RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Wingfield 46. Corbett 84]
BASINGSTOKE TOWN – 1 [Eaton 6]
The away game at Basingstoke was defiantely one of the lowest points of the 1st half of the season. A pathetic 3-0 defeat which left us propping up the table.
Thankfully, our first win was obtained 4 days later at Hitchin and things have thankfully got better from then on. In fact, the situation has improved a thousand times over, with the U’s going into the return fixture unbeaten in 8 league games and hopeful of a little bit of revenge.
The usual pre-game pint with Bob is supped in the Hood and we’re off down to GGL in time for kick off.
JR has decided to stick with his favourite ‘wingbacks’ formation that we all love sooo much. *sigh* Ok ok John, we give in. There’s only so many ways ol’ Taz can write how much he dislikes it!!
Things start slowly for the U’s and after just 6 minutes, the defence fails to deal with a big throw-in and Eaton pounces, turning the ball in from an angle at the back post. The visitors have a purple patch and for the next 10 minutes or so, move the ball about well. One long range strike has Dunn scrambling as it fizzes just past his upright. Then, with around 20 minutes played, Sutton step up a gear and find their way into the match.
The visitors lack of pace at the back is exposed when a ball over the top sends Akuamouah clear of his marker. He skips round the ‘keeper, but finds the angle too tight to apply a finish and slides his effort across the face of the goal. All of a sudden, it’s all Sutton as we press for an equaliser.
Haworth has 2 chances in as many minutes, again racing onto balls over the top of the visitors backline, only to drag both efforts wide of the far post on both occassions. The U’s keep pressing, reducing Basingstoke to little more than the odd ineffectual foray into our half. It’s at this point of the game, the appointed Ryman league official for the day reveals what a completely blind twat he is. Firstly, another Haworth surge is ended inside the box when he’s clumsily bundled over well after he’s played the ball. Now normally, an offence such as this would merit a penalty. Like I said, ‘normally’ it would. As expected, matey in the black has seen absolutely fuck all.
If we thought this was bad, just a couple of minutes later another ball catches out the ‘Stoke defence. Akuamouah nips in front of his man only to be sent crashing to the ground by a clear shove in the back, again inside the area. Despite the attendance of the linesman not 5 yards away, the ref waves play on. Only to then halt proceedings to have a word, at the linesmans request, with one of our subs who has no doubt only informed the assistant what a clueless arse he is.
Just to really wind us up, he then ignores a completely blatant handball in the area and for his encore then deems a yellow card to be sufficient punishment when the last Basingstoke defender pulls back Akuamouah on the edge of the box, having been completely stripped for pace. Erm, correct me if I’m wrong but I was under the impression that that particular offence was a sending off.
I give you Mr Andy Harvey of Hertfordshire. Police officer, alleged referee and part time childrens entertainer known as ‘Coco the clown’. Where DO they find them?? (The refs that is, not the childrens entertainers).
The last opportunity of the half falls to Corbett whose fierce drive following a free-kick is deflected wide by a defender. We wander into the bar and discover Chalmers having a beer. Unfortunately, he’s been working this morning and only just arrived at the ground.
The second half starts where the first left off, with the U’s on the attack. We only have to wait a minute after the restart for the equaliser to arrive. A cross field ball picks out Phil Wingfield in space on the left. His low shot is blocked by the ‘keeper’s foot and flies up into the air. Corbett is under it and attempts an overhead kick. He misses! The ball drops and Akuamouah hits it on the bounce, forcing another save from the ‘keeper before the ball bobbles back to Wingfield who pokes it into the net. “Thats it……” we think, “…….only one winner now” .
Yeah right! The lads then proceed to kill that complacency stone dead.
Somehow, in the next 30-odd minutes the Basingstoke goal remains unbreached despite a massive Sutton onslaught. Twice in a couple of minutes, Paul Honey has excellent chances to put the U’s ahead. First a cracking, mazy run past 3 ‘Stoke defenders ends with a low shot inches wide of the far post, then he fails to convert a Dave Timothy cross, sending his volley flashing just wide. Then at the other end, the visitors muster their only real chance of the half with a lightning breakaway. Dunn making an excellent 1 handed stop from a close range volley.
The seige is resumed and it’s then Haworth’s turn to blow 2 very good chances. First, with the ‘keeper exposed, he shoots weakly at Tarr and then shortly afterwards has a shot touched just wide by the ‘keeper from the exact same position. Wingfield is put through in the same position only to tread on the ball at the vital moment. Akuamouah then forces a great stop from Tarr, with the ball AGAIN just going inches wide of the post.
But despite all these missed chances, the lads keep plugging away and just when we’re starting to think a draw is the best we’ll get, Honey slips a ball through for the run of Corbett, who does what all his mates have failed to do so far and finally puts the ball beyond Tarr and into the bottom right corner of the goal.
About bloody time too! Scotty wheels away and mimics Mison’s celebration from last week by whipping his shirt off. Put it away Scott!
The visitors throw on a final sub to try and rescue the match, but it’s still the U’s doing all the attacking and both Corbett and Haworth both miss half chances to put the match beyond doubt.
So another hard won 3 points. The footy wasn’t brilliant, but what IS promising in the way we just kept playing, passing, moving. Kept plugging away until we got our reward.
We return to the Hood for results and a celebratory pint or two. Here we discover that K’s have only managed a draw with Billericay and that we now go above them on goal difference in 10th spot.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Paul Honey. Had a stormer.
ENTERTAINMENT : 7. Better than last week.
TEAM : Dunn, Mison, Hammonds, R Palmer, Timothy, Gonsalves, Honey, Corbett, Wingfield, Haworth, Akuamouah SUBS : Gray, Fowler, Seal.