RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
HEYBRIDGE SWIFTS – 2 [Lee 25. Warwick 84]
SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Bolt 40. Haworth 89]
Bloody hell. What a day. Many more like this and I’m going to have to check into the ‘Priory’ (No, not Zoe Ball’s C4 proggie) for stress treatment, like what that nice Mr Collymore had.
The U’s grabbed another draw with another late goal, but we’ll get to that later. There’s much more to tell before that!
All started well & I actually beat Bob to a meet for the first time in donkeys. A quick pint in the Liverpool St Wetherspoons and we head for the ticket office. In the queue, some curious Geordies enquire as to the shirt I’m wearing. They seem mildly impressed that, as they put it, I watch someone far worse than their lot!
As it turns out, the same 2 Toon fans appear with several mates on our Ipswich bound train. At least it makes the journey less boring and they dole out free beer. Cans of Red Stripe. Christ, I have’nt drunk that since I was 15!! An hour later and we say our farewells and jump off at Witham. A cab is hailed and we request Heybridge as our destination. A few minutes later I realise I’ve left my bag on the train. Oh arse.
We get dumped in a busy high street that neither Bob or I recognise as being anything like the Heybridge we remember. But Mr Cab-Driver assures us, if we follow the high street and go past the park, we’ll come to the ‘Swifts’ ground. OK, we’ll believe you mate. A short stroll later, we locate a boozer, procure a pint and the landlady’s copy of the Yellow Pages. A couple of phone calls later and a helpful geezer called ‘Bob’ at Great Eastern trains is on the case. 10 minutes later, ‘Bob’ is back on the phone. They’ve recaptured my escaped bag at Ipswich and it’s on it’s way back to Whitham. Apparently I can pick it up later after the game. Result!!
You may now be thinking “Ahhh, I like a happy ending!”. But you’d be wrong. Drinks finished, we follow the cabbies instructions, buying some chips to munch on the way. A brisk stroll later and we arrive at the ground. Sadly it’s the home of Maldon-fucking-Town and NOT Heybridge-fucking-Swifts. What a tosser!! Now, being dropped in the wrong street I can take, but the wrong fucking TOWN??? Jesus christ. By this point it’s half 2 and I begin to wish I’d stayed in bed.
Another brisk stroll later and we find Maldon’s one and only cab office.
“Taxi to Heybridge please mate….”
So, at 20 past 3 Bob and my good self finally stroll into the ground. Apparently not a lot has happened so far, but Heybridge must have been holding on waiting for us to show up as 5 minutes after we arrive, they go in front. And it’s a shit goal too.
Brooker gets outflanked with a simple 1-2 and he’s left trailing as the ‘Swifts’ wide man crosses into the box. Howells comes out unchallenged to punch clear, misses completely and top scorer Kris Lee has an empty net to nod into. Come on lads, sort it out. We’re having a very BAD DAY!
The home side continue to cause most concern up front, but Ekoku is unlucky not to score after Harlow picks him out with a diagonal ball into the box. His shot being blocked by a last ditch tackle. With just a few minutes to the break, a moment of sheer class from Danny Bolt hauls our hopless carcasses back into the game.
Our top scorer gets the ball around 25 yards out, turns one way then the other and having created that half a yard of space for himself, curls an effort into the top far corner with the outside of his left boot. It’s a goal of breathtaking quality. A strike that brought back memories of Dom Feltham at his swaggering best. If it had been in a game on SKY, it’d have been replayed a thousand times. Brilliant.
Half time and we nip in out of the chilly wind to grab some scores. Sadly the Scum are level with Aldershot. And K’s are 0-0 at Southport. C’mon you scouse gits! We also spend a short wile plotting suitable punishment for our directionally challenged cabbie from earlier. I’m all for giving him a kicking personally!
The second half is something of a battle of wits with very few chances for either side. The U’s to their credit do put the home side under some pressure without ever really threatening. What does keep us amused are the antics of the Heybridge No4, Colin Wall. Quite possibly the worst defender we’ve EVER seen. And that includes Darren Brodrick! All he seems able to do, is kick Sutton players. On the rare occassions he does connect with the ball, it’s to hammer it into touch in the general direction of Maldon! Several times he recieves ‘last warnings’ from the ref but his umpteenth foul on Bolt finally earns him a yellow card much to the delight of the U’s travelling support. I’ve seen more brains in a traffic bollard mate.
Just when it seems a 1-1 draw is on the cards, our defence goes to sleep and lets in the home team with just 6 minutes to play. A long ball forwards finds Warwick who’s drifted between Brooker and Palmer. He brings the ball down and races into the box, firing a shot past Howells into the far corner before the chasing Palmer can get near him. Definately a case of ‘Rats cocks’ methinks.
But the lads press on, trying hard to get an equaliser. We start to move towards the exit when a ball forwards is chased down by Haworth in the box. As the ‘keeper and defender hesitate, the ball bounces invitingly up and Haworth flings himeself between the two and slams the ball into the far cormer. Woo Hoo!!! We force a couple of corners late on, but they come to nothing. Wow, something has gone right today!
In the bar after we are disappointed to see the Conference scores up. K’s are shown as 2-1 up. This then turns to delight as the ‘vidiprinter’ clicks up 1 place to show that Southport have nabbed a last minute equaliser. With FGR & Kettering winning, that drops ‘em to second bottom!!
Not that we find it funny or anything.
Bob calls a cab. Amusingly, when it turns up, it’s the same bloke we had earlier! Mr I-don’t-know-the-fucking-difference-between-Heybridge-and-Maldon. He realises his cock-up and apologises all the way back to Witham. Doesn’t fucking give us a discount on the journey though! Tight sod. Still say we should’ve done him over. Naturally, he doesn’t get a tip.
Back at the station, I’m re-united with my bag (Cheers Great Eastern!) and we’re soon on the train back to Liverpool St.
All’s well that ends well eh?
MAN OF THE MATCH : Danny Bolt. For THAT goal. No-one else stood out.
ENTERTAINMENT : 5. Not bad, but not brilliant by any means.
TEAM : Howells, Boothe, Palmer, Horner, Aligheri, Brooker, Harlow, Honey, Ekoku, Haworth, Bolt SUBS : Whitmarsh, Howard, McCormack