SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Fowler p42]
WIMBLEDON – 3 [Andersen 25. Ardley p60. Gray 80]
Christ. A second home friendly in two weeks! And against league opposition no less! This is something of a surprise in these parts as we’re normally lucky if we get 1 home game pre-season these days. And that’s normally against some nondescript 2nd division outfit who can only be arsed to send their youth team player’s pets.
My my, aren’t we being spoilt! They’ll be handing out piles of bloody Ferrero Rocher next.
I met up with the missus in Sutton for lunch. She’s unlucky enough to have to work on Saturdays. Awww. Well, it depends on your point of view I s’pose. Her? She’s well chuffed as A- She’s earning cash and B- She’s NOT watching ‘Sutton Bloody United’ (as she playfully calls them) with me. This may give you the impression that Sarah isn’t the biggest U’s fan in the world. Well you’d be right on that front.
I have some Chinese grub for lunch and as I leave the counter, I spot some fortune cookies. I blag one to go with my nosebag and crack it open when I get back to our table. It reads “Today you will need to show your bright sense of humour”. Now normally I don’t believe in all that old spiritual bollocks, but how accurate can you get?? What I’d like to know is how did they know I’d be going to football today? Dead spooky if you ask me.
After escorting the missus back to work, I head on down to the Robin Hood for a pre-game pint with Bob. Here I manage to sell him my new home shirt I’d purchased at the Brentford game last week. Like a twat I’d asked for an XL rather than a L. And with Bob being…..er…..a touch stockier than I, it fitted him much better than me! Naturally with the proceeds of my dodgy bit of bar room business, I of course popped into the megastore on my arrival at GGL and purchased another shirt. Correct size this time!
The Dons had spread themselves over 2 venues today, with one half of the squad here at GGL and the other over at Hampton and their line up here in West Sutton included Neil Ardley, Trond Andersen and Jermaine Darlington. So all the big stars on show then! The vistors started the livlier of the two with Neilsen and Agyemang causing problems with their pace and direct running. This causes our back four a bit of early concern, but the Dons waste some excellent approach play as well as finding Chuck Martini in good form. Forcing Morocco’s number 3 into several good stops.
It’s not entirely one way though, as once the U’s settle after about 20 minutes, they start to play the ball around confidently with one Scott Corbett looking very useful against the 1st division outfit. Despite all the visitors pressure, it’s the U’s who go closest to scoring. Ryan Palmer playing a 1-2 and from the corner of the box drills a low shot against Davis’ near upright.
Soon after though, the Dons are in front. And not surprisingly with us lot, it’s a bit of a poxy goal. Martini makes an excellent save from Agyemang at the foot of his near post and turns the ball out for a corner. The flag kick isn’t dealt with and drops to Andersen 10 yards out. He hooks the ball into the ground and it bounces up, looping over the heads of Martini and Brooker on the line to sneak under the bar.
A goal to the good, Wimbledon ease off a bit and this allows Jon Palmer and Matt Fowler a bit more space to play with up front. Both have their moments, with Fowler hooking one shot over and Palmer blazing over the bar with and angled shot. Thankfully their hard work pays off just before half time. Fowler receives the ball to feet on the edge of the box and smartly turns his marker, Rob Geir. The Wimbledon defender is slow to react and the one time scummer ends up in a heap in side the box. Penalty.
Fowler takes it himself, but hurries it slightly and hammers his shot off the underside of the bar. Did it go in??? Wel the linesman hasn’t got a clue (no change there then!) but the ref seems to feel sorry for us and gives the goal anyway. Woooooh! 1-1!
The second half is only a couple of minutes old when the U’s kick off the very confusing round of subs. Why is it confusing?? Well, firstly, it’s pre-season, so we haven’t got a scooby who half these people are and secondly, our temporary PA is crap so we can’t hear their names even when they’re announced. Not very helpful for us serious journo’s trying to turn out quality match related content that. Ahem.
But being the tenacious investagative sorts that we are, we found out who the subs were! We asked someone in an SUFC blazer. They’re at the bottom of the page by the way if you’re interested. The subs that is, not the person in a blazer….
All the changes upset our shape and on the hour, Wimbledon are back in front. A dangerous move down our right flank sees a cross handled in the box. Neal Ardley makes no mistake and sends Martini the wrong way from the spot.
Our lads try their hearts out, bless ‘em, to get back into the game, but the best opportunity falls to Matt Gray who shoots over from outside the box.
The afternoon ends with Dons sub Lionel Gray turning Danny Arkwright to slot home number 3 about 10 minutes from time.
So, we lost, but it was encouraging to see us trying to play footy. Especially in the first half. It was also a bloody revelation to see our midfield competing again!!! Corbett in particular having a very good game.
Still, we’ll get more of an idea what the boys can do on Tuesday at Whyteleafe.
TEAM : Martini, Brooker, Aligheri, Arkwright, R Palmer, Corbett, Brown, Boothe, Fowler, J Palmer, McCormack. SUBS : Dunn, Barclay, Gray, Ekoku, Dunne