A Man Short

RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION

Att: 253



MAIDENHEAD UNITED – 2  [Cook 41. Channell 46]

SUTTON UNITED – 2  [Haworth 8. Palmer 74]

What is it with us and playing against 10 men??? Every time the opposition lose a man, we go to pieces. Yet when WE lose a man (IE – Canvey) we cave in and get sodding slaughtered. Oh well, just another thing to add to the list of things that piss me off about JR’s teams.

Watching the U’s away over the last couple of years has been to say the least, depressing. And it’s getting to the stage where travelling is becoming a chore. I’m not lying when I say the real reson Bob & I made the trip today is because we knew there would be good beer on offer! Maidenhead isn’t the worlds greatest drinking hole and has some of the crappiest ‘theme’ joints I think I’ve seen, but it makes up for it in having a Hobgoblin, where you can at least get a decent pint.

We hit the town just before 12 and head straight for the boozer. 2 and a bit hours later and considerably drunker than we were, we amble towards York Road for another seething, heart stopping Ryman Premier match.

And if you believe that old bollocks, I’d quit reading now if I was you.

JR has been forced into changes today, with Chuck Martini picking up an injury Tommy Dunn finally gets a start. No mention of what the injury is or if it was inflicted by several burly blokes wielding baseball bats. So we sadly have no way of confirming wether we got out moneys worth from the psycho down our local. Ho hum.

Another new face is Louis Gonsalves. A young right-back promoted from the reserves. There’s still no sign of Jon Palmer though. Another sufferer of the dreaded ‘knock’ that seems to be going round the club currently. It seems that everyone that gets a ‘knock’ and is expected back in the team very shortly then spends the next 2 months on the treatment table (Scott Corbett is still not back!). Who the bloody hell is our physio? Josef Mengele??

Things get underway and the footy is pretty uninspiring. The home side’s pitch was a complete state last time we visited and it seems no better 12 months on. The only difference being it has grass on it this time. This means what little football either team tries to play is negated by bad bobbles and the ball pinging all over the place.

Sutton then draw first blood with their first serious attack after about 10 minutes. A move down the right and Ryan Palmer flings a cross into the Magpies penalty area. Rob Haworth gets up at the back post and arcs a header over the ‘keeper and into the net. At first we think it’s dropped just wide or over as the net doesn’t move at all, but all becomes clear as Rob punches the air in delight and we celebrate.

The U’s create chances and Haworth is involved again, heading down a left wing cross for Matt Fowler, but his half volley is blocked by a defender. Maidenhead launch forays of their own but their cause is hampered (or so you’d bloody think!) when they have big no5 Jamie Jarvis dismissed after about 20 minutes or so.

Matt Folwer chases down a long ball forwards, but the bounce favours the ‘keeper slightly and he gets there a fraction before the young striker. They collide and Fowler’s foot is a little high catching the keeper in the midriff. Fowler is up first and the next thing he sees is the huge figure of Jarvis charging in to bulldoze him to the ground. Quite why he did it, I have no idea. For once, a Ryman ref doesn’t bottle out of the descision and produces a red card, condemning Mr Price to 3 Saturdays out shopping with the missus at B&Q. Fowler is then booked for the initial challenge.

Now down to 10 men, we know full well that the U’s will struggle. And struggle they do. Soon after going a man down, they have what seems to be a dead cert penalty turned down after Tommy Dunn gets in a state and crashes into a home forward. Thankfully the ref is by now back in the standard thicktwat Ryman frame of mind and awards a goal kick. That was close!

As the half wears on, Sutton continually fail to break down the home team. A couple of decent moves involving Honey and new man Gonsalves are the only serious threat that the U’s can muster. Then with a couple of minutes to the break, Maidenhead launch an attack down the Sutton left flank. The cross is whipped in and Cook takes advantage of a hesitant Dunn and heads the Magpies level. Now there’s a big fucking shock.

We hit the bar for some scores and just as we emerge at about 4 o’clock we hear a cheer. Oh bollocks. Here we go…

Emerging into sight of the pitch, we witness the U’s kicking off again and are greeted with the tannoy announcement of the home teams second goal. I enquire from a fellow U’s fan on the way round to the terrace behind the goal as to what happened. Apparently another attack down our left resulted in 2 non-challenges and the ball being pulled back into the box for Channell to hook a shot past Dunn. “I suppose that was the refs fault as well was it?” Bob enquires sarcastically of some of the Sutton ‘suits’ as we walk past.

It takes the U’s a while to get back into proceedings, but after 15 minutes of so, we finally manage to start exerting some pressure on our hosts, pinning them back in thier own half. But despite winning a string of corners and free-kicks in dangerous positions, Sutton just can’t break through.

Along with our lack of bite, we’re further frustrated by our apparent lack of movement on the bench. Young striker Matt Gray sits watching having returned from a productive loan spell at Tooting. Meanwhile, Matt Fowler continues to struggle. Preferring to get involved in silly bickering and stand offs with opposition players rather than try to produce something productive.

With the clock ticking and with our mood steadily getting darker, wondering exactly where a goal will come from we finally manage to conjour up an equaliser. A free kick from the right is aimed at the back post where Chris Boothe is lurking. The initial kick escapes him, but he retrieves the ball and hooks it back across the box where Ryan Palmer rises to guide the ball into the far corner with the ‘keeper stranded. Thank christ for that!

5 minutes later, we finally get a sub on. Gray replacing the ineffective Fowler.

The U’s create several openings in the last few minutes, but are unable to carve out any really good chances. The match ends with Rob Haworth chasing down a loose ball on the byeline and firing it back across goal into the ‘keepers midriff before crashing over the perimeter fence.

So with a point to take back to North Surrey, Bob & I hit the bar for some full-times before heading off back to Paddington for a quick pint. Then back to the Wetherspoons in Sutton to get very very drunk.

MAN OF THE MATCH : Paul Honey. Excellent work rate.

ENTERTAINMENT – 4. Two very poor sides to be honest!

TEAM : Dunn, Mison, Gonsalves, Brooker, R Palmer, Boothe, Honey, Akuamouah, Timothy, Fowler, Haworth  SUBS : Berry, Gray, Arkwright

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