RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Boothe 10. Akuamouah 73]
BEDFORD TOWN – 2 [Jackman 3. Slinn 38]
Why do I do it? Why oh why oh why??
No, not going to watch the U’s (although I do wonder sometimes!). I mean doing shopping at this time of year. Christ on a bike! I was planning to purchase myself a nice shiny shirt for my firm’s Xmas do and pick up a few odds & ends to finally get my Crimbo shopping underway. An hour in, I’ve got my shirt but my patience is by now exhausted. “Fuck this, I’m going for a pint” I think to myself and wander off in the direction of the Robin Hood. Halfway there, I bump into Bob. In a similar mood.
A few pints of Youngs Winter Warmer later having also been joined by Chalmers, we head for the ground and the latest installment of possibly one of the dullest seasons in our time following the U’s. Ho hum!
The side has still to show any serious signs of becoming a cohesive unit and with JR reaching his now annual ‘Clear out the crap I signed’ period upto and around Christmas, I can’t see much changing. First out the door is goalkeeper Chuck Martini, replaced due to injury and now released due to his erratic performances. Which is puzzling. If he really was that bad, why the hell wasn’t he replaced before??
Matt Gray is given a start (woo hoo!) but on the right of midfield (arse!). Gonsalves stays in the back four and Arkwright is nowhere to be seen. Dave Timothy is back from his suspension.
Things start badly for Sutton. Just 3 minutes in the visitors win a corner. It’s belted into the box and not one Amber shirt rises to challenge Jackman who, completely unmarked, plants his header past Dunn to give Bedford an early lead. A few naughty words are muttered on our section of the terrace. Again. We have a couple of wobbly moments straight after, with a Dunn clearance scuffed badly wide by a Bedford forward and bringing out the bad evil language likely to prevent Santa calling in a couple of weeks time!
Sutton finally compose themselves and hit back and within a couple of minutes, when Paul Honey sends a blistering 25 yard drive fizzing just past the upright. But as it turns out, we’re only behind for seven minutes. Some pressure down the left from Jon Palmer wins us a corner of our own. He hits the corner low into the box towards the penalty spot where an unmarked Chris Boothe, most likely expecting the ball at a slightly higher level swivels and fires a half volley into the back of the net.
This puts the U’s slightly on top and they start to pressure the visitors more. Mison getting his head to a very good free kick by Gonsalves, but it’s the wrong side of the post.
Neither side seems able to really string a good series of passes together and the game to’s and fro’s with neither us or Bedford really dominating. Then with 5 minutes to the half time break the best passing move of the match cuts through our plodding defence and Slinn out paces the lumbering Mison, draws Dunn off his line and slots past him to make it 2-1. If there’s one thing JR needs to sort, it’s the bloody back four. My nan is quicker and more mobile than most of our lot.
We try our hardest to shoot ourselves in the foot again right on the break when a forward turns his marker and is apparently hauled down just inside the box. “Bollocks. Penalty” we all mutter, only to be amazed as the ref waves play on.
The second half sees the U’s at least come out and assert themselves a bit more. For most of the half, it’s constant Sutton pressure but with very very little end product. Haworth, Honey and Akuamouah all have reasonable chances but fail to take them and we start to think that it’s going to be another of those days. Especially when a high ball drops inside the Bedford penalty area and is clearly handled by a defender. We all shout for a penalty and the players appeal, but again the ref waves it away.
Matt Gray is coming more and more into the game as time goes on, showing a nice line in tricks & touches. Then with 20 minutes to go and an equaliser not looking likely, shock horror, JR makes a change. Yes, a substitution!!!! TWENTY minutes from the end!
Must’ve had a bang on the head or something…
Matt Fowler replaces Jon Palmer and within a few minutes the young striker is involved in finally getting that equaliser. He pressures a Bedford player into an error, collects the ball and lays it off to Matt Gray who wraps his boot round it and swings it into the box. It just evades Haworth at the near post, but runs on for Akuamouah who controls and blasts under the ‘keeper.
The U’s keep slogging away but again with little end product. The only real chance we have to nick all three points is from another excellent Matt Gray cross from the right which puts the ‘keeper under pressure, but he does well to stretch and snatch the ball away from the head of the onrushing Haworth.
We pop back to the Hood for a pint and catch some results. Then rather than freeze my arse off waiting for a bus home, I steal Chalmers car.
Which is handy.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Paul Honey.
ENTERTAINMENT : 5. Not a lot of action and not a lot of quality.
TEAM : Dunn, Gonsalves, Mison, R Palmer, Timothy, Gray, Boothe, Honey, J Palmer, Haworth, Akuamouah SUBS : Fowler, Corbett, Berry