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Att: 498

SUTTON UNITED – 2  [Timothy 83. Mison 84]

MAIDENHEAD UNITED – 1  [Saunders 40]

Feeling somewhat fragile after the previous evenings brave yet fruitless attempt to sample every single beer on offer at the Battersea Festival, yours truly was a tadge glad that today was a home game.

No getting up early to travel somewhere obscure in the South East of England and get drunk. Again.

So a lie in then? Nope. For some completely stupid reason, I got up early and went to get my hair cut. Yes, I know. Place hand at head height with palm facing you. Propel palm into forehead at high velocity whilst exclaiming ‘DOH!’ loudly.

The friday night drinking extravaganza also meant that when I crawled into the Robin Hood at just gone 2, I was alone. Bob was running late (wonder why?!) and so was Chalmers (no change there then!). The landlord greets me and enquires if I would like my usual pint of ‘Special’. Completely unable to face beer until after the game at least, I stun him by requesting a pint of orange and lemonade instead. Hair of the dog that bit you?? Bollocks to that. Knowing my luck, the metaphorical dog that did the damage originally would be a huge, very pissed off Doberman. And going back for some of it’s ‘hair’ would frankly be very stupid. If you catch my drift!

Fruit juice knocked back and feeling slightly better, at least for now, I trot down to the cathedral of footballing joy and excellence that is Gander GreenLane. And yes I am being sarcastic again.

JR seems to have retained the side that ground out the win at Bedford last week. Which means we’re back to that bloody ‘352/532-whatever-the-fuck-it-is’ system that he seems to love sooo much. Suffice to say your average U’s fan doesn’t share his enthusiasm as it normally means a tedious 90 minutes of scrapping and kicking the ball into the air a lot rather than the 442 that is more passing orientated. And frankly to use such rubbish at home is really beyond me. Oh I give up…

The task in hand for the lads today is evident very early on. A Dave Timothy run is halted by a rather cynical trip after he’s skinned the visitors no11 after just a couple of minutes. Matey gets his reward in a yellow card. His colleagues seem equally prepared to make their ‘mark early on. Particularly the big ape-like no5 who crudely crashes into the back of Rob Haworth twice in quick succession. So a free flowing game is out of the question then lads??

With the oppo also seemingly employing the ‘wingbacks’ nonsense, the first half lacks any real action. All the U’s can manage are a few half decent, but overhit crosses and despite the string of free-kicks around the box (mainly conceded by that no5) we fail to make any impression on the visitors defence. Maidenhead experience similar difficulties, with Palmer and Hammonds dealing with most things thrown their way. Although Dunn has to be alert to deal with a couple of decent efforts from range.

Sutton’s best opportunity comes from Wingfield and Gonsalves combining down the left. The young full back gets to the byeline and hits a low ball across the 6 yard box which evades Haworth at the near post and is deflected behind Akuamouah before being cleared.

Then with the break looming, the U’s defence starts dreaming of their half-time cuppa and bit of orange and naturally allows the visitors a soft goal. A ball through the flat back line finds Saunders, who looks just suspiciously a tadge offside. In fact he has a good look over at the linesman to check what the score is before, with a look of surprise on his face, running in and rolling the ball beyond the dive of Dunn from 10 yards. Meanwhile our defenders do what they do best in this type of situation. Stand there, arm in the air, appealing to the nearest official.

So somehow, we go in behind at the break. Ho hum.

The second half is little better than the first in terms of action. Maidenhead have a bit more of the play early on, creating one or two decent chances. But thankfully, Dunn’s goal remains intact.

As the half wears on, the visitors defend deeper and deeper as the U’s, whilst not playing much pretty football, apply some pressure. Haworth heads just wide of the near post from one corner and sub Matt Fowler sends a looping volley just wide of the other upright. The big Maidenhead 5 somehow escapes a booking for over the ball challenge on Haworth, leaving him in a heap. In fact, the ref fails to even award a free kick.

With time running out and our terrace chat turning to the “wouldn’t score if we played til Xmas” variety, we manage to nick an equaliser out of the blue. A move down the right ends with a cross into the box evading all attackers and the visiting defence. The ball runs out to the left where Eddie Akuamouah collects, turns and delivers a delightful floated cross over the stranded ‘keeper to the back post where Dave Timothy arrives to power home a header from a couple of yards out. A cheer of releif rings out around the Collingwood end.

Fired by the breakthrough and with Maidenhead looking a little deflated, the lads go for a winner. Around 60 seconds later, another raid down the right brings a corner. Akuamouah takes it and plays it low to the near post where Matt Fowler makes enough of a nuisance of himself for the ball to find it’s way to the heart of the Maidenhead box. Mison reacts first and prods the ball past Barnard and over the line.

The U’s skipper wheels away in delight, whipping his shirt off and waving it above his head in celebration. Meanwhile, the Collingwood terrace (including yours truly) rejoices at what looks to be an improbable winner.

There follows a nervy last few minutes as Maidenhead push for a late goal of their own, but despite a couple of corners and a dangerous free-kick, the lads hang on and greet the final whistle like they’ve just gone top or avoided relegation rather than won a mid table scrap.

Still, 3 points is 3 points and we head for the Hood for some results and to finally start our beer intake. The barman enquires as to an unofficial Sutton site that has a pub guide and the mention his establishment gets.

It takes all my effort to avoid making a cheeky request for some kind of ‘sponsorship’ deal.

Nah. Best wait til he’s read the write up first!

MAN OF THE MATCH – Ryan Palmer. Back to his best.

ENTERTAINMENT – 5. Pretty dire stuff, but rescued a tadge by the late excitement.

TEAM – Dunn, Mison, Hammonds, Gonsalves, R Palmer, Timothy, Wingfield, Honey, Corbett, Haworth, Akuamouah   SUBS – Gray, Fowler, Bailey

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