RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION – 31/8/2002
CANVEY ISLAND – 1 [Duffy 18]
SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Bolt 11]
With Sutton’s surprisingly decent start to the season still baffling us just a tadge, we headed to Canvey optimistic of nicking something.
Which is a stark contrast to last year when we travelled to the middle of the Thames estuary at the tail end of last season, Canvey were flying high and gunning for the title, whilst the U’s were stumbling around looking for form. Of any kind! But expecting a spanking, the lads put on their best performance of the year and got a deserved 1-1 draw. Maybe being a bit unlucky not to pinch a somewhat shock win.
Still knackered from the exertions of a post-work Friday drink up, I amble out of Farringdon station and head for the Wetherspoons on the corner. The time is 11.30
For the first time in donkeys, I’m the first to arrive at a pre-match meet. But as I sit down to face my first beverage of the day, I spy Oscar dodging traffic outside and he’s soon parked himself as we wait for Bob and Belly to show up. No Chalmers again this week. His excuse? That he’s got to buy a new car.
Ah, so I guess the small shunt I experienced in his old one on the opening day has proved terminal then?
The boys finally arrive and with further refreshment taken on board we’re off to Fenchurch Street and the footy. But not before Oscar has hit the KFC opposite and bagged a ‘bargain bucket’ for us to scoff on the platform. Mmmm, chicken…
The usual Canvey ritual of getting out at Benfleet and grabbing a cab is followed and we’re off to Park Lane through the sunny streets of this part of offshore Essex. We negotiate the turnstiles at the ground having been soundly mugged of 9 quid each. Nine bloody quid! This lot make K’s seem positively cheap in comparison.
The U’s side is much as it has been so far, with only Nick Bailey dropping off the bench for Ben Shannon.
Things start unsteadily with Dunn having to save at the feet of a forward within a minute of the start, but Sutton soon find their feet and having got into the game, have the first real chance. Some good persistent play wins a corner, which Danny Bolt duly swings into the box. Scott Corbett gets up highest at the back post, but his headed effort is just touched onto the underside of the bar by the ‘keeper and cleared from further danger. But despite this bit of bad fortune, the U’s keep going and about 3-4 minutes later, they once more expose the rather ropey Gulls defence.
A ball forwards, is received by Matt Fowler into his chest. He collects the ball and turns, hooking it into space behind the static defence. Danny Bolt races through onto the pass and with vain appeals of offside sounding behind him, he goes for goal and sweeps a low left foot effort into the far corner.
The home side hit back and go looking for an equaliser. But despite playing plenty of balls around the U’s 18 yard box, they’re failing to find a way through and Dunn has to deal with a couple of long range efforts hit straight at him. Then with 18 minutes on the clock, Canvey’s Chris Duffy gets the ball out on the U’s left touchline. He swings the ball in. From our viewpoint, it looks far too high and over hit, unfortunately our viewpoint proves to be crap as Tommy can only watch the ball dip over him and sneak in at the far post. Oh just typical, he’s been “Ronaldinho’d”
Marvellous. Once again, that fat, ugly, two faced tart, ‘Lady Luck’ has gobbed a big ol’ greenie in the collective Sutton United eye. Is it just me? Or has anyone else noticed the slight shortfall in spawny bastard-ness on our part over the last few years?
Why oh why do we never get any breaks like that?? Every year, we must concede 3-4 of those such stupid, ridiculous goals and what do we get in return??? A deflected goal in the last minute of a match when we’re already 3-0 down. If we’re lucky. It’s bollocks if you ask me.
The goal puts Sutton on the back foot slightly with Canvey now bouyed by their bit of good fortune. The U’s keep going and cause a few more nervy moments for the home defence, but most of the possession is held by the Gulls.
But half time arrives and the U’s go in level, and we wander around discussing the fact we’ve now conceded 3 goals this season and all are due to cockups or plain spawnyness!
We skip a visit to the bar as it looks a bit packed, so we head for the foody bar instead. Unfortunately, despite the hot dogs being rather nice, they’re served in a normal bun and not the french bread of previous visits. Shame.
The second half finds the U’s again in a spirited mood. But so are the Canvey forwards. The same, can’t be said of their defence, which still looks a bit suspect to say the least. Matt Fowler and Mark Watson cause problems, but again, it’s Danny Bolt almost doing the damage. Picking the ball up just over halfway, he advances deep into the Canvey half. with no challenge forthcoming, he looks up, sees the ‘keeper off his line and goes for goal. Lofting an effort off the outside of that trusty left boot the ball sails over the stranded ‘keeper and pings off the top off the crossbar and out for a goal kick.
Canvey meanwhile force 2 good saves from Dunn, tipping one looping header over his bar and palming away a fierce effort from his left hand side.
Sutton hit back and just after the hour, the somewhat carthorsey Canvey No6 needlessly bundles over Watson just inside the box. Thankfully, this particular ref is aware of the laws of the game (IE- A foul in the box being a penalty) and awards a spot kick. Woo hoo! Bolty’ll lash this in we say to ourselves.
Up steps Watson, who lets be honest hasn’t got a great record from the spot. Our confidence wanes a little and his erratic approach does little to lift us. He fails to get any decent contact on the ball and it bobbles goalwards, allowing Potter to get down and turn the effort around the post.
From the resulting corner, the ball finds it’s way to an unmarked Ryan Palmer at the back post. He controls and lashes a half volley against the near upright with the ‘keeper beaten.
AAARRRGGHHH!!! Not the bloody woodwork AGAIN!
The U’s keep going though and soon after, some good play between Bolt and Fowler puts Bolty free on the right. Faced with a defender, he calmly slides the ball into the path of Fowler, who rather than lash it into the gaping net, tries a funny flick thing instead. And the ball loops up and over the bar.
The U’s tempo dies a little in the last 15 minutes and Canvey set about trying to nick a somewhat undeserved winner. But some stout defending, combined with some erratic play and rather bad finishing conspire to make sure this doesn’t happen. And so we end up with a solitary point, when it should really have been all 3.
Mildly disappointed, we grab a cab and start the journey back to Farringdon for a pint or two, then back to Sutton and a few more bevvies in the Moon to finish off the night, with Chalmers showing his face and revealing he’s just blown 6 grand on a new motor.
Hmm, still not sure I want a lift though next time you offer mate.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Danny Bolt. Worked hard, scored and should have had another.
ENTERTAINMENT – 7. Both sides attacked aplenty. Should’ve won!
TEAM : Dunn, Hodges, Palmer, Hollands, Beale, Gonsalves, Honey, Corbett, Bolt, Watson, Fowler.
SUBS : Shannon, Hanlan, Gray