RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
CHESHAM UNITED – 2 [Andrews 14.50]
SUTTON UNITED – 0
The U’s slipped too their third straight defeat yesterday with another lacklustre performance this weekend. It also meant they’ve now gone around 315 minutes since last registering a goal. The only plus point was the appearance of some more of the club’s promising youngsters in the line up, but sadly it now seems with the seasons end in sight and nowt to play for, we’re relying on them to carry the team for the remainder rather than bring them on in stages alongside the slightly more experienced lads.
The day began as usual with an early meet with Bob and muggins here assembling at Baker Street for 11. Again, Mr Chalmers is absent having elected to go to the Chelsea-Derby match instead so he could make sure of getting a ticket for some mickey mouse game at Villa Park in a couple of weeks.
We really must have a word with the lad when we see him next, he’s letting the big bright lights of the Premiership and FA Cup semi final tickets seduce him and lead him away from the delights of the U’s away at exotic places like Chesham. Stupid boy!
A couple of quick bevvies sunk and then we’re off to Marylebone to try and hit Chesham and maybe catch some of the Leeds-Man Utd game on the box. Naturally we raid the Cornish Pasty place at the station for munchables before boarding our train.
As usual, the journey is broken with the 20 minute wait for the one stop train to Chesham from Chalfont. A job that is surely the most boring one available for the drivers of the London Underground. Fuck doing that all day every day. The wait is made all the worse by the fact that the boozer just outside the station not being open, as per usual, to allow for a quick pint to help pass the wait.
By the time we stroll into the Queens Head in the quaint old part of Chesham, the Leeds game has 10 minutes left to go and the Yorkies have just pulled the score back to 4-3. Our timing could have been better here. So we settle in for the remainder over a pint, only to find ourselves surrounded by Leeds fans, with actual proper Leeds accents. Who knew this little part of Bucks was such a hotbed of Yorkshire ex-pats? Ever diplomatic, I bite my tongue and make sure not make any references to brawls outside nightclubs or commenting on the fact that the opposition player was “not an asian student” when fouled by two certain members of the Leeds team.
Surviving the encounter with the Buckinghamshire branch of the Marching on Together fan club, we stroll round to the ground in plenty of time to gab a dog burger before kick off and take our places behind a goal. The U’s have made a few changes today, with Nick Bailey getting his first start in the side and Akuamouah returning to the lineup. Also making his full debut is midfielder Graham Tydeman, another of the suddenly never ending production line of youth that we seem to have up and running. Phil Wingfield is still missing and skipper Mike Mison sits on the bench, not being risked as he’s apparently injured. He’s joined there by Matt Fowler and another youngster, Drew. Whose first name escaped me due to the piss poor muffled PA. So I elect to call him ‘Nancy’.
Sutton start brightly, with Honey and Tydeman working well in midfield and Matt Gray linking up with Haworth. It’s the latter pair who create the U’s first opening after a couple of minutes, Gray heading down a long clearance into the path of Haworth who does well to hold off a defender and thrash a low drive goal wards, forcing a diving one handed save from Preddie. Who, as the half goes on, displays some of the worst kicking we’ve seen in years. A fact that we of course take great pleasure in informing him of.
It proves to be a bit of a false dawn as the home side are soon controlling possession. They have one effort chipped narrowly over before the impressive Andrews gives them the lead after about 15 minutes. The U’s twice fail to clear a Chesham attack and the ball is played back into the danger area. A home player receives the ball and loops it between two U’s defenders to the unmarked Andrews who guides an angled first time effort beyond Dunn. Ah bollocks.
The goal seems to deflate the lads a bit and the following 20 minutes or so are a little shambolic, with the midfield in particular failing to make any impression and getting completely overrun. Haworth and Gray are given little supply and whatever comes their way is lumped forwards to be gobbled up by the two big Chesham centre backs before being directed straight back at us.
The home side miss a couple of chances with the best being Andrews overhead kick that Dunn has to acrobatically flick over the bar. Most annoyingly for us, this was done with at least 2 U’s defenders doing what they do best. Standing off a sodding opponent and giving them lots of room to perform their clever acrobatics.
