RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
BEDFORD TOWN – 0
SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Corbett 52]
Ah, at last. We finally get to visit a town that has more than 1 pub.
After the cancelled St Albans fixture, we were all looking longingly towards this match. And more importantly, the several drinking holes we could visit and extensively sample their stock. In other words, an all dayer briefly interrupted by something called football.
The plan is to hit Bedford for opening time. Like I said, that WAS the plan. But thanks to our local bus service displaying it’s usual less than reliable nature, muggins here is still stood waiting when he should be stepping onto his train at Croydon. Bugger. Bob has no such problems and is queing outside the Wetherspoons in Bedford with all the old drunks at 10 to 11. Yours truly rolls through the door just before 12. This is after having turned the wrong way out of the station and walked the bloody looong way round as well. Needless to say, I’m gagging for a pint.
Chalmers is only just getting out for the train at this stage, the lazy bastard!
After the ‘Spoons, we hit the Hobgoblin and then a very Irish pub called the Pheonix. Where a couple of games of pool and some top notch scoff sees us off to the second of the towns Wetherspoons pubs. Chalmers eventually wanders in at 2.15 and necks a quick beer before we hit the local cab rank for transport to the ground.
Bedford’s small ‘Eyrie’ stadium is neat and has covering behind both goals. So christ knows why I bothered lugging an umbrella all this bloody way! Although the impressive looking plans on the far wall of their bar indicates the club have big plans for this little part of Befordshire.
The U’s for the first time in ages make a few adjustments to the line up. Stu Hammonds returns to the defence to partner Mison and Palmer. Matt Gray drops to the bench as JR goes with Timothy, Honey, Corbett and Wingfield in midfield.
The match itself proves to be a very uninspiring event. The home side are struggling at the wrong end of the table and make a cautious approach to proceedings. The U’s meanwhile make little headway in the strong wind with our passing lacking it’s recent edge. The front 2 of Haworth and Akuamouah struggling to hold onto the ball when it does find them. Most Sutton efforts are from range and if hitting the front of the roof of the terracing was what won you Ryman league matches, then this would have been over as a contest by half time!
The first half drags along with neither team really threatening. Most of the ‘Eagles’ forays forward end up in the arms of Dunn or excellently swept up by the alert Hammonds and Palmer. The U’s manage to carve out the one decent chance of the half with a sweeping move. Haworth feeding Akuamouah, who then delivers a deft diagonal ball over the Bedford defence to pick out Corbett at the back post. He controls and shoots, but the ‘keeper gets down well to block at the expense of a corner.
The second half on the whole is little better, but just several minutes in and from nowhere, the U’s edge ahead. A mazy run at the Bedford defence by Akuamouah ends with a slide rule pass through to the supporting Corbett. It seems that Scott will just miss out as he’s shadowed by 2 defenders but he persists and slides in to hook a shot goalwards. For some reason, despite the attention of the 2 defenders, the ‘keeper races off his line only to see the ball loop over his shoulder and into the far corner. Cheers mate!
Bedford try to muster a response but again find Palmer and Hammonds in top form as they combine to deny several threatening moves. The U’s make a change and bring off the largely ineffective Wingfield for Matt Fowler. Frustrated, the home defence launch into several crude challenges with Akuamouah the victim of one particularly dangerous lunge.
This frustration works against them and with 10 minutes to play, Matt Fowler bursts into the area only to be cynically checked in the 18 yard box. Without hesitation, the ref points to the spot. Up steps Rob Haworth. He’d taken the previous 2 peno’s we’d been awarded, but this time he doesn’t seem too certain exactly where he wants to put it. Electing for power over finesse, he blazes over the bar and into the roof of the terracing. Oh arse, I feel a nervy last 10 minutes coming on!
Bouyed by their good fortune, the home side mount a concerted effort for an equaliser. Again the U’s defence deals with pretty much everything the home side throw at them, but with time running out, a cross from the left is headed goal wards. Dunn can only watch as the effort clips the top of his bar and out for a goalkick.
So 3 points secured, we book a cab back into town and more drinking!
We hit a pub called the ‘Wellington’ which has apparently got close to 10 ales available. And the advice is very very correct! Mesmerised by the selection, we guzzle as much as we can before making and then rejecting a plan for take-outs! Then it’s off to the station via a chippie. Well, sort of.
We procede to do what we probably do best only after drinking. Get lost!
Bickering like 5 year olds (something else we do extremely well) we stumble around looking for familiar landmarks to give us our bearings. Eventually, having angered a local pisshead and declined his offer of a fight, Chalmers does what eveyone should do when lost. He asks a policeman! Well two actually, sat in a jam sandwich sat at some traffic lights. Hmmm.
Following the helpful policeman’s directions, finally we stagger out of a side street and find the station in front of us. A few minutes later, we’re on the train and heading home. Still bickering like kids over who got us lost.
20 minutes into the journey home, I realise I’m lacking something. My umbrella. Last seen in the Wellington pub. Bollocks. I just KNEW I’d lose the fucking thing. Bob sits chuckling to himself when he spots the look of realisation on my pissed face and puts 2 and 2 together.
Sympathetic as ever I see.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Stuart Hammonds. It’ just good to see Stu back!
ENTERTAINMENT : Match 5. Piss up 8.
TEAM : Dunn, Mison, Timothy, R.Palmer, Hammonds, Gonsalves, Honey, Corbett, Wingfield, Haworth, Akuamouah. SUBS : Fowler, Gray