RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Haworth 16. Akuamouah 78]
CROYDON – 0
Now, this is good. But it’s also very irritating. After 6 weeks of the season, we’d managed to amass a grand total of 5 points. With tonight’s game, they’ve now got 6 points in 4 days.
Bastards. When we said we’d like an interesting season, this isn’t what we meant!
Yep, after claiming that all important 3 points on Saturday, the U’s discovered it wasn’t quite so hard after all and claimed a matching set last night at GGL with a 2-0 win over neighbours Croydon. Not only is this two straight wins, but it’s two straight clean sheets!
“Hello. Is that the Sports Drug Testing Unit? Any chance you could pop down in the next couple of days? Marvellous! Oh and can you make sure you check out that Martini bloke thoroughly? He’s from Morocco. If you…..ahem….get our drift.”
The U’s side is unchanged from Saturday with new boy Sam Keevil (I called him Awkett in the last report. Christ knows where I got that from. Sorry Sam!) keeping his spot in centre midfield.
As with the last couple of matches (except Basingstoke!), the U’s make a bright start with Haworth and Akuamoah looking lively up front. Early inroads are made down the right with Honey and Ryam Palmer combining well and Sam Kevill looking good as well.
The U’s chip away at the visitors defence and are rewarded after 16 minutes. A sharp run by Akuamoah unhinges the Croydon back line. Kevill tears forwards in support and Eddie pulls the ball back to him from the byline as he races into the box. The ‘keeper spots the danger and tries to head him off, forcing the little midfield man to check his run. He turns back towards goal and blazes a shot across the edge of the 6 yard box. A defender at the back post swings wildly to try and clear the danger but fails to make any sort of contact and the ball rockets on to Rob Haworth behind him. The big striker instinctively sticks out a leg and manages to divert the ball into the now unguarded net from 6 yards out. That’ll do for starters!
Croydon respond and start to apply a bit of pressure themselves. Like last season, they’re a tidy outfit and try to move the ball around whenever possible, mainly hitting balls into the channels for pacy forwards to run onto. Martini has to deal with a couple of efforts down low, but the visitors best moment comes from one of a number of corners.
A corner is swung in from the Collingwood Rec side of the ground and gets the slightest of flick on’s at the near post. A big defender, up for the set piece, outjumps everyone and loops a header onto Martini’s crossbar. It bounces up and back into play, hanging there for an agonising split second before Chuck fists it to safety with a visiting striker lurking at the expense of another corner. Not long after, Arkwright heads another flag kick away to safety at the near post.
Most of the U’s own pressure in the first half flows down the right hand side, with some half decent football being played and Palmer or Honey delivering some good balls in. On 2 or 3 occasions, Sutton move the ball into the Croydon box, only to lack a final ball or have a Croydon defender make a last ditch block. The only other really serious sight of goal falls to Paul Honey who fires over after Rob Haworth has pulled the ball bck from the byeline.
So, half time & 1 up. Can we hang onto this one as well please lads??
The second half turns out to be a carbon copy of the second 45 minutes from saturday, with the U’s defence playing very deep and the opposition having most of the possession in our half.
Gwynne Berry keeps the Sutton defence well marshalled, with few breakthroughs or any real consequence by Croydon forwards. Again as with saturday, most efforts are from distance and Chuck has no problems dealing with them. What is worrying, is the numerous and very frequent flow of corners the ‘Trams’ win. Thankfully, our defence manages to cope, only having a couple of edgy moments where clearances are made at the second or third attempt! It’s a good 25 minutes before we launch our first serious attack of the half and it’s Rob Haworth showing he’s 99% back to his best.
A ball out of defence catches Croydon moving up. Haworth sets off in pursuit of the ball, closely shadowed by a defender. The big striker wins the race, muscling his opponent off the ball and rifles a low shot across goal from just inside the box. The Croydon ‘keeper does well to get down and make an excellent one handed save before gathering the loose ball.
This signals the end of Croydon’s control of the proceedings and Sutton start to play a bit with Paul Honey making several raking passes and Keevil, freed from the responsibility of helping Honey and Boothe hold off the ‘Trams’ pressure, is starting to make his dangerous runs from deep again. This gives the Croydon defenders something to worry about and is a big help in the second Sutton goal around 15 minutes from time.
Again, Palmer gets down the right and plays the ball into the box. With an eye on Kevill, the ball runs across the area to Akuamoah and with the slightest hint of a deflection off a Croydon defender, the ex-scummer’s shot finds the net inside the far post.
Another relieved cheer from the U’s faithful!
The match slows down after this and dies. With Haworth and Akuamoah knackered, JR strangely decides not to bring Jon Palmer on for one of them and the U’s attacking force is all but spent. The visitors keep going to the final whistle, but manage to make little impact.
We slope off to the pub for a pint with our second win AND second clean sheet in four days under our belts. Then a phone call reveals that that huge, massive, ginormous club, K’s have lost 2-0. A bit of quick pisshead mathematics tells us the good news. We’re above them by virtue of goals scored.
That’ll go down a storm a Kingsmeadow tonight no doubt.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Paul Honey. Worked his nuts off and had a super 2nd half.
ENTERTAINMENT : 6. Fast paced, but not too many chances.
TEAM : Martini, Mison, Berry, Arkwright, Aligheri, R Palmer, Honey, Boothe, Keevill, Haworth, Akuamouah. SUBS : J Palmer, Taylor, Panter