RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
HITCHIN TOWN – 0
SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Arkwright 28. Akuamouah 76]
Sigh. When are we going to get a win?? How much longer do we have to wait for three sodding points?? It’s depressing, I can tell you…….
Hang on a mo. We DID win!!! We actually bloody played a game this season and got 3 points!
Sorry about the mix up with the intro there. Force of habit!
Yes, it’s true, Sutton United at the ELEVENTH time of asking this season picked up a win, moving them off the bottom of the table.
We assemble at Kings Cross for the trip to Hitchin, not confident that we could pull that first win out of the bag. But win or lose, we were planning to have a few beers in one of our favourite Ryman League pubs. The Sunrunner. After our 3-0 tonking here last season, we were greeted in the aformentioned boozer by a fine brew named ‘Shambles’. This year we’re expecting to enjoy a pint of “Completefuckingdisaster”.
30 minutes later, we’re in the Hertfordshire town and on our way for a pint. We’re not disappointed by the selection either. Two and a half hours, several pints (Although, not the ‘Completefuckingdisaster’ we were expecting), a plate of grub and a sample of some bastard strength Belgian brew later, we totter off to Top Field.
We’re greeted, as last season, by Hitchin’s ridiculously huge matchday programme. Awkward sods. Whats wrong with the normal little A5 number that pretty much every other club produces and fits perfectly into the inside pocket pocket of your jacket?? This thing doesn’t. Stick this ‘Telegraph’ sized job in that inside pocket and it sticks out the top of your coat and up your nose. Very helpful.
Our already fragile confidence is further dented as we listen to the tannoy announcer read out the teams. “Did he just say Gwynne Berry???” asks Bob, cutting short our pre-match chat. “I dunno” I say. We find out moments later when the team runs out. “Oh shit. He DID say Gwynne Berry!!!” we all groan as the recently testimonialised permed defender jogs out in the number two shirt.
The words “Really” and “Desperate” spring to mind.
Another new face is that of Sam Awkett (not sure of spelling!) who I later discover is a mate of Ryan Palmer’s and has apparently played for Fulham and Kilmarnock. He slots into the centre of midfield.
The early exchanges are pretty evenly matched, with few chances. Hitchin strike first with a good move across the field resulting in a diagonal ball over the U’s defence. A home striker latches onto the ball, but from a tight angle, can only shoot into Martini’s midriff. The U’s first chance falls to the new man, Awkett. A cross in from the left picks him out by the near post and his flicked header is only gathered at the second attempt by the ‘keeper.
Hitchin are playing some neat football, but missing their top scorer and U’s tormentor from the past, Shaun Marshall, they’re finding it hard to create any really clear cut chances and are reduced to shooting from range. Usually straight at Martini. Awkett is impressing with his hard work and running from deep and after 20 minutes, almost gives Sutton the lead. Exchanging passes with Akumoah on the edge of the box. He skips into the area, beats a defender and with only the ‘keeper to beat elects to blast it rather than place his shot and the ‘keeper saves the shot with his legs.
The U’s keep going and just on the half hour, finally get their noses in front. A corner from the right picks out the towering figure of Danny Arkwright at the back post. The ‘keeper does well to parry his initial headed effort, but can do nothing about the follow up as the big defender snaps up the rebound and sweeps the ball into the net. Wow, we’re in front! Bet that doesn’t last.
Hitchin have plenty of possession and continue to move the ball around well, but continue to lack any serious penetration. One thing is obvious, if Mr Marshall had been about, Berry & co would have had a few more problems to deal with! Right on half time, the U’s almost double their advantage. Another cross from the left is nodded down by Haworth. Akumoah latches on, but the ‘keeper saves his tight angled shot at the foot of the post.
The second half is a little more one sided. And for the first 25 minutes or so, the Home side are pretty much camped in our half, again playing the better football but failing to seriously test Martini. Once more, most of their efforts are from range, lack power and are right at our ‘keeper. The U’s weather the pressure and start to launch a few counter attacks. Chris Boothe plays a 1-2 with Haworth on the edge of the penalty area. He surges into the box, but hesitates slightly with the shot and it’s beaten away by the ‘keeper. The rebound falls straight to him, but again he hits the Hitchin custodian rather than the net.
Jay Murray comes off the bench to replace the tiring Awkett and his pace adds to the frequency of the Sutton break-outs. On two or three occasions he gets away from his man and into the box, but a shooting opportunity never seems to arise.
Going into the last 15 minutes, the U’s finally put a buffer between themselves and their hosts. Haworth recieves a pass on the edge of the box. As he turns, it’s taken off his foot by a Hitchin defender. The big striker chases him and with the ever so slightest hint of a push, hassles him off the ball. He turns and plays it into Akumoah who’s nipped into the gap behind him. Eddie cues it up and leaves the ‘keeper sprawling, curling a shot inside the far post.
For the first time this season, the U’s have a 2 goal advantage in a match and looking at the dejected reaction of the home players, it looks like we might jsut hang onto this one!
And hang on we do!! The home side keep plugging away, but never look likely to get 2 goals back and at the final whistle, loud relived roar is heard from the away end. Anyone would have thought we’d just won the league or something!! But, at long sodding last, we’ve won a game!
Sadly, I’m unable to celebrate this momentous occassion as I’ve got to shoot home for a family ‘do’. Still, I’m sure Bob & Jules did a good enough job without me!
MAN OF THE MATCH : Eddie Akumoah. Didn’t stop running all day & deserved his goal.
ENTERTAINMENT : 5. Not a classic, but who cares? We bloody won!!!!!
TEAM : Martini, Arkwright, Berry, Aligheri, Mison, Honey, Awkett, R Palmer, Boothe, Haworth, Akumoah SUBS : J Palmer, Murray, Taylor