RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
HARROW BOROUGH – 2 [Flukey 31. Valenti 55]
SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Bolt 42]
Bollocks, crap, shite, wank, pants, toilet, cack.
All words that could (and knowing me, probably will be…..) used to describe yet another miserable result in a season of generally miserable results for the U’s.
I had a feeling we could get something out of this one. Having bagged four at Slough, we seemed to have got back into the knack of scoring. Now if we could just sort that sodding defence out. Harrow were sitting fourth bottom and experiencing worse form (if thats at all possible!) than ourselves! 1 win in 14, none in the last 10. Most teams on a bad run would view this as an opportunity to pick up and get their arses back in gear. Like I said, MOST teams would.
Not us, oh no! Our crusade to become the softest touch in the Ryman Premier goes on unabated. Need 3 points to help in that relegation battle?? Have Sutton over for a game. Battling for promotion?? Pop down to GGL, they’ll keep you right on track. We’re giving ‘em away like fucking sweets.
And so was the case again yesterday night at Earlsmead on a manky evening. Freezing bloody cold and unable to decide whether sleet or snow was best, it did both. Thankfully the Harrow pitch was in excellent nick. “Might be able to play footy on that” I thought. Silly boy!
Having dashed from work to make kick off, I hadn’t had time for a pre-match pint. So, not for the first time this bloody season, I get to watch my lot in action whilst I’m stone cold bloody sober. An occurance that is becoming all too sodding frequent for my liking. Bob meanwhile has been on the piss after work.
The side has a couple of changes from the Slough game. Not surprisingly, they’re defensive! Dante Aligheri makes his full debut in place of Howard and Howells is back from injury.
The early exchanges are fairly fast paced with Sutton probably looking the most threatening. A couple of times some decent build up finds Whitmarsh on the edge of the box, but his touch lets him down. Harrow are meanwhile concentrating on stout defence and giving us as little room in midfield as possible whilst looking for quick breaks. The first two parts of their plan works, but the attacking bits don’t and they rarely threaten Howells goal.
The U’s manage a few half chances. A Bolt worm-level piledriver free kick is deflected just wide of the far upright with Hook scrambling. A couple of angled efforts from Bolt are also deflected, one just looping over the lurking Haworth and another not quite falling for Whitmarsh in the 6 yard box.
Then with 31 minutes gone, we let Harrow have a sneak preview of their 3 point gift. Ekoku heads clear a set piece aimed at the Sutton box and the ball drops to the Harrow No8 out on the right hand touch line some 30 yards out. He controls and delivers what we assumed was a cross back into the box. There isn’t a Harrow or Sutton player within yards of it and Howells seems to have it covered. Arms outstretched like those ‘keepers on the telly, he can only look on in utter shock as the ball drifts between him and the near post and into the net.
Our somewhat embarrassed ‘keeper looks round to see if he can sort it out before anyone notices, but the No8 has twigged and is claiming his goal. Gareth even checks the side netting of his goal for holes!!! But there are’nt any and yet another utterly ridiculous goal against is chalked up.
Our bemused players kick-off and go in search of an equaliser. The closest it seems we’re going to get is when Boothe goes on a storming run from halfway and fires just wide of Hook’s right hand post. Then with a couple of minutes to go, Bolty rescues our hopless arses again.
Again, he cuts in from the right, skips past a defender and shoots. Most ‘keepers would probably stop such an effort but Hook takes several minutes to get to ground level and by the time he arrives, the ball has skidded off the wet surface and is nestling in the back of the net. 1-1.
Half time and we bugger off to the bar to warm up.
The second half gets underway with Harrow starting brightly. Their No10 is looking lively and a couple of times he’s given way too much room to turn on the edge of our box. Thankfully either his touch lets him down or a covering defender is there to nick the ball away.
The one time his touch does’nt let him down is after 55 minutes. A long ball forward is taken down excellently first time. He turns away from Horner, gets half a yard start and pokes the ball between Howells and the near post. 2-1. Oh bugger. This looks familiar.
It’s around this point I become aware of some loud people behind me. They’re not Sutton fans. I’m sure. How? They seem certain Harlow will do something positive with the ball when he gets it!!! I twig who they are when they refer to our hosts as ‘Scummers’. Ah, they’re Wealdstone fans. Fuck me they must be desperate for a game.
The U’s push up onto the home side, looking for another equaliser. Ekoku starts to get some joy down his flank, but the final ball is either poor or there is just no bastard in the box. Bolty goes missing when we need him most, trying silly flicks and subtle first time lay offs, when he has time to put his foot on the bloody ball and distribute it better.
Our friends from Wealdstone are by now getting upset at our inability to break down their neighbours defence. Their desire for a Sutton goal is underlined when Ekoku gets down the flank and delivers a ball to the near post. Whitmarsh stoops and heads goalwards from 6 yards, only for Hook to block the header and then claw the ball seemingly from inside the goal. The Stones fans appeal for a goal overshadow our own somewhat resigned efforts! Whitmarsh then completes the story by belting the rebound over from about 3 yards.
Harrow meanwhile are settling for counter attacks. The otherwise faultless Boothe gives the ball away to set one up which wins them a corner. And from the flag kick a free header is directed straight at Howells.
The U’s blow a late chance when another Ekoku cross is nodded on by Haworth at the near post. It drops right in front of Whits, just begging to be lashed into the net. SWIPE! Air shot. And the ball is cleared.
Bob and I head back to the Baker St Wetherspoons for a quick pre-closing time pint of Hen before toddling off home.
On the train at Victoria, an ever so slightly pissed bloke plonks in the seat across the aisle from me.
“2-1 was it?” he says. “Eh? What was? “ I reply a bit puzzled. “To Harrow!” says matey. “Were we crap again?” he adds.
Ah, a fellow sufferer!!! Turns out that Julian is a long standing U’s fan and couldn’t make the game, so decided to have a ‘few beers’ after work instead. Good man! Wish I’d done the bloody same now.
Still it made the journey home less boring, chatting to a fellow U about times when we weren’t quite so poor!!!
Ahhhh, Croydon on saturday. Bring your binoculars.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Chris Boothe. Worked hard and did little wrong in midfield.
ENTERTAINMENT : 5. Would have been dull except for the Wealdstone lot.
TEAM : Howells, Aligheri, Palmer, Horner, Baker, Bolt, Harlow, Boothe, Ekoku, Haworth, Whitmarsh SUBS : Gray, Howard, McCormack