The U’s muster a few forays forwards later in the half and one of which has a Gonsalves cross headed just wide by Haworth. Nick Bailey has a great chance to pull things level when he hassles Preddie into fumbling a perfectly harmless through ball. But with the goal at his mercy, he elects to try and pick out Haworth inside the 6 yard box and the chance is gone. Surely a case of inexperience getting the better of Mr Bailey. Although we can’t help thinking we’d have been punished by the oppo if it had been at the other end. Still, he at least made it happen in the first place, so we can’t be too harsh on the lad.
Probably the best move from the visitors comes near the end of the half, with Honey releasing Timothy down the right. He skips past 2 challenges and whips a cross into the box that a defender does well to nick off the forehead of Bailey at the back post.
We head for the bar at half time for some results, where I discover that Oldham are continuing to piss away their play-off hopes by being 1-0 down to bottom club Cambridge. A late 1st half equaliser does little to brighten what is already turning into a disappointing afternoon.
We wander from the bar and along the front of the stand just as the game kicks off. Paul Honey is fouled by a Chesham player and naturally, their shouty angry bloke manager, Bob Dowie leaps from the bench. “Bloody hell ref. What the hell was that for man?” he screams. Before any of us can make an obvious and smart arsed comment, a voice behind us says “Come on, it was a foul Bob!”. Dowie turns to see who would dare to say such a thing only to see our manager JR trotting down the steps with a big grin under that tache of his. With Mr Dowie suitably schooled by one of his elders, we chuckle and carry on our stroll.
The second half sees little improvement from our point of view and is barely 5 minuets old when a ball forwards is aimed at the pacy Andrews. It’s a tadge too long and Hammonds arrives first to clear, only to boot the bloody ball against the oncoming forward. Naturally, it drops perfectly and the striker fires past Dunn into the far corner.
For much of the rest of the half, Sutton struggle to string more than a couple of passes together. Either overhitting them or leaving them far too short. Other moves fall apart as players fail to read what a team mate is intending and head off in the opposite direction to where the pass ends up. I guess that’s what happens when you introduce loads of lads in one go. No one has a clue what anyone else is doing.
Tydeman is replaced by Fowler after an unfortunately ineffective performance. It’s been a tough debut for the lad and no mistake. Again, Matt adds little to our game, but at least gives the home defence something else to worry about.
A couple of chances eventually fall our way. One from a Gonsalves cross from the byeline that Akuamouah flicks goalwards only to be headed from under the bar with Haworth lurking and a Matt Gray free kick from out wide that Fowler just gets a slight touch to, only to see it drift over the bar rather than under it. Chesham keep attacking meanwhile and their best chance of the half comes after some disarray in the U’s rearguard. A fierce shot from the edge of the box is heading for Dunn’s top corner when Andrews pops up, unable to get out of the way quickly enough and deflects the shot over for a goal kick.
The home team finally withdraw Andrews after he picks up a knock and we blood yet another yourng lamb, introducing ‘Nancy’ in place of Timothy. Pleasingly, the young defender gives a solid performance for the last 15 minutes or so. The final whistle ends our ordeal and we again trudge round to the bar for some full times. Naturally, I see Oldham are now 2-1 down and down to 10 men. Marvellous.
Distinctly underwhelmed, we mooch back into town at the final whistle and sink a couple in the local Wetherspoons before hopping back onto the train into London, a quick pint in Baker Street and then back home for the usual Saturday night pub duties out in the bright lights of Sutton.
Mmmm. Next up on Monday and we’re at home in a local one to those smug, but not quite as smug as they were, bastards Kingstonian. Should be a right barrel of laughs at this rate.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Ryan Palmer. Solid.
ENTERTAINMENT : 5. It really wasn’t very good.
TEAM : Dunn, Timothy, Hammonds, Palmer, Gonsalves, Bailey, Tydeman, Honey, Gray, Haworth, Akuamouah. SUBS : Mison, Drew, Fowler.