RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
BRAINTREE TOWN – 3 [Gutzmore 19.68. Simpson 49]
SUTTON UNITED – 0
Cheers lads. No, really. Having experienced one of the most appalling runs of form by a Sutton side last season, we thought this year might be a bit different.
The pre-season program indicated we’d signed a half decent bunch of young talented players. Players who had more than held their own against professional opposition and played some good football to boot.
Suddenly, come saturday and the important stuff of getting 3 points all had naturally stepped seemlessly into “What’s the white thing?” mode. Like I said, cheers lads!
Chalmers had offered to chauffeur us up to Cressing Road for our opening fixture and who were we to refuse! At least it saved us a slog to deepest Essex by train. And another possible encounter with Essex cabbies and their piss poor sense of direction.
An 11am meet and we’re off. But find the M25 a little on the busy side. Eh? What’s all this about then?? Oh well, here’s the A12, this’ll be better!
Er, it’s not. What the fuck are all these people doing out today?? They can’t all be heading for Braintree! Then, just a couple of minutes outside of Chelmsford, the penny finally drops. V Festival.
A fucking great big music festival. With 50-odd thousand people attending. Bugger. Much slapping of foreheads and proclaiming ‘Doh!’ follows. We’re right dozy bastards sometimes.
Slightly behind schedule and gagging for a pint, we stop off at a big pub just outside Witham. A swift pint of Breakspears follows and then back on our merry way. Thankfully we’ve managed to recover enough time for a brief detour to the Vine Inn situated in an ickle village called Black Notley, just outside Braintree. A marvellous little free house, serving strange scrunge. Lovely.
Next stop Cressing Road. Which proves to be a bit of a sod to find. Pubs in villages out in the middle of smeg nowhere are no problem though. We eventually roll into the car park with 15 minutes to spare. The ground itself will be a welcome addition to the Premier. A neat, tidy affair covered on all sides. Better than the Bobbins anyway!
The side is as we’d pretty much expected. With Jon Palmer out on the left and Dave Timothy slotting in at right back.
The early exchanges are pretty even, with Jon Palmer making some encouraging progress down the left. But after 19 minutes, the home side blast into the lead with a challenger for goal of the season. A Braintree move breaks down about 30 yards out from the Sutton goal. Striker Leon Gutzmore picks up the loose ball, advances a couple of steps and lets fly. There is little Martini can do as it arrows into the top right hand corner of his net. Now that’s a great start.
The U’s hit back, but find it hard to penetrate the dogged home defence, with a lot of attacks breaking down around the penalty area. The only real threat we generate is from Richard Taylor’s monster throw ins. One picks out the bonce of Danny Arkwright, but his well directed header is acrobatically tipped round the post by the ‘keeper.
Braintree still pose a threat, but their finishing is not quite up to Mr Gutzmore’s standard! Then again, neither is ours. The U’s only other real opportunity of the half is a 20 yard effort from Chris Boothe which clears the Braintree bar. No, not the CROSSbar, the acutal bar situated behind the goal. Although to be fair to our new skipper, it wasn’t a very tall building.
So, half time and 1 down. Braintree don’t look anything spectacular, but on the other hand, they do look like they’re going to be a right bastard to break down. How true…..
The second half is barely a few minutes old before the U’s commit the by now customary bit of defensive hari-kari. A pass is overhit from the Braintree midfield and Danny Arkwright comes to meet it. He misjudges it slightly, but rather than turn after it and deal with the situation under absolutely no pressure he sticks out his arm. Handball & a free-kick 20 yards out.
The free kick is hit straight at Martini, but rather than save properly, he beats the shot away with his legs only for Simpson to nip in and knock the loose ball home. Oh bugger. 2-0 down and looking none too clever here.
Almost immediately after Reinelt puts a 20 yard chip over a stranded Martini, but thankfully onto the roof of the net.
Soon after, one of the very few half coherent Sutton moves finds Matt Fowler just in side the Braintree box. As he tries to turn his man, he’s clearly held back. Surely a penalty! Yeah right. After having had them awarded for fun in pre-season, we’re back to the same as last season. No chance of a penalty. Not even if our bloke’s been shot several times. Well maybe then. But the ref would still probably have to consult his sodding linesman.
The rest of the half is pretty much all the home side as the U’s go completely to ratshit. Passes find only yellow shirts, tackles are weak or badly timed and we start chucking our toys out of the pram.
Corbett is lucky not to get booked for two pointless tackles around our box and Matt Fowler is even luckier to escape a yellow, possibly a red when kicking out at a Braintree defender. I personally find this very annoying. It’s down to you lot that you’re losing. Instead of chucking a tantrum a 5 year old would be ashamed of, how about getting stuck in legally and showing a bit of fight eh??
Radical I know, but you never know, it may catch on.
The ‘Iron’ wrap up a relatively simple 3 points with a 3rd goal after 68 minutes when the Sutton defence goes completely awol allowing Simpson a free run of about 25 yards down our left flank. He plays a simple ball accross the box and Gutzmore fires into the top corner from 6 yards.
A comment is made behind the goal that the side ‘needs time to gel’. Total arse if you ask me. If they’re going to take time to ‘gel’ we may as well not bother with the 9 or so friendlies we played! I don’t see Braintree taking time to gel! Unless of course beating our clueless rabble 3-0 is just them getting warmed up.
The home side settle for their 3-0 win and bring out a few subs. Although we still try our best to increase that lead by gifting the home side a good few more oppotunities. Thankfully our hosts are just too gracious to accept.
We collect some results in the bar. K’s have lost. Shame. Becoming summat of a habit for you lot innit.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Dave Timothy. Looked promising.
ENTERTAINMENT – 4. I would say we were piss poor.
TEAM : Martini, Taylor, Timothy, R Palmer, Arkwright, Mison, Corbett, Boothe, J Palmer, Fowler, Haworth SUBS : Akamouah, Drewett, Honey.