RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Boothe 65]
BILLERICAY TOWN – 4 [Baker 13.36. OG 44. Gentle 47]
With our somewhat arse form since the turn of the year, we’d always had this one down as a big opportunity for the boys from Essex to give us a good hiding in return for the one we dished out back in October. A stonking win that now seems sooooo long ago.
Another ‘return’ was that of Joe Baker. Yes, the mythical Joe Baker, cousin of Sammy Winston and promising Leyton Orient fringe player. The one who was deemed ‘not good enough’ by a certain manager of ours. The one we let go so that we could keep Paul Sears. Fuck me.
The U’s slipped to another crap home defeat 4 days after officially playing our last meaningful fixture of the season. A 3-1 tonking of the Bobbins in the Easter Derby match. The side shows a few changes from Monday. Howells is out and replaced by Dunn in goal. Andy “I’ve retired. Honest!!!” Riley is back again and drops into centre back. Boothe moves forwards into midfield in place of Paul Honey and Ryan Palmer goes to right back??? Eh??
This does little to allay our fears of a revenge tonking.
It’s a bloody freezing night and the game starts with a howling wind, pissing rain and Billericay on the attack. After approximately 25 seconds our back four is in complete disarray. Ekoku hesitates on clearing a loose ball and it pings around in the box for ages before being twatted out for a corner. Talk about confidence booster. Cheers lads!
We hit back with Nko flying down the left and delivering a mid-height cross to the near post. Whitmarsh dives in to try and nod it goalwards, but a Billericay defender just cuts it out. Then after 12 minutes, the visitors are in front. A Billericay midfielder slices a forward hoof and it goes about 10 yards and 300 feet into the air. Andy Riley positions himself under it, but rather than head it clear, he completely misjudges it. It bounces, hits his leg and runs free to…..Joe Baker! The little forward then legs it 40 yards unchallenged into the U’s penalty area, draws Dunn off his line and places it wide of our stand in ‘keeper inside the far post.
Nice one Andy. You can’t tell you haven’t played for about 3 months. Doesn’t show one bit mate. Jesus christ.
About 5 minutes later and the U’s are back on the attack. Ekoku fires another dangerous ball into the box after another left wing gallop. A free kick is won on the far side and Danny Bolt swings it in. Nko gets up, flicks it goalwards and with the ‘keeper nowhere Boothe nods in at the back post. Problem is, he’s about 5 yards offside. Even more annoyingly, it looks like Nko’s header was sodding well going in anyway.
It’s all academic a couple of minutes later as Baker shows our man in charge exactly why he “Wasn’t good enough”. Picking the ball up on the left, he cuts across the field, exchanges passes and bursts into a HUGE gap normally occupied by Horner. I don’t have any opportunity to locate our less-than-skilful left back as lil’ Joe tears towards Dunn’s goal with Boothe in pursuit. He draws Dunn out again, strolls past him, then Boothe and pokes the ball into the empty net.
Cor, what a shit player JR. Like he’s not FAR better than ANYONE we had last season. Or this season for that matter! Now completely dead in the water, we natrually do what we always do in this situation. Aimless hoofs forwards. Or aimless hoofs forwards that are nowhere near our strikers to be more exact. We do on the odd occasion try to move the ball but it’s always down our right flank. And as much as I think Ryan Palmer is a good player, an attacking fullback he ain’t!!! Almost as strange is the almost complete disinterest in moving the ball down the left.
With half time approaching, Baker and his mates (but mainly Baker!) continue to rip the shit out of a increasingly ragged U’s backline. The icing on the cake comes almost on half time. Baker goes on another mazy run, leaving another 4 or 5 half hearted U’s tackles in his wake. He makes it to the byeline, cuts back and delivers a wicked curling low ball into the 6 yard box for one of his team mates. Horner gets to the ball first at the back post and swings to hoof it clear. Sadly all he manages to do deflect the ball inside the far post with a wild air shot. You really couldn’t make this up. It’s like watching one of those Harold Lloyd/Laurel & Hardy movies from the 20’s. But in in the finest full colour 21st century bollocks-o-rama.
That’s it!! We could film the games in black & white, add a tinkly piano soundtrack. Who’d know the bloody difference?? We’d make a sodding fortune!
We wander into the bar to get out of the bitterly cold wind where we amuse ourselves with a nice line in sarky comments regarding the first 45 minutes. Well, you’ve got to. You’d go fucking mental otherwise.
The second half gets off to a stormer. After only a couple of minutes, we win a throw in just inside our own half. For some strange reason, we throw the ball straight at Dominic Gentle (well, it makes a change from Joe bloody Baker!), he heads off across the pitch, looking for a sodding great gap to appear in our defence. He gets about 5 yards and TA DAA! One huge great hole appears. Naturally he nips through it, draws out the once again exposed Dunn and slots home. *sigh*
The visitors continue in this vein for most of the half. Although quite how they fail to add at least another 4 or 5 to their tally is beyond me. Dunn makes a couple of smart saves and the opposition forwards waste several sitters.
The U’s get some reward for Whitmarsh and Haworth’s tireless, yet ultimately fruitless efforts up front just after the hour. Boothe picks the ball up in midfield and runs at the Billericay defence. He exchanges passes with Whitmarsh on the edge of the box, bursts between 2 defenders and shoots. The ‘keeper blocks the first effort, but our loud shouty defender/midfielder/striker bloke prods home the rebound.
Soon after the ineffective Danny Bolt is withdrawn for Frank McCormack. A sarcastic cheer eminates from the Securicor terrace. Mr McCormack has spent so long on the bench, that we’re trying to find out if he’s related to Baker!
The little winger comes on and does well. Showing some tenacity and taking on defenders. He supplies a couple of excellent crosses that despite finding a U’s player in the box, lack a decent final touch.
The final 20 minutes or so are played out with Billericay attacking at will and missing enough chances to win several matches.
We move around to the Collingwood Rec gate, ready to hit the pub for a pint ASAP. The final whistle blows and a disgruntled U’s fan near us voices his displeasure…
“Give it up Rains. I’m pissed off paying 7 quid for this crap!”
Ok mate. Just don’t do what twats like me and Bob did and pay for your ‘crap’ in advance & buy a season ticket!
I think I’ll go and sit in a nice dark corner now.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Sod off!
ENTERTAINMENT : 2.
TEAM : Dunn, Horner, Riley, Brooker, Ekoku, Palmer, Harlow, Boothe, Bolt, Whitmarsh, Haworth. SUBS : McCormack, er?, Ummm?