RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Haworth 31. Boothe 58]
GRAYS ATHLETIC – 3 [Douglas 40. McCloud 55. Abraham 76]
Uh oh. We might be in trouble here. Big trouble.
The U’s fell to their latest defeat last night at home to a limited Grays side themselves battling to stay up. To make matters worse, the visitors were reduced to 10 men for the last 20 minutes or so of the 2nd half and still managed to snatch a fucking winner. Want some insult to add to that injury?? Grays lost 1-0 at Carshalton on Saturday. That’s how fucking bad we are right now.
Whilst this latest disaster might not move us down the table any further (we’re still 13th) we are now seriously looking at the possibility of getting sucked into a relegation scrap. Oh yes folks, the team that Mr Rains and our Chairman announced was ‘safe from trouble’ just a few weeks ago is now just NINE points off the third relegation spot. And with twelve games and 36 points still to play for, this is just a little too fucking close for my liking.
4 points from something like 36 since Crimbo is to be honest, shit. Instead of being ‘safe’, we have a side that is completely unprepared for the tooth and nail scrapping required when knocking around at the wrong end of the table. And if certain people don’t get their fingers out, we’ll be doing a bit of that come May.
Bob & myself roll up to GGL at 7.15 to find the Rec turnstile closed. The game can’t be off as the teams are out warming up! It turns out that the ref we were allocated wasn’t showing up and a replacement had been rustled up from Scummersville. And he hadn’t arrived until 7.10! After a bit of farting about, he decided the game would go ahead with a 7.45 kick off. Cheers mate, we could have got a pint in if we’d known.
The side is relatively unchanged. Dante Aligheri gets his full debut at left back and Matty Gray (sponsored by Gandermonium) partners Haworth up front.
For once, the U’s start steadily. But the game is showing signs of being a rather tedious affair as neither side can create anything for the opening 20 minutes or so. Then out of the blue, Sutton almost break the deadlock. A move down the left is played on to Rob Haworth on the far side of the box. He turns and lays the ball into the path of Harlow and his stinging strike is turned away at full stretch by Newell in the Grays goal. This wakes the game up a tadge & Grays mount their first serious attack. They then proceed to put our crap defence under some pressure, forcing a number of corners.
The visitors best chance sees a forward chasing onto a through ball and racing in on Howell’s goal. Palmer covers half of Surrey to chase back and makes a superb block just as matey is about to shoot.
The U’s eventually take the lead after 31 minutes. A corner in from the right is met by Horner. Newell makes a reaction save, flinging his arm up to push the ball onto the bar, it bounces back straight at Rob Haworth and the big man nods it back into the far corner.
Grays launch more threatening forays forwards and force a few more corners but with no joy. The U’s meanwhile search for a second goal. Ekoku goes closest with a run across the edge of the box from the left his lox curling strike is again well saved by Newell. Then, with only a couple of minutes to half time, our defence finally goes walkies and Grays equalise. A Grays midfielder skips a couple of feeble challenges and slips the ball into a totally unmarked striker in the box. He turns and whips the ball past Howells and inside the far post. Oh for fucks sake.
The U’s have one chance to retake the lead right on half time when a quick break finds Bolt free on the flank. He runs in at goal and shoots low for the far post. Again Newell is down well and gets a touch. But the ball continues on a goal-ward path towards the back post. Haworth slides in to apply the final touch only for the ball to bounce back off the upright and is hacked clear by a defender. It’s going to be one of those nights.
At half time, Aligheri is replaced by Nick Williams. The U’s start briskly, but once again the main focus of our performance is the defence. Or to be more precise, our complete lack of one! Time and again, the Grays forwards cut through our almost non-existant rearguard. Ryan Palmer is the only evidence we have of one actually existing as he’s chasing around like a lunatic making tackles and breaking up attacks all over the shop. Obviously it’s only a matter of time before our overworked centre-back isn’t in the right place at the right time and our over-worked ‘keeper is left exposed once more.
About 10 minutes into the half, Grays once more attack down our right flank. Again the forward gets behind our back four and this time fires a low ball across the 6 yard box. It evades Howells and the 2 unmarked Gryas players in front of him, but a late arrival at the back post lashes the ball high into the net and not for the first time, we’re trailing to a side in the bottom 5.
Thankfully within a couple of minutes the U’s are level. Nko goes on one of his surging runs down the wing and is cut down in full flow by the Grays No4. Which is bad for him as he’d already been booked for a less than subtle body check on Aligheri in the first half. The ref produces a second yellow and No4 gets first dibs on the hot water in the changing rooms.
Bolty swings the resulting free-kick into the box where Boothe connects with thumping downward header into the bottom far corner. Thank christ for that! C’mon lads, we can win this now!!!
Oh shit. Did I really say that? Oooooops. Should know better than that by now.
The U’s then make hard work of their under strength guests and at times are given the run around by some decent passing. Matt Gray (sponsored by Gandermonium) runs his socks off for little reward and Haworth works hard alongside. But again it’s in defence that we’re screwed. When they have time to bring the ball down and use it intelligently, it gets hoofed away as quick as poss. When they’re under perssure, they’re trying to play their way out of trouble like fucking Brazil!! This naturally sets up a number of worrying Grays attacks.
Our guests are finally gifted the points with about 15 to play. Nko gets too tight to a Grays forward on the halfway line. The little bloke turns and before our big winger knows whats going on, the Grays player is fast disappearing into our half. He procedes to go 40 yards unchallenged, cuts into the box holds off Palmer and bobbles a shot past Howells, who can only look on as it trickles into the far corner. A definate case of ‘rats cocks’ if ever I’d seen one.
Sutton do try to pull something out of the bag, but the closest they get is a Matt Gray (sponsored by Gandermonium) header from 10 yards which goes just wide.
So, another miserable defeat to another side scrapping it out below us. And here’s the really scary part, with us chucking points away like this to sides below us, it allows them to gain ground on us, thus involving us in a messy relegation dogfight.
But we shouldn’t worry though. After all, we’re ‘safe’. Aren’t we?
MAN OF THE MATCH : Don’t be silly!
ENTERTAINMENT : 2. Not much fun watching this lot lose yet another home game……..
TEAM : Howells, Palmer, Baker, Aligheri, Horner, Bolt, Harlow, Boothe, Ekoku, Haworth, Gray SUBS : Williams, Howard