ‘keeper, the ball hits the foot of the post and bounces to safety. It’s all the more agonising for me and Bob as we’re stood to the left of the goal and the ball looked like it was going to sneak a good yard inside the upright!!!!
This is our last meaningful effort for some time. The home side step up a gear, particularly in midfield. And when this happens, Harlow is out of the game totally. His already dodgy passing goes to pot completely and his old buddy Watson is soon operating as if our skipper was’nt there at all. Harford meanwhile is continuing his recent dodgy form by giving the ball away most times, starving our front two. Gareth has a couple of scary moments, touching one blistering effort over the bar for a corner.
It’s on 71 minutes that the home sides pressure pays off. Three (Yes, count ‘em, THREE!) U’s players get into a tangle and are completely left for dead by a Farnboro midfielder about 10 yards inside their half. He tears off with a good 50 yards of open space in front of him. By the time one of our defenders decides it might be a good idea to close him down, blokie plays a neat pass into the supporting Piper, who draws Gareth off his line and nicks the ball into the far corner. Another complete sucker punch conceded by Sutton united FC. Cheers lads.
We try to up the tempo, but fail. And only the home side really look like scoring. Watson blazes high and wide and Dack cocks up a couple of free-kicks. Howells then produces his now customary top drawer save, somehow getting down to push out a bullet header from about 6 yards.
Thompson is replaced by Sears (eh?) and we give up hope of rescuing the point. Although, Sears does have a late close range header blocked by a defender.
The only other bright spot for us is the introduction of 16 year old Matt Gray. Apparently the latest hot prospect from our youth team. Christ we’re blooding ‘em young!! With Forrester & Hutchinson making debuts in the Conference at 18, maybe a return to the old production line of the past is on the horizon.
Bob and I amble off to the bar for the footy results. We’re not after beer, as this place only sells cans. It turns out the bloody car park is more homely than this place. Even our bars better. And thats saying summat! Off we then go in search of scrunge pubs and amazingly having drawn a blank, get a cracking pint of Flowers in a bloody Beefeater! Then it’s back to Wimbledon, enjoying a conversation with some Donny lads who are on the way back from Woking, before hitting the Wetherspoons for a couple more beers and then homewards.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Tough one. S’pose I’ll go for Thompson.
ENTERTAINMENT : 7. Not a bad game all told.
TEAM : Howells, Brooker, Hammonds, Horner, Palmer, Bolt, Harford, Harlow, Baker, Thompson, Boothe SUBS : Gray, Sears,