RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
SUTTON UNITED – 3 [Fowler 63. Hodges 69. Watson 77]
HARROW BOROUGH – 0
After the somewhat annoying end to Saturday’s encounter, it was important for the U’s to bounce back this bank holiday Monday with a home fixture against early relegation favourites, Harrow Borough.
Piling into the Robin Hood for 2pm, I find Mr Chalmers (on time for a change, shock!) and Oscar enjoying a pint. Bob bundles in a few minutes later. We natter about the after affects of saturday and what the fact we still can’t believe what a total c&^* the ref was.
Us? Bitter?? Never….
Once more on arrival at the home of our beloved U’s we find the side is once more unchanged. We’re certain it must be some sort of record!
In the visitors line up is one Mr Andy Pape. A (very!) old Sutton crowd….ahem….. ‘favourite’ from years and years past, but who was last seen ironically winning a Championship medal here back in 1998. Even then we found it almost impossible to abuse the old git!
Well, at least giving old Papey some stick will keep us amused if nothing else.
The first half is a somewhat scrappy affair, with the visitors determined to frustrate and this they manage, with the ref constantly blowing up for infringements by both sides. The Harrow No5, Phil Gridelet (remember him?) looks to be a bit carthorsey and makes a few…..er….robust challenges to back up our assumptions! How he escapes a yellow card in the opening 20 minutes or so is quite some feat.
The U’s havea lot of possession in the final third, not to mention numerous corners and free-kicks, but we seriously fail to make any of them count. Danny Bolt shines in one moment of magic midway through the half. Getting the ball out on the right, he drifts past one defender before leaving 2 more for dead with a lovely drop of the shoulder and gets to the byeline, before a final challenge denies him the chance to get a cross in.
Harrow have a couple of moments in front of goal. The best of which is a 25 yard effort that Dunn fails to gather at the first attempt but thankfully smothers at the second go with a Harrow attacker lurking.
The only real sight of goal we get is soon after. Another Bolt ball from the right is headed on by Watson and Fowler dives in to challenge Pape. He fumbles and the ball is eventually put out of play for a goal-kick. At this point, I decide old Andy has had too quiet an afternoon…
“That’s the quickest you’ve moved since about 1979 Papey!” I holler. He briefly looks over his shoulder with a smile on his old face. “And you were about 40 then as well!” I add.
The old geezer, still with a smile on his face, shakes his head and takes his goal kick.
So half time and we’re wondering if we’ll manage to break this lot down. I bloody well hope so.
The second 45 starts in a similar vein to the first. Harrow trying to defend in numbers and break up our build up as quickly as possible. It’s largely successful with only again, a couple of semi-sights of goal for our forwards. Then with just over an hour played, the breakthrough comes out of the blue.
A ball out of defence is headed on by Watson some 30 odd yards out. Matt Fowler nips in behind the defence, latches on and goes for goal. Just inside the box, he lets fly and beats Pape with a crisp 15 yard drive into the bottom corner. YEEESSS! At bloody last!
It doesn’t go un-noticed amongst us that Mr Fowler has now equalled his entire haul for last season in 4 games.
The goal opens the game up and the U’s are now pretty much in charge of affairs. Watson and Fowler are causing more problems with their movement and Bolty is roaming around behind them looking for a gap to exploit.
Mr Gridelet earns himself a booking not long after for a rather naughty ‘challenge’ around the neck on Fowler and he’s probably rather lucky to stay on the park. Moments later and a fee-kick is won out on the far touchline. A bit of argy bargy commences in the box, involving Gridelet and the ref wags his finger. Once it’s all settled down, Corbett gives Bolt a break from set piece duty and swings an effort into the near post, right onto Danny Hodges bonce and he heads past a stranded Pape to put the U’s 2-0 up. Woo Hoo!
Harrow rally briefly and one free-kick from the edge of the area proves worrying, but largely the Sutton defence holds firm. Then with the game entering it’s last few minutes, the U’s seal the points with a great flowing move.
Danny Bolt turns in midfield and loses his man, looking up he finds Matt Fowler with an inch perfect pass down the far touchline. Fowler cuts infield and with the visitors defence struggling, he sweeps the ball across the edge of the area for Mark Watson to steam in and rifle a low half volley past Pape from 20 yards. Marvellous stuff!
The U’s keep playing and look for more goals. Matt Fowler having 2 rather good chances having been played in to the box, he first cuts in and fires an effort right at the ‘keeper and then in a similar position he pulls his shot just too high. But it doesn’t really matter in the end and the final whistle is greeted with a loud happy cheer from the GGL faithful and the lads trot off, job done.
Then it’s back to the Hood for us to get some results and partake in a couple of celebratory ales, talk bollocks and prepare for next weeks trip to sunny Canvey.
Ooooh, can’t wait.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Matt Fowler. 2 goals in 2 games, he’s improving!!!
ENTERTAINMENT – 7. Not amazing, butsolid enough and worked hard to break the oppo down.
TEAM : Dunn, Hodges, Palmer, Hollands, Beale, Gonsalves, Honey, Corbett, Bolt, Watson, Fowler.
SUBS : Bailey, Hanlan, Gray