LEWES – 3 [Dicker. Davis. Green]
SUTTON UNITED – 0
The lack of seaside trips in the Ryman Premier helps make the average season rather less interesting. Ok, we have good pissup opportunities in St Albans and Bedford, but there’s nowt like getting trashed by the sea.
This makes the pre-season and FA Cup/Trophy draws all the more important. Well, sadly, even this years friendlies lacked a good seaside drink up. The best we could manage was Lewes, a few miles outside Brighton. So we got plotting.
A weekend on the beer in Brighton was decided, only to be broken (and no doubt spoiled!) by 90 minutes of less than enthralling action on the pitch. And so it was at some ungodly hour we all stumbled into East Croydon for an early train to Brighton and a hopefully fruitful hunt for B&B to rest our drunken heads later that night. Missing is Jules, who has failed to produce an web of lies adequate enough to get him out of delivering Kingston’s post this morning. He’ll be motoring on down a little later in the day.
We’re soon ambling around the streets of Brighton looking for a place to doss and just as it looks like it’s all going to end in failure with the rain starting to fall, we happen along a place that’ll put 5 of us up at a reasonable cost and for just the one night. Result!
Bags dumped, it’s off to find one of the extensive list of pubs Bob has assembled. We hit the Morning Star by the station as we wait for Jules to show his face. A couple of top beers later we head for Lewes, a couple more pubs and I s’pose a game of footy if we’re really lucky…….
More pints later and with our senses suitably dulled for a U’s match, it’s off to Lewes’ funnily named ‘Dripping Pan’. Elder member of the group, Belly recalls his last visit, nearly 20 years ago in a smeggy league cup. “It was just a big grass bank all the way round” he mentions.
We chuckle. Must’ve changed a bit by now Belly!
We wander into a ground that looks like one of those roman gladiatorial arenas, circa the 9th century BC, that you see in BBC history documentaries. The huge grass amphitheatre remains all the way around the ground and not a single hard step of terracing to be seen. Now, don’t get me wrong, it was very nice in a 1930’s kind of a way, the hills surrounding it made it very picturesque indeed. But it never ceases to amaze me how clubs like Lewes get safety certificates, when we seem to be threatened with failing our A grading if we forget to paint the crash barriers or something during the summer.
Meanwhile, the U’s team is somewhat, erm, ‘experimental’ with not one regular defender starting, no bugger on the subs bench (literally!) and Danny Bolt in midfield. Yes, you did read that right. Danny Bolt. Danny ‘not rated by our manager yet good enough to play in a poxy friendly cos we’re really fucking desperate’ Bolt.
Nice to see ya again Dan. Obviously didn’t work out at Canvey eh?
Marvellous, another ex-player that we couldn’t even afford even if we fucking wanted to! God I’m sooo looking forward to the season starting…………
The match itself is uninspiring, with neither side managing any kind of effort for a good half hour or so. Lewes, who are tipped to be amongst the front runners in Div1 South this year, look decidedly ordinary. They must be, failing to break down our reserve defence!
Danny Bolt (surprise fucking surprise!) has the U’s best effort, exchanging passes with Matt Gray just inside the box, before turning and sending a lovely chip goalwards. Unfortunately the ‘keeper reacts and does well to claw the ball over the bar for a corner.
A dull first half comes to life late on, with the home side finally breaking through not once but twice in the final five minutes or so.
First, the defence backs off leaving Dicker in acres of space and he has time to recieve a pass before arrowing a screamer low into Dunn’s left hand corner. Worse follows right on half time when the defence again is caught flat footed and a simple pass picks out Davis who hooks the ball over a stranded Dunn and into the far corner for 2-0.
We hit the food bar for a very large sausage in a french stick and munch our way round to the other end of the Circus Lewesus Maximus. All thats missing are some christians and some hungry Lions to entertain us. Actually, the way we’re going, I’d suggest our lot for the part of the Christians….
The second half is little better for the U’s. With sporadic attacks amidst almost constant Lewes possession. The hard working Matt Hanlan has the best chance for Sutton midway through the half, hooking a shot on the turn just over the bar.
Meanwhile, at the other end, Tommy Dunn is once again upholding the recent Sutton tradition of the ‘keeper managing to hold off most of the opposition on his own! On no fewer than 6 occassions he pulls off blocks in 1 on 1 situations.
But with around 10 minutes to go, he’s finally overrun. But not before he’s stopped another 1 on 1, sadly this time there’s a Lewes player well placed to pick up the loose ball and tuck it into the far corner. Even then Tom gets a paw on it!
The final few minutes are played out and we amble off pubwards somewhat miffed at just how kharzi our pre-season is becoming. Dreading the season proper we search for a watering hole to partake in a couple of the local brew. As we walk up the hill into the town, we notice Jules white t-shirt has gained some lovely dark stripes all down the back from where he leant lazily against a metal fence in the 1st half. Couple this with several strangely placed beer stains (well, at least we hope they were beer!) he’s not a happy bunny. Especially as thats the only shirt he’s brought!! Still chuckling, we hit the Brewers Arms and have 2 beers whilst awaiting the monsoon that has suddenly started outside to clear.
Then it’s back to Brighton, a quick shower and squirt or ‘Lynx’ and it’s out to drink ourselves stupid. But not before Jules finds the only shop still open on the walk back to the digs and it sells cheapo t-shirts! So for the princely sum of 1.99, Jules procures a new white t-shirt for the night out, claiming he’ll “take it back in the morning and tell ‘em it doesn’t fit!”. Tight arse!
A little later, Chalmers own choice of shirt causes much amusement for it’s somewhat ‘bright’ colour and the fact that similar ones will no doubt be worn by members of the somewhat less-heterosexual-than-us residents of this fair town.
A largely hot & sweaty night out follows, with many beers sunk in the local Hobgoblin, listening to a covers band before the slightly posher dressed Bell & Chalmers head off our for some after hours action whilst we hit the nearest kebab place for a terrible burger.
This is going to hurt in the morning…
TEAM : Dunn, Bailey, Dray, Moger, Beale, Honey, Bolt, Hewitt, Gray, Hanlan, Shannon