RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Mison 65. Fowler 77]
BOREHAM WOOD – 2 [Meah 20. Dixon 45]
Ah, the first home game of the season. An expectant crowd looking for a good first perfomance to ge the season really under way. A cup of tea and a sausage roll from Rose’s tea hut and a chance to get stuck into the officials for being shite as normal.
Well, that’s the theory anyway. Saturday’s awful defeat to newly promoted Braintree has understandably failed to whip the people of Sutton into an early season frenzy. Add to this the fact that Roses’ tea hut won’t be serving much for a while as it’s still in the middle of being replaced and it’s not a lot to get excited about really. Still, at least the piss poor officials shouldn’t disappoint.
JR has surprisingly decided to keep faith with the 11 who let us down so badly on Saturday. This particular decision fails to fill me with confidence. Funny that.
The first few minutes are pretty uneventful, with the visitors seeming slightly livelier. Although having disposed of his services, they seem to have kept hold of Graham Roberts coaching manual, with some of his less than friendly tactics on display. In other words their back four are kicking anything in an Amber ‘n’ Choc shirt. Several times in the opening minutes Matt Fowler and Rob Haworth are unceremoniously chopped down having turned their man. This brings an early booking for the ‘Wooooood’ No5.
One thing that is worrying us though is the less than impressive handling of Morocco’s number 3 international ‘keeper, Mr Chuck Martini. 2 or 3 times crosses and long throws have him flapping early on. His indecisiveness at crosses tells after about 20 minutes or so, when a corner from the left is swung in, Chuck goes up and under a bit of pressure can only help the ball on it’s way into the far corner. We find this somewhat unamusing. Bob is the first to comment.
“Typical. Has a blinding pre-season and starts playing like a complete wanker the moment he signs.”
The U’s try to find a way back into the game but the no-nonsense approach of the visitors defence keeps us at bay. This coupled with the fact that we couldn’t score from a set piece if Boreham Wood had left the field 10 minutes early for half time.
We’re also puzzled by quite what formation we’re playing exactly. Is it 442? Or 352? Possibly a 532?? Well, whatever it is, it ain’t working!! Time and again our full-backs get pulled miles upfield only to have the ball played over their heads to a waiting (and now extremely unmarked) forward. Quite how ‘Woooood’ fail to capitalise further on this escapes me. Our midfield is also pretty ineffective. Michael Mison in particular is not coping very well. His main contribution is a yellow card midway through the half.
And now to the period of the game we supporters call ‘Fuckitrightuponhalftime’ where the U’s proceed to conceded an incredibly poor goal right at the end of the 1st period of 45 minutes.
Possession is lost in midfield and the oppo bloke takes a leisurely 15-20 yard stroll towards our box. Being a wonderfully unselfish bloke, he chips the ball over our static back line to his unmarked number 12 (stood in a an area of the pitch that we would expect to be occupied by a ‘Full-Back’. You know. One of them defender type thingys we have so much trouble with…..) The No12 makes the most of our selfless charity and lashes a volley goalwards that squeezes under Chuck. 2-0.
Not bad. Our ‘record’ thus far reads as follows – 135 minutes played (against 2 promoted teams) Conceded : 5, Scored : Notafuckingsausage. The answer’s in there somewhere, but I’ll be buggered if I can find it.
We nip in to the bar to check out the Arsenal-Leeds encounter, wondering if it was worth dragging our lot away from their half time bollocking and oranges session to observe EXACTLY what to do with the funny white spherical object via the wonder of SKY Sports. But we conclude that as we only have 15 minutes, this may not be of any benefit.
The team emerges for the second half having had some slight adjustments made. Richard Taylor and the disappointingly ineffective Haworth are replaced by Paul Honey and Eddie Akamouah. This means Mison drops back into the defence with Palmer and Dave Timothy goes to right-back.
The changes don’t immediately pay off and the visitors look to finish us off, helped by Martini’s erratic handling from crosses. Fortunately, no damage is done. The nature of the U’s problems are displayed after a few minutes of the half. Another free-kick is won by the corner of the 18 yard box. 3 U’s players confer on what to do and decide that playing one of those clever free-kicks down the channel to a runner rather than hoof it into the box is the best bet.
Problem is, they obviously didn’t decide who the runner was going to be! As when the kick is taken, all 3 stand and watch as the ball rolls harmlessly out of play for a free-kick. That fooled ‘em eh lads. How about we try hoofing the fucking thing into the box next time?? Best keep it simple, especially with the way we’re playing at the mo.
About 5 minutes later, another free-kick is won in a similar position. “Get it in the bloody box” we all shout. And they do. And it’s a good one for a change! The ball is swung with pace towards the back post where the huge figure of Mison rises several miles above everybody else and nuts the ball across goal and into the far corner. 2-1. About bloody time.
This sparks off a U’s revival and for a few minutes the visitors are on the back foot as Sutton, shock of shocks, start to PASS the ball around! Wow! This results in several good chances being created and Matt Fowler finally coming into the game more.
One winding run into the box from out wide see’s him find his way into the 6 yard box. His shot beats the ‘keeper, but is somehow scrambled off the line by a ‘Woooooood’ defender. Not long after, Akamouah chases down a long ball, hassles the defender off it and drives into the box. His powerful low strike is just held at full stretch by the ‘keeper. Dave Timothy is also starting to get going down the right and is delivering some very good balls into the box.
Martini has to make a couple of smart stops (no crosses involved thankfully!), but the reorganised Sutton backline holds out. Honey and Corbett start to get to grips in the midfield, with the England U18 man looking especially good.
The U’s finally equalise with about 15 to play when Timothy goes on a winding run from the halfway line. He’s about to glide past his third Boreham Wood player, when the ol’ Graham Roberts training manual does us a big favour and matey chops the little right back down just inside the box. Penalty!
Akamouah and Fowler discuss who’s to take it, with the newer of the ex-scummers getting the nod. Now, young Matty hasn’t been too convincing from the spot so far and this won’t go into the scrap book as a classic. The kick is well hit, just badly placed and the ‘keeper beats out the shot. Thankfully Matt is following up and thumps home the rebound to make it 2-2. He celebrates in front of the Securicor Terrace with a quick wipe of the brow. I should think so too! Let someone else take it next time eh Matt?
After the equaliser, ‘Wooood’ raise their game a notch and go looking for a winner. Despite a couple more dodgy moments from Martini on crosses, he makes up for them with a couple of good saves. At the other end, the closest Sutton come to snatching all 3 points is when a good run and cross by Jon Palmer on the left finds Chris Boothe at the far post. His header looks bound for the top far corner when a defender pops up to head off the line and the rebound is hit straight at the recovering ‘keeper.
So, I s’pose a point after being 2-0 down at the break is better than nowt, but to be 2-0 down at the break in the first place is just slightly annoying.
Ho hum. Chesham on Saturday. That’ll be a laugh.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Errrr. Pass.
ENTERTAINMENT : 6. 1st half – Cack. 2nd half – Better.
TEAM : Martini, Taylor, R Palmer, Boothe, Arkwright, J Palmer, Corbett, Mison, Haworth, Fowler SUBS : Akamouah, Honey, Drewett