RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
PURFLEET – 2 [McFarland 20. Carthy 72]
SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Boothe 78]
Match Reporter: Bob
Yes you’ve guessed it, another game and another defeat and there is no nice way to say this but we were shite.
With only 5 points won out of a possible 39 this year (2001) and 7 out of a possible 9 postponements being at home, we have now gone from being on the brink of something good with promotion to the Conference to becoming the laughing stock of the Ryman League.
I for one am not finding this funny anymore and I’m fed up of hearing all this bollocks about “building for next season”. Building what exactly? Can anyone see any firm foundations that you could honestly say are the building blocks of the future? I wondered what had happened to the engineer’s who built the millennium (wobbly) bridge; we’ve obviously signed them up!
Just how much longer will we have to put up with this shit I can’t say but knowing this club the end is very far from nigh. With clubs like CAFC & DHFC having parted company with their managers this season I’m sure that they could not have had as worse a run as we are having at the moment, but what will our board do? That’s right fuck all because were “building for next season”.
On arrival at the ground it can be seen that the builders have been busy in the year or so that we have been away as a new clubhouse (The Ship Inn) has been built along with new turnstiles on the corner of the ground before you go up the hill to the main hotel. I decide to check out the clubhouse before entering the ground and am not shocked to find it’s very basic with no beer. After looking over the spirits the decision is made to have a Southern Comfort & Lemonade, once this is poured the barmaid plays piano on the till and comes up with a ridiculous figure of £2.65. After nearly swallowing my tongue and having a minor heart attack I enquire “how much, that cant be right?” she then consults the other barmaid and checks the till and returns, “yes that’s the right price”! Refraining from saying “well you can stick your drink up your arse”, I hand over the money and note in my long-term memory that that’s the first and last drink I buy in ‘The Ship Inn’.
Once entry to the ground and a couple of programmes are secured, a burger is munched and the team changes noted, but from here on in the game is very dull with not a lot to report apart from it pissed down all through the second half. With the one change in the Sutton starting line up being Craig Howard replacing Neil Baker its pretty much same old same old in the first half. On 8 minutes a Danny Bolt left footed free kick from 20 yards just skims past the keepers left hand post but in the 20th minute were behind. Jimmy McFarland pops up unmarked in the box to head home following a right wing corner. Game over then, that’s us fucked I mutter to myself. Purfleet decide to go for the kill and with the U’s offering little resistance it only takes them 3 minutes to go close again when they hit the top of the crossbar from long range but it was going over all the way.
On 32 minutes Purfleet were unlucky not to be further ahead when a lob/shot from about 25 yards flies over the advanced Gareth Howell’s and hits the underside of the bar, but as Howell’s turns to see where the ball went he is relieved to see it bounce on the line and back out into his arms. Phew. That was about as exciting as it got in the first half but the second half started a little brighter for Sutton with Paul Whitmarsh having a snap shot go wide in the opening couple of minutes and then on 65 minutes a Dave Harlow right wing corner is met again by Whitmarsh but his shot is saved by the keeper.
In the 72nd minute it was game, set and match Purfleet as Martin Carthy collects the ball in the centre circle just inside the Sutton half and he decides to test our defensive capabilities, they fail miserably as he runs with pace from halfway straight down the middle towards goal and unchallenged, he gets into the area and slots home past the advancing Howell’s. Well fuck me, you can’t get a simpler goal than that but that’s all you need to do to score past us at the moment, play simple football. With the game now in the last 15 minutes and the Sutton fans restless, the very poor homer referee stops the game with Sutton attacking to allow treatment to a Purfleet player who is down injured in the Sutton box, but with the roles reversed a couple of minutes later when Richard Horner is down injured in the Purfleet box the referee waits for the ball to go ‘dead’ before he allows treatment to the Sutton man. This sends the Sutton contingent mad and they start to play the ‘who can get the most obscenities into a sentence directed at the referee’ game with even the most respected supporters who you would never imagine swearing opting to join in.
This noise from the Sutton end may have stirred the players as in the 78th minute were in with a chance as from a Dave Harlow right wing corner Chris Boothe meets the ball with a firm header and he duly scores his 5th league goal of the season. Sutton press hard for the remainder of the match for the equaliser but to no avail with the closest effort coming in the 83rd minute via good work by Nko Ekoku down the left and as he gets into the box he squares it to Bolt but as he lines up his shot the ball bounces up and he catches it with his shin and the shot goes well wide. The last few minutes are played out without incident and the match ends with a 2-1 win for Purfleet, our 12th defeat of 2001!
Finally summing up, this game was a typical end of season type game with nothing to play for which resulted in a very dull encounter.
After a cab ride back to the station I find the train I should have missed by 15 minutes was running nearly 30 minutes late so I didn’t have too long to wait for a train and with an unscheduled stop at West Ham station on the journey back I decide to ‘try out’ the new Jubilee line extension to see what its like. This turns out to be very impressive and it’s very weird having a screen on the platform edge to stop entry to the track. The journey works well though and I’m home just gone 11.30pm. The only other thing I can think to mention, which will have mixed reactions from Sutton fans, is that Graham Roberts was at the game and there was a rumour he’s not happy at Boreham Wood and he would be interested in taking up the reigns at Sutton. We’ll have to wait and see and maybe things might be a little clearer on Wednesday at Croydon, yes I know another defeat!
Man of the match: Chris Boothe
Team: Howells, Alighieri, Horner, Boothe, Palmer, Harlow, Bolt, Howard, Whitmarsh, Haworth, Ekoku SUBS : Gray, McCormack, Seal