SUTTON UNITED – 0
BRIGHTON & H A – 1 [Melton 51]
The U’s pre-season programme continued last night with the second visit of a Nationwide 1st Division side this week with Brighton this time providing the opposition.
Ambling into my favourite quiet little eaterie on the High Street (McDonalds!) I discover Bob polishing off his grub. Well fancy that, what a coincidence. We’ll be bumping into each other in pubs next!
Grubbed up, we head for the Hood and some lovely beer to wash down our burgers. Being well organised, we call ahead and order Oscar to get the pints in ready for our arrival. Then it’s once more to GGL for some more ‘action’………ahem!
Once again, the line up is very similar. Thankfully there is no Eddie Saunders to be seen, but Nick Drew is replaced by Mison in a 5 man defence (groan!) and once more, Matt ‘JR said I was a good striker but he’s still playing me miles out of fucking position’ Gray is of course lumbered with the frankly ridiculous right-wingback position. We give up, we really do.
Front two are new man Cooper with old geezer Hanlan. Hmmm, we’ll see.
The visitors include 2 familiar faces in ex-Hoopy twat and local-yet-never-played-for-us lad Geoff Pitcher, and ex-crowd favourite Paul ‘Curly’ Rogers. Or ‘Dodge’ as he’s known to the Brighton lads.
The crowd is sparse, with seemingly even fewer Brighton fans travelling than Leicester in Tuesday. A bit disappointing really as it’s a lovely evening and Brighton isn’t exactly a pain in the arse to get to/from is it?? Ho hum…
The match is standard pre-season fare, until about 10 minutes in when a Craig Brown run down the left ends with a low ball towards Cooper in the box. A defender stretches to cut the ball out and only succeeds in looping the ball goalwards with his ‘keeper backpedalling like mad. Sadly, a desperate waft of his fingertips is enough to tip it over the bar and prevent an embarrassing OG. Arse.
This leads to the U’s having a small spell of pressure. And soon after, Cooper gets to the byeline and pulls the ball back across the box to an unmarked Craig Brown. With the goal at his mercy, he scuffs his shot the wrong side of the upright.
After this, the visitors come into the game more, but without really threatening Dunns goal too much. Most of their efforts being from long range and straight at him.
So goalless at half time. Exciting eh……
The visitors go through the usual motions of changing the entire team for the 2nd 45 minutes and of course, mainly being fringe players, they’re eager to impress. Which means a shitload more running around for our lot! The U’s change is Cooper off for Fowler.
The raise in tempo is once again our undoing as within 5 minutes of the restart, our defence goes to sleep and an interchange of passes cuts through our regard and Melton hooks a shot over Dunn’s shoulder and into the far corner.
The U’s are then pretty much pinned back by the visitors forays forwards and any efforts to move up the field are either simply snuffed out or ruined by poor passing and distribution of the ball.
Brighton threaten aplenty, but once again, chances are few and far between. Although Dunn does pull off one utterly amazing stop from Nathan Jones. Another swift exchange of passes exposes our defence and Jones’ fierce, low snap shot is somehow acrobatically turned over the bar one handed by Dunn.
The nearest the U’s come to levelling things is when Matt Gray is allowed a brief foray forwards and his low ball to the near post is only just hooked over his own bar by a Brighton defender.
Gray does also deliver one excellent corner to the far post that Mison seems certain to nut into the net until a defender nips just in front and nicks the ball away.
So another average performance and the thing becoming already apparent is that we lack someone creative who can open up defences. It also looks ominously that we are going to struggle for goals as we are somewhat lightweight in that department.
TEAM : Dunn, Beale, Hollands, Mison, Gonsalves, Honey, Gray, Brown, Cooper, Hanlan, Bailey SUBS : Shannon, Howard, De Kruijf