RYMAN LEAGUE CUP 2nd ROUND
THAME UNITED – 1 [Too Foggy to see! 66]
SUTTON UNITED – 3 [Gray 18. Mison 82. Haworth 89]
Picture the scene. The year is 2069 and 95 year old Dan Taylor, trillionaire playboy, shagger of supermodels and El Presidente numero uno owner/manager of 5 time AdidasJiffyCondomsNike Global Ultra Tool Total Mega League Champions, Sutton United is being interviewed on Sky Sports.
“So Dan, at what point during your time following Sutton did you finally realise you were a stupid sad bastard?”
“Well, it has to be the Thame League Cup trip way back in 2001 when we hired a car to get there and stand with less than 50 other nutters ‘cos it was a new ground for us”
“Wow! Sounds intensely facinating and I’m sure such a tale would have made great material for a match report on a shit non-league football website”
“It’s funny you should say that really….”
Yes, it’s true. We hired a car specifically so we could go to watch the currently very average U’s at Thame in the mickey mou……er…..Ryman League cup. I can see you all shaking your heads in disbelief and disdain. Go on, get it over with now.
All done?? Good. Then we’ll begin.
Sad I know, but to be honest, with the possible risk of Extra-time leaving us stranded in smeg nowhere Oxfordshire with the last train having long since buggered off well before the end and the fact that we hadn’t been to Thame before, Bob & I decided to take the plunge and splash out 30 quid on a flash motor for the day.
Dedicated? Hardcore? Foolish? Or just simply fucking stupid?
On second thoughts, don’t answer that.
Having picked the car up and then Bob from Epsom station, then spent an hour crawling round the M25 we finally hit the M40 & then off to Thame. Where it’s a bit foggy. Which is a tadge disconcerting for my good self. As I’m driving an unfamiliar vehicle and I don’t have a scooby where the fog light ‘on’ switch is located! Still, the trip up is made a bit more bearable by one of our spies informing us the Scummers have sacked their latest manager. They’re an entertaining bunch in so many ways that lot.
Rolling into Windmill Road, we hit Thame’s rather nice modern bar to keep warm and spread the word on Carshalton’s latest implosion. The only other thought on everyone’s minds is whether the game will be completed or even start, as it’s still somewhat murky outside.
Due to Paul Honey’s suspension, Scott Corbett is back from the longest lasting ‘slight knock’ in the history of the game. We look around Thame’s tidy little ground and 10 seconds later conclude that we’re looking at a crowd of 50 at the most. They love their footy up here in Oxfordshire!
The U’s start brightly and as early as the second minute a chip over the flat footed home defence finds Chris Boothe charging through. His first touch isn’t great and allows the ‘keeper enough time to close the angle before saving our skippers shot with his legs.
Sutton dominate the opening 20 minutes, pinning our hosts into their own half and playing some decent footy to boot. Corbett is showing how short of fitness he is by being unable to sustain 2 cracking bursts from the centre of midfield. Matt Gray is causing problems on the right with his pace and is causing the old, short, balding full-back no end of problems. Matt’s reward for his trickery is an incredibly crude challenge by the old bloke out on the touch line. An action that earns him a deserved yellow card.
The youngster gets ample revenge a few minutes later, exchanging passes with Dave Timothy down the right, he once again leaves old bloke for dead. Cutting back across the face of the area, he skips past 2 more challenges before finishing into the bottom near corner via a defenders heel.
This proves to be an enjoyable game to watch as the U’s are producing some half-decent football and due to the fog, we’re spared the nightmare of being able to witness our terrible defending at the other end! Not that the home side manage much in the way of chances. The ball only disappears from view for a second or so before being hoofed back into our range of sight by a Sutton defender. Can we have this every week please? Certainly do my heart some good that’s for certain!
Matt Gray is introduced to the Thame No2 midway through the half when he lays a ball off to Timothy
And approximately 20 minutes later the challenge arrives and matey also finds himself receiving a card. And we’re not talking ones with snowy landscape pictures on ‘em.
Despite the good approach play, we then proceed to naff up a few good chances and get the job done by half time. Gray has 2 efforts off the mark, Haworth & Akuamouah force saves from the keeper and Mison somehow powers 2 virtually free headers wide of the mark from corners. With the spectre of extra-time tonight, we’d have been a lot lot happier if just one of these had been converted. This is due to A> It being fucking freezing and B> The fog seemingly getting a bit worse, thus meaning abandonment.
So 1-0 up at the break but still confident of finishing this lot off, we leg it to the bar to get some feeling back into the ol’ extremities.
That confidence lasts all of about 2 minutes of the second half. Thame have gone to a 5 man defence, denying us the openings down their flanks that caused the problems in the first half. We go completely to sleep and the reasonable passing we’d managed not 10 minutes before goes right out of the window. It’s not long before the home team get braver and start attacking. There’s no serious problems (well, not that we could see clearly anyway!) for Tommy Dunn at the far end, but you just get the feeling that another goal is needed.
After 66 minutes, another goal is certainly required as it appears that we struggle to clear a corner (I think) and after what looks like a bit of a scramble, the ball finds it’s way to it’s natural home. The back of our bloody net. There follows as dodgy a 10 minute spell as we’ve managed all season. Thame attack at will and two efforts fly narrowly wide of Dunn’s goal. Sadly the fog appears to be thinning a little and we can now tell what’s going on at the other end more clearly. Some bastard up there really doesn’t like us!
Our only response is a looping shot by Corbett tipped over by the ‘keeper. The U’s spend most of their time engaging in very childish and completely unecessary bickering. Every mistake is met with the disapproval of a team mate. Try being positive & constructive you idiots! Leave the negativity and cynicysm to the experts!!! With 15 minutes to go, the home side waste a glorious chance. A mix up in the Sutton defence gives their wide man a clear run to the byeline. He looks up and pulls the ball back to the edge of the box picking out a supporting striker. His stinging shot is always rising and with Tommy looking on slightly worried, it flies a gnats chuff over his crossbar. Then for once, WE actually make a side pay for THEIR wastefulness.
A string of corners are sadly wasted by Jon Palmer, who to be honest has had one of his least affective displays in that poxy left midfield spot. With time running out, Eddie Akuamouah relieves JP of his flag kick duties andf it pays off immediately. The corner is placed over the penalty spot and Mison barrels in to power home a header. About bloody time you big bloke you!
The goal takes the wind out of Thame and Sutton begin to attack at will again. And with the final whistle moments away, Timothy and Gray combine down the right. Matty swings the ball in towards the near post where sub Matt Folwer nips in front of the ‘keeper and knocks the ball past him. Haworth pounces and fires the loose ball home from 5 yards.
Thankfully, even we can hang onto a 2 goal lead with seconds to go (christ, did I really just say that? Idiot!) and we do, averting the need to freeze our arses off for another 30 minutes. With this, Bob and I forego another visit to the bar and instead dash for the motor and get set for a foggy drive home.
Once I’ve found that poxy bloody switch for the fog light that is…
MAN OF THE MATCH : Erm, um, Dunno!
ENTERTAINMENT : 5. So so. Well, what we could see anyway!
TEAM : Dunn, Timothy, Mison, Arkwright, R Palmer, Gonsalves, Corbett, Gray, Boothe, J Palmer, Akuamouah, Haworth SUBS : Fowler, Williams, Berry