RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
ALDERSHOT TOWN – 1 [Browne 41]
SUTTON UNITED – 0
No, not our left footed ex-midfielder silly. Just another baaad pun on my part. But while we’re on the subject of Mr Bolt, I was pleased to hear of his midweek switch to title chasing Canvey. Feels good to be wearing a yellowy type shirt again eh Dan? Not like those silly hoops. Hoops are fattening anyway, everyone knows that.
After last weeks narrow defeat by Gravesend, we were hoping for a similar battling performance this week and possibly nicking a point or 3 off our old, currently managerless, friends down at the Rec. But sadly, they buggered all that up by appointing a new manager on the Friday afternoon. And you’ve only got to look at Everton since they did the same to know what I’m talking about here.
Apart from all that the U’s would still have needed to put in that battling display to get some reward from the game. Shame no-one told the team eh?
Unlike the total spineless surrender here in the FA Cup this year, this was marginally better. We showed up for starters. The match itself was almost a re-run of last weeks run out. A workmanlike yet rather unspectacular opposition gifted a goal in the first half while we huffed and puffed a lot and didn’t look vaguely like blowing owt down.
Plans were made to meet in Wimbledon, drink, get on a train to Aldershot, drink and then watch some footy. At the start of the week I thought my attendance for this would be in doubt as I was due to be moving home, but due to another in a loooong string of legal fuck ups with all that nonsense, I was instead free to take in the delights of Sunny Aldershot. Chalmers threw all the arrangements out the window by deciding he was going to lay off the beer after his week long bender in Cheltenham and a following few days of a ‘pint after work’ and drive to the game. Ho hum, we’re not fussy.
With the Arse-Geordie game on the box we made a timely stop at a boozer just outside Guilford that I know well from working round these parts for a couple and some viewing. Then onto the Red Lion in Aldershot next to dump the car and squeeze a beer or two more before the game with a short walk to the ground.
The U’s are unchanged, with Eddie Akuamouah appearing on the bench. As per normal, the U’s end up shooting towards the East Bank which is a little less populated than normal. Thankfully, someone has had the sense to either ban/confiscate/smash up and burn the drum used to such irritating affect at the Cup game back in October. Although this doesn’t stop the home fans at this end are their normal charming selves. Oh well, can’t have everything I s’pose.
The U’s start fairly well, exerting a little bit of early pressure. With Corbett firing a free-kick just wide without troubling Howells too much. But the best opportunity falls to Rob Haworth, getting up at the near post for a corner. His deft flicked header beats everyone but the Aldershot defender at the back post and the effort is nodded off the line. The home side hit back straight away from this with a good run and shot ending up in Dunn’s midriff.
Slowly the home side take over proceedings though and largely control affairs, with Sutton meanwhile struggling to string and kind of cohesive play together. The Shots threaten several times with some decent movement of the ball, stretching our back line, but their tendency to either shoot from range when patience is required or overcook the move completely with 1 pass too many ensures that Tommy’s goal goes unbreached. So far so good.
Then with half time approaching and 0-0 looking the likely score, the U’s defence is caught in disarray and the inevitable happens. A pass finds Browne and Dunn with no other option given that it seems the lads in front of him have forgotten they’re supposed to be protecting his goal, races from his line to engage the forward on the edge of the 18 yard box. He does enough to make a tackle but the ball doesn’t run for him and bobbles past, giving Browne the easy job of riding the challenge and rolling the ball in from just inside the box.
Any hopes we might have had of JR giving the lads a rollocking at the break and picking up the game are dispelled early on after the restart as the Shots carry on where they left off and look to finish us off.
Dunn is by far the busier ‘keeper, holding numerous efforts from Browne and Payne. He’s forced into 2 good stops first by Payne and then Bentley is allowed to travel some way with the ball (when will we learn to fucking close downtackle for christs sake?) and Tommy firmly pushes away the midfielders effort.
The ineffective Fowler is withdrawn for Nick Bailey who takes over from Gray on the right, allowing Matty to partner Haworth up front. This gives the U’s a bit more pace and at least makes the Aldershot defence work a bit more for their money in the latter stages.
Sutton’s only real ‘effort’ on goal in the second half is when a cross finds its way across the box, where Bailey recovers an apparent lost cause to pull the ball back across the box, but Howells is alert and gathers before anyone in a Sutton shirt can make a nuisance of themselves.
How Aldershot fail to add to their tally in the contest is a little surprising. The pick of the bunch being one Dunn clearance cannoning back off the grounded Hammonds and flying just wide of the now open goal.
Obviously sensing our despondency, the home team try to cheer us up by bringing on our favourite ex-U, Mark Watson. Naturally he does very little, but when played into a decent position he blazes an angled shot well well wide. Hi Mark, nice to see you again mate.
All in all a very anonymous showing from our lads. At times we just seemed a yard slower than the oppo and what was particularly annoying was the virtual no show of our more experienced players, all again being outshone by a bunch of kids. Only Dunn, Honey, Gonsalves, Gray or Bailey can come out today with any credit at all. Still, their efforts and determination at least shows we’ve got some half decentgood players there to build a side around if JR can manage to find some fresh recruits cheap enouhg.
Slightly depressed at the lacklustre showing, we amble back up the road via a chippy, to have another couple of sorrows drowners in the Red Lion whilst the social committee sits and eventually elects for a trip back to Sutton and a lot more beer in the Wetherspoons. At least it’ll be cheap.
All I can say is I hope we get our arses in gear for the two K’s meetings we’ve got coming up. I’m not sure I could really handle losing to those wankers. Once would be bad enough, but twice in quick succession would be unbearable.
Time to nut up or shut up lads..
MAN OF THE MATCH : Tommy Dunn. Kept us in it with a string of saves.
ENTERTAINMENT : 5. Not very good at all.
TEAM : Dunn, Palmer, Gonsalves, Mison, Hammonds, Honey, Timothy, Corbett, Folwer, Haworth, Gray. SUBS : Bailey, Akuamouah, Drew