RYMAN LEAGUE CUP 3rd ROUND
SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Haworth 41]
GRAYS ATHLETIC – 7 [Thomas 18.58.63. Cooper 47.51. Fletcher 57. Morgan 76]
Yes, yes, you read it right. 7-1. So with that, I think we can safely say our involvement in this year’s Ryman League Cup is probably at an end….
Now, this year I’ve already seen the club make the worst start to a season in it’s history (11 games without a win). Well, after Tuesday night , I can now add ‘biggest home defeat in 40 odd years’ to my list of Sutton experiences. Thanks lads. I suppose I should feel special eh?
Don’t ask me to try and analyse what exactly went wrong on this occasion. ‘Cos I have absolutely no sodding idea!! We knew Grays had been on a decent run recently and after Saturday against Billericay would be another good test for our young, improving side, but fuck me sideways, 7-1??
The evening started badly, having dossed around at work to kill time before catching my train, I was then late into town after the aforementioned transport didn’t turn up. (Thanks ‘Go Via’ you bastards) Leaving me only enough time to grab a quick burger from that place with the scary looking clown. And no beer.
That’s right, not even a very very swift half. Another game to be watched sober. This isn’t going to be good.
Grays make a few changes, whilst the U’s only switch is forced on them as Wingfield displayed incredibly poor judgement and appeared for K’s in a previous round. Jon Palmer is his replacement. Appearing on the bench is Stuart Hammonds of Non-League Paper/Magazine ‘fame’ back from a year out after breaking his leg.
The GGL pitch is looking a bit the worse for wear, but this doesn’t stop proceedings from getting off to a fast paced start. Both sides test the opposite ‘keepers early on, with the U’s having a couple of dangerous balls across the Grays penalty area. One of which evades Akuamouah and Haworth but Matt Gray blazes just wide of the far upright. But just as we appear to have slightly the upper hand, Grays pop up the other end and score.
A ball in from the Sutton left and their man nips in front of Ryan Palmer to guide the ball between Dunn and his near post. Marking? What marking?
Sutton hit back and Honey goes close twice, Corbett shoots straight at the ‘keeper and Haworth and Akuamouah both also go close. In between all this, Grays are having at least 2 efforts hacked off the line at the other end and a third open goal sitter blazed into the back gardens on Gander Green Lane.
Jon Palmer picks out Scott Corbett for the free’est of headers you will ever see. But despite guiding it down wards, the ‘keeper manages to get down and keep it out. He then rounds off a good move between Gray, Honey and Akuamouah soon after with a nice turn and shot that has the ‘keeper and the far post just beaten.
Meanwhile, our defence re-enacts most of the first 2 months of the season and allows the visitors at least 2 more clear sights of goal.
As half time approaches, Haworth & Akuamouah both force excellent saves out of the Grays ‘keeper. Then just as we’re thinking of heading for the bar. A ball through the flat Grays defence sets Rob Haworth free. He holds off the close attentions of a defender, draws out the ‘keeper and slips the ball under his dive to level the scores.
The U’s have 2 more good chances before half time. Matt Gray twice feeding good low balls in from the byeline. One which evades everyone. And the other which the ‘keeper manages to get a hand to and nick off Haworth’s boot.
Right on the whistle, Dunn has to get down to save well when a low shot flies through a crowd of players. One things for certain, an interesting second half was on the cards!
Interesting?? That doesn’t even come bloody close!
The U’s open the half promisingly. Matt Gray delivers a low ball in towards the back post, but Akuamouah can only reach it at full stretch and scoops it high and wide of the post.
Apologies for the next few lines sounding a bit vague, but I got lumbered with buying the teas when we came out for the start of the half and was still engaged in trying to find out who has fucking tea/coffee sugar/no sugar/fucking sweetner etc etc etc when the visitors struck almost immediately after the restart. In fact, I spent so long pissing about with the poxy refreshments, it was 3-1 before I took my spot on the terrace. Next time, I’ll pay and some other twat can go get ‘em!
If there’s inaccuracies, blame Belly. He supplied a detailed run down of events in those 6 short minutes. Better that the ‘Premiership’ on ITV in fact. But then again, have you watched that crap? My nan could do better. Tactics truck my arse.
