RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Bolt 64. p69]
CHESHAM UNITED – 3 [Renner 47. Browne 67. Statham p86]
And so our miserable run continues. And another home defeat. Although it has to be said, at least we gave it a bloody go in this one.
I have to say, we weren’t confident for this one. Not only are Chesham above us (not that it matters, we can’t beat any bugger at the mo) but they have one Mark Watson in their line up. He’s bound to score isn’t he. A hat-trick probably and knowing him, it’ll be one off each ear, sandwiching a trademark in-off-the-arse effort. Thankfully, we were to be pleasantly surprised on this front at least.
The side is now well past the ‘bare bones’ stage. We’re down to the bare DNA strands of a squad now! What with our now large injury list, the clubs apparent refusal to sign new players to cover this and the under-11’s on a group outing to the new Disney effort at the UCI, the side was once again shuffled around.
Boothe returns to midfield in place of Smith, Whitmarsh is out and Gray comes in to replace him and Andy Riley is back in the defence despite apparently having definately, definately retired this time. Yeah, right Andy! Same time next week then mate??
Another worrying thing is the crowd. Well, more the complete lack of anything coming close to one. What turns out to be just over 300 turn up. Fuck me, I know K’s say we want to try and emulate ‘em, but that’s ridiculous!!! Seriously though, I think this is the result of the clubs latest PR catastrophe. Look, WE know the seasons over for us, JR and Taylor know the seasons over for us, even the Board know the seasons over for us. But that’s no reason to go saying that in an interview in the local paper you dickheads! It’s not THAT hard to work out is it?? Get quoted by the local rag, effectively saying “seasons over, we’re not going to be giving a toss for the last 18 games” tends to be taken on board by your ‘floating’ support as meaning EXACTLY THAT!!! Therefore, they stop popping down to GGL with their 7 quid for games like this. Nice one. Not quite in the Gerald Ratner ‘Crap’ league of PR screw ups, but it’s a cracker nonetheless.
And so to the game.
As with saturday, the lads start well and knock the ball around, managing to find their own players more often than not. We even manage some attacking and have the first noteworthy chance when a corner finds its way to the back post, pings off the knee of a defender and loops goalwards. The Chesham ‘keeper manages to desperately claw it from under the bar only for it to bounce invitingly for Nko to lash into the net. Well, I’m sure he would have done if Neil Baker had’nt flung himself at it and managed to hook the ball several yards wide. Nko is still stood arms outsretched in the 6 yard box with a “What the….” look on his face a minute or so later as the goal kick is taken. Never mind big man!
Chesham do their fair share of attacking as well. Adopting the tactic of most of our recent opponents by running at our defence, which retreats quicker than an Italian army unit heading for a free pasta bar. A few shots fizz accross the face of our goal, thankfully most off target. Although Dunn does have one or two saves to make. Peddie in the other goal has to be alert, but most of our efforts are fairly long range. The best of which are produced by Bolt and a rasping volley by Harlow that flies inches wide of the far post.
So far, Mark Watson has’nt done much, but he shows us all he has’nt lost his touch with about 30 minutes gone, when unmarked and about 4 yards out he shins a first time effort over the Securicor terrace.
Always said that boy was pure entertainment!
So, with honours probably just about even, we go in 0-0 at the break. Not that should encourage us, as we’ve been 0-0 in our last 2 games and ended up losing both. Without scoring. Oh and not forgetting the goals right after half time……….
I head for the club shop at the break, looking to hand over cash to sponsor some players kit. Oh and a nice bit of advertising as well!!! Turns out my first choice, Rob Haworth has gone, so I plump for our promising youngster Matt Gray. 20 quid lighter,I head round to Rose’s hut to get the teas in.
The sides re-emerge with the U’s having subbed Neil Baker. Maybe Nko had got hold of him at half time for screwing up his chance.
OK, remember that bit about goals right after half time? Yeah, you guessed it…
The U’s are half asleep when a ball into the box isn’t cleared properly, comes straight back in and lanky No11, Renner drops on his back to hook the ball over him and into the far corner. Marvellous. Nice one lads.
But, just for a change, the U’s actually get stuck in and start trying to battle their way back into the game. Even Harlow’s doing well!!! With him and Boothe rolling up their sleeves and scrapping for the ball in the centre of the park (Yes, I DID use Harlow & scrapping in the same sentence) and also showing a bit of attitude for a change by screaming at the officials with every descision against them. I haven’t heard a midfield that noisy since the days of Jones and Byrne!!
Haworth and Gray are working their socks off, with the 17 year old Gray (sponsored by Gandermonium!!!) covering several hundred miles chasing down every ball. Harlow has another blazing volley just wide from the edge of the box following a corner before Gray’s hard work pays off. He gets the ball on the edge of the box, loses his marker and pokes the ball past the next defender who promptly bundles him over. PENALTY!!! And this time, the ref gives it! Thank fuck.
Bolty steps up, sends Preddie the wrong way and hammers the ball into the top corner. Come ON!
We’ve hardly had time to settle though when the visitors go back in front just 3 minutes later. Another ball into the box isn’t cleared and Dereck Brown pounces to stab the loose ball home from 6 yards. Grrrrr!
This pisses the lads off and they throw themselves at the visitors in search of an equaliser. It comes just 2 minutes after going behind and again its from left boot of Bolt after some clumsy defending. Haworth is needlessly bundled over on the edge of the D and despite having 4 in the wall, Bolty has the worm population of the Gander Green Lane end penalty box diving for cover as he drills the ball beyond Preddie and into the bottom corner. COME ON!!!!!!
This signals our best spell of the game as we apply some real pressure. But Chesham are by no means out of the game. They are now launching very quick, very worrying counter attacks almost constantly. Most chances are either badly fluffed by Chesham attackers or snuffed out by some excellent work by Palmer and Riley. Watson is involved on the fringes but poses no real danger.
Then with just 4 minutes to play and at least a morale boosting draw within our grasp, we fuck up again.
Another ball into the box from a corner is flicked on to the back post where Fox collects the ball. But covered by Harlow and seemingly running out of space, our skipper crashes into the Chesham player and concedes a pointless (literally for us!) penalty.
We endure a worrying few seconds as Watson picks up the ball, but he hands it to Statham who sends Dunn the wrong way to seal another U’s defeat.
This does’nt mean the end of our resistance though as we push forward with one last effort. Gray is unlucky when Preddie horribly slices a backpass, but the ball falls favourably for the ‘keeper and he manages to clear as Matty closes in. Bolt then sends an injury time cross into the box which Haworth connects with, but he can only direct his header into the ‘keepers midriff.
So another defeat. That’s 7 on the trot now. And with no new faces coming in, morale still fragile and just 11 points separating us from the last relegation spot, I think our management team and boards assumption that we’re ‘Safe’ a wee bit premature. If we do end up dragged into it, then someone will have to answer for it. Probably JR, as to be honest, he’s assembled the side. Much of which, he’s discarded already. We’ll see.
Still, at least we looked like we gave a shit tonight. Which is a start.
Right, it’s over to Bob or Paul for Dulwich on Saturday. I’m at the better half’s this weekend. Thank christ.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Matt Gray (sponsored by Gandermonium!!!) Ran his arse off all night.
ENTERTAINMENT : 7. Disappointing result, but we gave it a go and at least I felt I’d seen a game!!
TEAM : Dunn, Riley, Palmer, Baker, Williams, Boothe, Harlow, Bolt, Ekoku, Gray, Haworth SUBS : Williams