RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Wingfield 16. Gray p38]
HENDON – 1 [Butler 85]
Having recovered from the serious eye strain picked up at Croydon on Saturday, it was nice to get back to GGL and at least be within 20 miles of the pitch.
The U’s had met Hendon twice already this season, both times in North London and both times had come away with fuck all. Going down 4-2 in the league (the one none of us could be arsed to go to) and the frankly gutless 2-1 defeat in the FA Trophy (less said about that the better). Can our recently stuttering heroes exact a bit of revenge?
Another nightmare journey from Epsom courtesy of Uselessbastard trains (know to most other people as ‘South Central’) and I’m rushing to get some grub before heading for the footy. My already precious time is further reduced when I’m served in McDonalds by someone who is clearly NOT or ever will be a Nobel pirze winner for Astrophysics. And how do I know said ‘server’ is not the aforementioned? Easy. He doesn’t appear to have grasped the art of walking & carrying food at the same time. Promptly depositing my Big Mac & fries all over the floor having walked into the corner of the big fuck-off shiny stainless steel drinks dispenser. He sheepishly declines my not-in-the-slightest-bit sarky offer of saving time by getting my own meal. Although he seems to express interest in my recommendation that he apply for a Ryman League referee’s course.
All this means is, muggins here doesn’t get his usual, dare I say, ritual pre-match pint. So much for fast fucking food.
Oooooh, that makes me mad. And also a little too sober.
I just make it for kick off, but have to walk all the way round the ground to get a proggy. Cheers Mr clueless McDonalds person. First you drop my grub, then I miss out on my pre-match pint and NOW I don’t get a proggy. Grrrr!
The U’s have amazingly decided to play a 442 formation tonight. With Eddie rested after his knock on Saturday, Fowler partners Haworth up front. Mison is also rested so the skippers armband goes to Mr Haworth.
Hendon, fresh from completing a ‘double’ over K’s (insert needless childish snigger here) at the weekend, show that their current league position is somewhat false by having a lot of early possession and putting a fair bit of pressure onto the U’s defence.
The back four faces up to the threat and shows what a decent defensive unit they are when played in a sensible system. Both sides move the ball about fairly well, probing for openings and looking to create chances. The visitors fare best and force Dunn into a couple of smart saves. He also has our nerves jangling a little by missing a couple of punches. Thankfully, the rest of the lads are alert to clear any danger.
It’s a little against the run of play that Sutton take the lead 16 minutes in. A foul on the near side in front of us results in a free-kick some 25 yards out. The ref amazing us all by pacing out 10 yards (Yes, I did say 10. Not 8, not 9, but 10) and forcing the Hendon wall back the WHOLE WAY! Obviously overcome by the fact he doesn’t have the wall standing on his bloody toes for a change, Phil Wingfield celebrates by hammering the free-kick up, over the wall and in via the underside of the bar.
Hendon hit back almost immediately and Dunn has to back pedal rapidly to tip a long range dipping effort over his crossbar. A couple of minutes later, he calls for a cross only to be blocked by one of his own defenders. Somehow, the rest of the Amber shirts crowded in the box manage to prevent an equaliser and scramble the ball to safety.
Sutton manage to regain some serious involvement in the match and extend their advantage a few minutes before half time. A free-kick from the near side touch line is swung to the back post. A U’s player (Hammonds I think) arrives late to meet the delivery only to be blatantly pulled back right in front of the ref. That’ll be a penalty then!
With no Eddie and Rob Haworth not too keen, young Matt Gray picks up the ball and places it on the spot. He confidently strides up, sends the ‘keeper the wrong way and firmly plants his spot kick low in the centre of the net.
Hendon manage one further threat on goal before the break. Dunn coming out to claim a deep cross and being outjumped by a visiting forward. The ball loops goalwards but Timothy is on hand to cut the ball off inside the 6 yard box and belt it to safety.
The second half starts in a similar tempo to the first, but with the U’s this time having slightly the better of things as they go looking for a third and killer goal.
Rob Haworth has the first real sight of goal, latching onto a good ball into space and running into the box. But his aim is upset by the chasing defender and the shot bobbles across the 6 yard box and out for a goal kick. Soon after a corner is delivered to the near post and Hammonds flicked header just clears the bar.
The visitors first effort of the second half follows a real mix up in the Sutton defence following a corner. Haworth diving in to get a touch to a low shot and can only look on as the ball spins up over Dunn, just clears the bar and rolls down the back of the net. Strangely the ref awards a goalkick. Hmmm.
The best chance of the half falls to Hendon midway through the half when a cross from the Sutton left picks out a forward unmarked only a few yards out at the back post. But amazingly he directs his downward header wide of Dunn and the post.
Sutton continue to create the more frequent threat with Matt Gray in particular supplying 3 or 4 very good low crosses at blistering pace into the penalty area. All of which are somehow directed wide or over the goal by a varying selection of slices and desperate defending. Hendon then force a good reflex save with a snap shot inside the area. Tommy doing well to hang onto the ball.
The closest the U’s get to notching that third is another Wingfield effort. Mugging a Hendon defender off almost on the byeline right on the edge of the box, he’s rather cynically tripped. He swings the ball in and see’s it bounce off the top of the far end of the crossbar. A couple of minutes later and the visitors finally get the goal their overall play deserves.
Gonsalves is caught flat footed at left back and fouls his man. The free-kick is swung into the near post where Butler swoops to head past the stranded Dunn. The goal unsettles our boys a bit and for some reason we start running around like headless chickens for the last couple of minutes, hurrying free-kicks and generally conceding possession wherever possible. Only Matt Gray has the good sense to play the ball into deep wide areas and the corners to try and kill some time.
Thankfully to our relief, the lads hang on and record a hard fought win over a useful looking side. It’s a nice 3 points as it moves us 7 points clear of our massive, huge, fantabulous and very very skint friends Kingstonian. Awwww diddums! (Again, insert childish snigger if required).
Next we’ve got some title chasing Kentish people down at GGL.
Let’s ‘ave ‘em then.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Ryan Palmer. Didn’t put a foot wrong.
ENTERTAINMENT : 7. A decent fast paced 90 minutes.
TEAM : Dunn, Timothy, Hammonds, Palmer, Gonsalves, Gray, Wingfield, Honey, Corbett, Haworth, Fowler. SUBS : Bailey, Mison, Williams