RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
SUTTON UNITED – 3 [Bolt 3. Honey 48. Gray 90]
HARROW BOROUGH – 3 [Howell 7. Woodruffe 37. Gavin 85]
Well, it’s sort of a start I suppose.
The U’s scrambled a point against fellow strugglers Harrow with a last gasp header from Gandermonium sponsored striker, Matty Gray, this despite having several good chances in the second half, including hitting the woodwork. But that’s all to come.
After wandering about in Sutton for a while, a swift pre-match beer in the Robin Hood was sorted out. Drinks guzzled, it’s off to GGL for yet another feast of comedy defending and inept leadership.
Today’s game was rather vital, as having fucked up against the 10 men of Croydon on Wednesday, we badly needed the points to keep ourselves on the fringe of the battle for the drop. Fat chance.
Despite the leg up we gave ‘em a couple of Tuesdays back, our visitors are still struggling to get out of the aforementioned battle. Ungrateful sods!
Our line up changes slightly from Wednesdays debacle. England youth international Paul Honey comes into midfield, Boothe drops back into defence and Bolt is shifted up front in place of Whitmarsh. Hmmmm.
Proceedings get underway and the U’s start brightly pressing forwards from the whistle. We win a free-kick on the stand side about 20 yards out and Bolty swings in a delightful ball. The Harrow defence is a little flat footed and a queue of 3 U’s players are waiting to pounce. Rob Haworth meets the ball on the half volley 12 yards out, but his shot thumps back off the bar. Arse. Fortunately for us, the visitors defence seems as charitable as our own. The fail miserably to clear Haworth’s shot, the ball is pushed back into the area where Danny Bolt is the receipient. Completely unmarked, he has time to tee himself up and shoot low past Hook for his 18th goal of the season. WooHoo! Oh, hang on. There’s 87 minutes to go. We’ll neve bloody hold onto that. Bob and I discuss how long we reckon the lead will last.
About 4 minutes as it turns out!! Although Harrow are almost level straight away when a long hoof forwards by Hook is fired just wide of Howells far post. The visitors do level after 7 minutes when a ball is played through to Woodruffe out on the Rec side of the ground. At this point our entire back four stop and do the ‘Arsenal’. All stand there, with their arms in the air screaming ‘OFFSIDE’ as loudly as possible. Which is great, sadly the most coherent thing the defence has done in weeks is wasted as the linesman decides the Harrow No11 isn’t actually offside! Whilst Woodruffe legs it towards the bye-line, the defence then carry on their rediscovered unity by further pausing to hurl abuse at the lino.
Whilst we’re all very touched on the terraces at this display of team ‘spirit’ and ‘unity’ we’d very much like you all to stop fucking about and get AFTER HIM!
The U’s defence having given the Harrow wide man a bloody good head start, finally take off in pursuit. Too little too late. By the time most of them arrive anywhere near the 6 yard box, Woodruffe has fired a low ball accross goal and Howell slides in and pokes the ball past Howells. Rats cocks.
Move over Keystone Cops, the Sutton boys are on the case.
The verve, action and excitement of the first 3 minutes disappears and we settle into our by now customary pattern. In other words, we start to play a bit crap. Despite this, Harrow’s defence seem intent on gifting us another goal. Haworth breaks through and from a tigh angle forces Hook to save with his legs. More crap defending from our lot then allows Woodruffe through again, but Howells is alert to beat out his fierce shot from 10 yards. Then with about 10 minutes to half time, another piece of defensive suicide gifts Harrow the lead. Palmer, under very little pressure, heads weakly back to Howells. The lurking Woodruffe pounces and intercepts, nicking the ball over the stranded Howells and nodding his own lob into the empty net.
For a couple of minutes Harrow threaten to run riot as the U’s stumble around looking for their brains. Howells makes a brilliant one handed save to tip over a long range effort before the lads regain a smidgin of composure and win a corner at the other end. Dave Harlow’s header beats Hook but is nutted off the line by a defender. So, not for the first time this season (more like the 1000th!) we go in trailing.
We watch a rather chaotic Grand National during the break before returning to the terraces for yet more aqually chaotic nonsense on the pitch. The U’s again set about the visitors early on and are denied a blatant penalty after 47 minutes. A huge kick by Howells is chased down by Haworth who races into the box only to be clearly poleaxed by the Harrow No6. Sadly the by now customary clueless Ryman official, who may as well be in the car park as he’s that far behind play, waves away our protests. We’re not impressed with the contribution of Mr 6 either. As all he’s done all day is stand around a bit, kick Haworth several times, point and shout ‘fuck’ a lot. Christ, if that’s the criteria for a Ryman league defender even I could do that!!
Thankfully, the ref’s piss poor decision is nullified a minute later. Bolt plays the ball out to Ekoku who flies into the box and delivers an excellent ball to the back post where youngster Paul Honey stoops to nod his first goal for the U’s. Thank christ for that! Now can we please TRY AND WIN THIS???
Sutton gain control of proceedings, restricting Harrow to the odd attack whilst pushing hard for another goal. Quite how we don’t get one is beyond me. Haworth has a diving header somehow clawed round the post by Hook and sub Whitmarsh has an angled header thump back off the base of the post and into the arms of a grateful ‘keeper. Danny Bolt then wastes the best of the Sutton chances, put clean through he tries to shoot past Hook rather than square the ball to the unmarked Whitmarsh. Despite 3 efforts he can’t quite force the ball home.
The visitors then test Howells at the other end with and well taken free kick. With just 5 minutes left, a powerful header from a cross is acrobatically tipped onto the bar and out for a corner by Howells. From the resulting flag kick, we once again go to sleep and a ‘Boro’ player dives in unmarked in the centre of the 6 yard box to head past Howells. Oh toss. We’ve gone and blown it again.
For once, a late rally by the U’s actually seems to have some purpose and meaning to it as the lads go in search of another equaliser.
We’re treated to the 1 minute appearance of Nick Williams who leaps off the bench to replace Howard, pulls his hamstring and is immediately replaced by Matty Gray! Doh!
Deep into injury time a melee in the Harrow box forces Hook to make another good save, but again the visitors don’t clear their lines and the ball is worked out wide to Nko who swings the ball to the back post and Matty Gray (sponsored by Gandermonium) rises unmarked to nod the ball back across goal and into the far corner. Thank fuck for that!
Moments later the whistle goes. Christ, I don’t think I can take much more of this.
A quick couple of pints afterwards in the Robin Hood where we discover that Oldham have relegated Oxford with an 89th minute winner and West Ham have snatched an even later equaliser at Villa. Which cheers Bob up a bit. Then it’s off home for din-dins before returning to the Wetherspoons for some cheap scrunge. Lovely.
Well, at least we didn’t sodding lose again and for the first time in ages we kept going to the final whistle, whilst actually looking like we meant it! I’m still not convinced, but like I said, it’s a start I s’pose.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Rob Haworth. Worked his arse off for 90 minutes. Class.
ENTERTAINMENT : 7. Not a bad game if you ignore the appalling defending by both teams!
TEAM : Howells, Howard, Horner, Aligheri, Palmer, Harlow, Bolt, Boothe, Honey, Howarth, Ekoku SUBS : Gray, Williams, Whitmarsh