Right, here we go. Apparently (according to Belly) an early attack brings a corner for Grays. It’s put into the box and an initial shot is charged down, but the rebound drops to an unmarked opposition player who fires home past Dunn (Please note, the word ‘unmarked’ is about to come into VERY frequent use. Almost to the point of irritation to be honest. So if you are allergic to this word, or just don’t like it in general, I’d stop reading now).
Just 4 minutes later and Mison is caught in possession trying to run the ball out of our box. He falls over trying to rescue the situation and the ball is switched to the far side of the penalty area where an unmarked (told you!) Grays forward despatches a fierce drive beyond the exposed Dunn. Apparently, it was very similar to Billericay’s equaliser on Saturday, so check out that report for a better description of this particular goal.
So, one cup of tea and 2 goals later, I’m back. Although, it’s not all bad news as Chalmers and I had the good fortune to blag free leftover hot dogs from Rose in the tea bar. Musn’t grumble!
Just in time in fact to witness any hope we have of getting anything from the tie disappear. A U’s move breaks down and with Timothy out of position Mison races across to cover, gets there, falls over again and matey runs into the box, squares the ball and an unmarked colleague taps in at the back post. 4-1.
We manage to keep our guests out for another few minutes and manage a couple of face saving attacks. Sadly, the finishing is getting worse, not better. Rob Haworth is again put through on goal, but pulls his shot a good yard wide of the far post when well placed and then heads over with the goal at his mercy soon after when the Grays defence fails to deal with one of our two corners of the half.
Then with any semblance of a defence having long since ceased to exist within the Sutton half of the pitch, number 5 arrives. Timothy loses possession 10 yards inside the Grays half and 2 passes later an unmarked Thomas is sent clear to shoot past Dunn and earn himself the match ball. Sutton hit back with a couple more attacks, but Matt Gray is now trying far too hard to do something really special rather than look up and pass. One cross does reach Jon Palmer inside the box, but he miskicks horribly trying for a spectacular volley.
Grays hit the half dozen with still a good 20 minutes still to play. Again, the right side of our defence goes walkies, followed by the rest, leaving most of the Grays team, their staff, coach driver and both supporters queueing up to score. After a brief game of scissors, paper, stone, the unmarked (are you bored of this yet?) Fletcher wins the right to stab home from 5 yards out.
76 minutes and number 7 (And they say that’s a lucky number? ‘Bollocks is it’ I say) is despatched in an incredibly similar fashion to number 6. No defence, down the right, ball across box, half of planet earth queueing up, unmarked inside the area (come on, you must be bored with that by now?), ball stabbed home from close range. Blah blah blah etc etc etc. You get the picture.
Now, at this point, most teams would probably ease up. Around 15 to play, a 6 goal cushion, go easy lads, no need for anything unnecessary. But oh no. Not Grays. They prove to be a bunch of right heartless fuckers by going for more. They learn their lesson by having another close range tap in crash back off the bar and a final effort blazed over and into the playground at the Collingwood end. They continue their heartless nature at the other end by defending our second and last corner of the half with all 10 outfield players in their own area! Bastards.
Paul Honey then shows that he’s not that happy with the result and provides a bit of light relief, when with minutes to play, caked in mud and absolutely shattered, he wins a free-kick just inside the Grays half. He leaps up, stops the ball with his hand and looks to take it early, possibly setting up a late consolation. Sadly his team mates aren’t as up for it as he is and no one is looking to receive a pass. Frustrated he can only look to the heavens and bellow at his colleagues “For fucks sake, switch on!!!”
Quality. That boy has a big future!
As we depart the ground, Belly mutters about having wished he’d stayed in and watched ‘Footballers Wives’. “I think you just saw it mate” I reply. As we reach the car, a bloke in a long coat and with a big bushy moustache is sticking a sheet of A4 paper to a fence post with sellotape. Curious, we hang around and nick it when he goes. Written in black marker is the following.
Usually answers to the name of ‘Shaky’
Last seen in Amber & Chocolate coloured
shirts at approx 8.30pm, Tuesday 15th Jan
2002 in the Gander Green Lane area of Sutton.
All calls to ‘John’ on 0208 644 4440.
It’s true. Honest!
MAN OF THE MATCH – Paul Honey.
ENTERTAINMENT – 0. What do you expect?? At least the 2 Grays fans enjoyed themselves
TEAM – Dunn, Mison, Timothy, R Palmer, Gonsalves, Honey, Corbett, Gray, J Palmer, Haworth, Akuamouah SUBS – Fowler, Hammonds