A Tram To The End Of The Line

RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION

Att: 204



CROYDON – 2  [McFarland 20. Carthy 72]

SUTTON UNITED – 1  [Boothe 78]

End of the line. All out. Well, maybe just you two. Yeah, you in the dugout.

Before we start, I’d like to apologise for any inaccuracies with regards to the actual match events in this report. This is due to NASA going back on their promise to lend us the Hubble Telescope. Well, you try watching a game stood 15 miles from the pitch and get everything right!

A few days back, I don’t remember exactly when, I called the clubcall line checking if the upcoming game was in jeopardy or had been called off. There wasn’t a message about the game, but I did catch the start of that days lead ‘item’.  It was an interview with Alan Taylor in which he apparently stated that the ‘buck stopped’ with him and John Rains with regards to the recent poor run.

Well Alan, after last nights little ‘performance’ (I use that word in the loosest possible sense) I think you and Mr Rains will find the buck has indeed stopped. And it’s outside your fucking front door, loudly tooting it’s horn.

And what normally happens at a footy club when the buck ‘stops’ at it’s allocated location?? Yep, your arse gets sacked. Unless of course your footy club is Kingstonian, in which case you all gang up and sack the coach instead! Ooops. Sorry Alan.

Sutton’s staggering freefall towards the Ryman 1st Division continued unabated last night with a display so inept that Croydon’s new ‘keeper Les Cleevely was no doubt wondering how the fuck he ended up picking the ball out of his net seven times when he faced us with Dulwich just a few weeks back. If he was indeed wondering this, he ain’t alone. Many U’s fans are also still trying to work it out.

Bob and I meet up for a pre-game pint or 2 in the Wetherspoons, then tab up to East Croydon station for the short tram ride to the Arena. Most efficient! The side remained the same as the one that by all accounts turned up and did fuck all for 75 minutes at Purfleet on Monday. Could this be the game the U’s turn things around?? With Croydon lying second bottom?? Don’t make me laugh.

The first half was a dismal, drab affair, with neither side really doing much of any consequence. Croydon to be fair did work hard, snapping into tackles and chasing down every loose ball, whilst we ambled around looking really rather bored. The home team also managed more in the way of shots on Howells goal, but most were either straight at him or wide of the mark. A first minute corner for the ‘Trams’ did drift onto the top of the crossbar.

Amazingly, after about 20 minutes or so, the U’s have the best chance of the half. Whitmarsh races onto a through ball and shoots from 10 yards, but Cleevley gets down to parry the effort to safety. 10 minutes later, a carbon copy attack. Whits again is through, but elects to try and blast into the top corner from the edge of the box. He doesn’t. The ball sails a good few feet high and wide.

With the match petering out towards the break, the U’s rearguard goes AWOL for the millionth time since Crimbo and the home side are in front. Croydon sweep the play from the far side to the near corner of our 18 yard box. Here a ‘Trams’ striker, completely unmarked is denied with  a smart block by the ever alert Howells. Sadly having once again done his job, his defenders stand around and watch as another Croydon player follows up and belts the ball past the grounded ‘keeper and into the net. Christ on a bike.

My fucking Nan could defend better than this lot.

A burger at half time keeps out the now chilly evening air and we take our places for the second half.

This is again much the same as the first. We amble around, whilst the home team at least look interested. The only thing that keeps us in the game is the amazing charity dished out by their forwards who miss several excellent chances. Then the unbelieveable happens. We equalise!!! Bloody hell, have to say we never saw this one coming.

Nko is fouled on the near side touchline around 30 yards out. Danny Bolt lumps a high ball towards the back post. A U’s player actually wins the ball, heading it back to the opposite post where it looks like Whitmarsh nods in from about a yard. I’m not too sure though as being several kilometers from the pitch hinders my view. Who cares,  somehow, we’re not exactly sure how, but somehow we’re still in this game! Our initial relief at the equaliser is soon muted as we proceed to play like we’ve just pulled the score back to 4-1 not bloody 1-1.

Another free kick from a similar position is fired in Bolt soon after, but this bounces back off Cleevley’s crossbar and the ball is booted clear. Croydon themselves soon rattle the bar at the other end with a shot from the edge of the box, fortunately Howells is able to gather the rebound.

We have a bit of a purple patch where we finally get Nko involved on the left a couple of times and his surging runs cause problems. One is halted illegally right on the edge of the box and earns the Croydon man a booking. A similar run just minutes later ends up with Nko going down in the box. Shame, ‘cos if he hadn’t dived, he might have got a shot in.

Then it all kicks off. Nko goes in high on Peter Garland on the near side in front of the Croydon dugout. It’s an awful tackle and Mr Garland, known for his….er…..rather tempramental outbursts, is a tad miffed to say the least. Things calm down and Nko is booked. But moments later, Garland obviously says/does something to the big winger as he goes completely nuts. Thankfully a couple of our defenders make their only real contribution of the night and prevent him from getting at the Croydon midfielder. The linesman has also obviously heard the comment and flags for the ref. After a brief consultation with his assistant, Garland is called over and recieves his marching orders. We find out afterwards that the reason for the sudden reaction was that Garland had spat at Nko. What a nasty prick you are mate. That’s disgusting.

Oh great, that’s all we need. Our record against 10 men is nothing short of crap. This is going to go wrong, very very wrong.

The match resumes and again it’s Croydon who are making most of the running. And again their forwards are proving somewhat wasteful in front of goal. But, with just 7 minutes to play our back four commits hari kari again, allowing Croydon to collect their second win in 3 days. We fanny around with the ball in our final third of the pitch again and a poor pass gives Croydon possession. I did’nt quite see what happened next as play disappeared behind the obstruction of  the home dug out. By the time I’d adjusted my view, a Croydon forward was swivelling inside the 18 yard box and directing a shot past Howells into the far corner. Oh arse.

With little time left, the U’s were never going to pull anything out of the hat and threaten the Croydon goal very little before the final whistle.

Bob & myself trotted back & caught the Tram into Croydon. Then back to the Wetherspoons for a few pints to try and make some sense of this complete cock up. We couldn’t!

So another witless and gutless defeat. Basically, this is the end of the line for the men in charge as far as I can see. 5 points from something like the last FORTY TWO is completely unacceptable. Sorry, but I think it’s time for a change. You know who I mean.

Before you go jumping up and down and calling me ungrateful for what JR has achieved at GGL, THINK for a second. He’s had more than enough opportunity to sort this situation out.  He hasn’t. Most clubs would have cut their losses weeks ago. Strangely, we stand by a manager who seems unable to raise the team and instil a bit of bloody fight.

For those of you who reckon we should stick with it, let me refresh your memories a bit. Remember the last manager we stuck by to the bitter end? Another ‘Sutton’ man?? Yeah, Keith Blunt. And we all know what happened there.

It’s so bad that I honestly can’t see where our next point is coming from, let alone our next win. The team has NO spirit, NO backbone, NO nothing. You might say “but it’s the team that got us into this!” Quite correct dear reader. But I will retort with “and who signed the fuckers in the first place??”. And if I’m in a bad mood, I may even add “and mainly under whose recommendation?”

Some people might still have faith in JR keeping us up. Personally, I no longer do. All I’ll add is that if he’s still in charge by the end of the season, he’s got to be the luckiest guy alive.

MAN OF THE MATCH : Er, you’re kidding right??

ENTERTAINMENT : 2. Rubbish. Two struggling sides. Very easy to see why!!

TEAM : Howells, Palmer, Aligheri, Howard, Horner, Harlow, Boothe, Bolt, Ekoku, Whitmarsh, Haworth   SUBS : Gray, McCormack, Seal

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