FA CUP 3rd QUALIFYING ROUND
ALDERSHOT TOWN – 3 [Browne 41.49 Payne 44]
SUTTON UNITED – 0
Ah, the FA Cup! That marvellous old competition which conjours up images and age old stories of pride, passion and will to win all in the name of glory.
Except the where the current crop of Sutton United players is concerned that is. Then you generally get a total lack of the 3 qualities mentioned above.
Oh how we all rejoiced when the U’s notched up an unexpected 2-0 win over the same opponents in a league match just 4 days before this 3rd Qualifying Round tie. But now, I think I know why
Forwards. Or lack of.
For some reason, Mr Borg decided to play ex-U’s Forrester and Watson on Tuesday night at GGL. Result? No goals. On Saturday, Mr Borg corrects his earlier error by playing Payne and Browne. Two men with pace, intelligence and style. End result? Three goals and the U’s defence dismantled without too much trouble. Yeah I know it took ‘em 41 minutes to break us down, but don’t let that statistic fool you dear reader. We were never even in this one from the off. In fact, if we’d just laid 11 choc ‘n’ amber shirts out on the pitch for the 2nd half, we’d have competed 100% better.
The day started with some unexpected and not-very-October weather. Bob and myself jumped on the train towards Hampshire. Chalmers would follow on as he’d had a somewhat heavy night and Gareth was running late. Ho hum.
Gareth joins us half an hour late in the pub, but as he’s a jammy bastard and is swanning off around the world for year in a couple of weeks time, we make him buy a round. Oh come on, it’s only fair!
Chalmers strolls into the ground at about 10 to 3 (no change there then!). The team has again been slightly tweaked. The seemingly injury prone Timothy is out again and is replaced by the not 100% Scott Corbett. This knackers any chance we have of seeing Ryan Palmer at Centre-back and Chris Boothe drops back to replace the cup-tied Berry.
Now if it’s a migraine you’re after, go to Aldershot on a saturday afternoon and stand on the East Bank. Some twat decided it would be a great idea to give this lot a drum. I can categorically state, it bloody wasn’t. The repetitive ‘bang bang bang’ soon drives you close to insanity. No wonder this lot are always boasting that away fans ‘Never sing at the Rec’. How would they know? The Ministry of bloody Sound could have a sodding great rave on the other side of the fence and they’d never hear them with all that fucking row going on.
Out on the pitch, we can tell from the first few minutes or so that today is going to be a bit of a struggle. The U’s are defending so deep, that they’re almost stood amongst the Aldershot fans at the open end of the ground! This coupled with the movement of Payne and the pace of Browne causes us problems from the off.
No less than three times, Browne peels away from his marker and is picked out by a ball over the top. And with our back four about as mobile as a blue whale doing the backstroke in concrete, this gives poor ol’ Martini a few scary moments. Thankfully, Mr Browne hasn’t quite got his eye in yet and overruns one pass, overhits another and has Martini save the last at his feet. Browne and Payne then both head across goal and just wide during a string of corners and Protheroe has a clever free-kick tipped over by Martini.
The U’s response is to move the ball just over the halfway line and thump it as far forwards as possible. Mainly at Eddie Akuamouah. Which when you consider he’s around 5ft 5 and is being marked by a 6 foot plus tall defender, doesn’t come across as the smartest tactic in the world. It’s through Akuamouah that Sutton manage to force Howells only real save of the match. With around 20 minutes gone, the U’s make a bit of progress down the right. Honey plays in Eddie and his first time shot is pushed round the post at full stretch by Howells. We make little use of our one corner of the afternoon.
The home side remain patient and get their reward just before half time. Another ball over the top once again picks out Browne in acres of space. He storms into the box and pulls Martini off his line before slotting home. Before you can say “We’re not getting that back!” the ‘Shots’ are 2 up.
Another ball forwards finds Payne, with Boothe in close attendance. The Sutton skipper wins the initial challenge, but rather than lamp the ball into the stand decides to fart about with it. Payne promptly robs him of possesion and leaving our man in his wake fires into the bottom far corner from just inside the box. 2 goals in 3 minutes.
So, any ideas on how to get us back in this one JR? Nope. Thought not.
The second half ‘performance’ is a complete shambles. Aldershot play the ball about at will with the lumbering Sutton defence being pulled all over the place. Payne and Browne combine again just 5 minutes after the break and put the game beyond doubt.
Payne collects the ball on our left, and plays it across to Browne. He takes a touch, bursts away from Arkwright leaving him for dead and shoots back across goal beyond the dive of Martini. 3-0 and game over.
The U’s offer little resistance after this and Aldershot really could have had more if they’d been a bit less flamboyant. Sutton’s only real effort of the half comes from a Jon Palmer thunderbolt free-kick which flies inches wide of Howells left hand upright. The ref denies us a cert of a penalty late on, deciding to award a free kick for handball outside the area when the offence clearly ocurred a couple of yards inside the box. Cheers mate!
And so ends the FA Cup trail for another year thanks to yet another ‘inspiring’ tactical masterplan by you know who. Still, we’re mildly amused at the end when the ‘Shots’ tannoy announcer claims they’re into the First Round ‘again’. Strange, we always thought the FOURTH qualifying round followed the Third…
Our night gets worse when we hit Wallington for a beer festival afterwards only to find it’s closed due to a lack of beer. Bollocks, talk about kicking a bloke while he’s down!
MAN OF THE MATCH : Rob Haworth. Worked hard all day for absolutely zero reward.
ENTERTAINMENT : 5 for Aldershot. 1 for us.
TEAM : Martini, Arkwright, Boothe, Mison, R Palmer, J Palmer, Corbett, Honey, Keevil, Haworth, Akuamouah. SUBS : Taylor, Brooker, Dunn