RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Whitmarsh 78]
ALDERSHOT TOWN – 1 [Protheroe 58]
Despite our improved performance and scrambled point on Saturday, I have to say I didn’t reckon we’d get too much out of this one.
But my main fear that Aldershot would simply have too much for our struggling bunch proved to be incorrect and the slight hope that them being 30 points off the top spot would produce a helpfully under-par it’s-almost-the-end-of-theseason performance. proved to be the case.
Thank fuck for that!
A decent little run of results is required. We meet the Scummers in under a week, so form and morale needs a welcome boost to allow us to hopefully hammer another nail into their relegation coffin.
A late dash from work and I finally get to join Jules & Bob in the Wetherspoons for a quick pint, thus obeying rule number one. Do not watch the U’s sober!! A valuable condition that we introduced just after the Xmas period. One beer later and we manager to amble into GGL seconds after kick-off. JR stuck with the side that had nicked that aforementioned point from Harrow on Saturday and they repayed the favour by turning in their most commited performance in bloody donkeys.
Aldershot are displaying their commitment to the fixture by leaving leading scorer, Abbott on the bench. How toughtful! Cheers lads.
The visitors make a lot of the early running. But despite having a lot of possession in the final third of the field, they don’t really create much. One big plus point is that our back four is dealing with most threats capably. Now there’s summat we have’nt seen in a while! The visitors do create the first real chance of the match when a free header from a corner is directed straight at Howells from about 8 yards.
The U’s settle into the game a bit more after the opening few minutes and begin to try and play a bit themselves. Unfortunately our age old problem of lacking a midfield with a serious cutting edge hampers us. Not that Honey and Harlow in the centre have a bad game, but they lack just that little bit of bite.
That ability to produce a searching pass when required is also wanting. Ho hum. Maybe next season eh? Honey’s main contribution in the early stages is to challenge for a ball in the Aldershot box follwing a corner. He’s a tad late and catches a visiting defender. The ref blows for a free-kick, but this does’nt prevent their No11 having a brainstorm and grabbing the young U’s midfielder by the throat. Considering he’s run 10 yards to get involved in a matter that has absolutely fuck all to do with him, the yellow card he’s shown after the ref has calmed down the 10 man melee could have been worse.
The U’s first real opening comes from a ball over the top of the Aldershot defence. Haworth races onto the ball and is confronted with the Shots ‘keeper just inside the box. The big forward wins the race for the ball and toes it past Searle who slides in and takes Haworths legs from under him. Penalty??? Nope says the hopelessly behind play official. Arsehole. I’ve seen far worse than that given!
A similar attack a few minutes later sees both Haworth and Bolt chasing the ball. Bolty takes charge and for once his trusty left foot lets him down as he blazes a couple of feet over from just inside the box. The Shots retaliate and a slightly scuffed shot from the edge of the box has Howells scrambling slightly as it drifts just over the angle of bar and post.
Flippin’ ‘eck! 0-0 at half time?? When was the last time we managed to go in with a clean sheet at half time? The teletext in the bar reveals that K’s are 1-0 down at Northwich. Awww, shame. No news on the Scummers though.
The second half again see’s the visitors having the majority of the possession, but again despite some good movement and passing up front, our normally non-existant rearguard holds on. Well, until the 58th minute anyway! A swift move down the Rec side of the ground and a low ball is played into the U’s box. Lee Protheroe finds half a yard of space (only half a yard??) and his first time curling shot flies past Howells and into the far corner. Ooooops. That’s blown it.
Aldershot do have the ball in the net again shortly after. A shot from an angle is well saved by Howells but is tucked away at the back post by a thankfully offside Shots striker.
While all this goes on, we’re kept entertained in the quiet moments by the lunatic rantings and ravings of the Aldershot manager, George Borg. He spends most of the second 45, way out of the dug-out on the touchline bellowing instructions, advice and general abuse at his players. Now I could understand his ‘animated’ state if this were a top of the table clash with vital points at stake, but it’s not. We decide he’s probably just a mentalist.
To give our lot credit, they do try hard to get something from the game, but most of our attacks seem to falter with the out of sorts Danny Bolt. Most occasions he gets the ball, he dwells on it too long and loses possession. He’s soon shifted back out to his left wing spot with about 20 minutes to play when Nko is replaced by Whitmarsh.
Bloody hell. A positive sub! With more than 3 minutes left!! Now there’s summat else you don’t see too often!
We keep battling away, but without really threatening too seriously. The visitors well organised defence isn’t pissing about with the ball, twatting it as far as possible back towards our end as quickly as possible! But our dogged attitude pays off with 12 minutes to go. The U’s win a free-kick out on the stand side, around midway into the Aldershot half. Harlow swings the ball in towards the box, straight onto the bonce of visiting defender. The ball drops some 25 yards out from goal where Paul Whitmarsh crashes it low past Searle with a stunning first time ‘daisy cutter’ of a volley. Woo hoo!!! Probably one of the best strikes we’ve seen in bloody ages!
The U’s push for the next few minutes hoping to force a winner. But Aldershot weather the storm and see out the last few minutes of the match without too much incident.
So another point! Woooo! That’s 2 games unbeaten now!
We toddle off to the pub for a pint, happy to have seen a relatively half decent performance for once.
So watch out on Monday Scummers. We’re BACK!
Well, sort of…
MAN OF THE MATCH : Chris Boothe. Might not have the legs, but he’s an excellent organiser.
ENTERTAINMENT : 5. Not great, but both sides tried to play
TEAM : Howells, Howard, Horner, Aligheri, Palmer, Harlow, Bolt, Boothe, Honey, Howarth, Ekoku SUBS : Gray, Williams, Whitmarsh