RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Watson 29]
HAMPTON & RICHMOND BOROUGH – 0
So, here it is at last. The opening day of the season. Not exactly a day we’ve been waiting for with baited breath if we’re honest!
But then again, we’re glad that we’ve been paired with Hampton at home rather than Grays/Canvey/Aldershot away. No offence to the Beavers of course.
A baking hot day meant that a fierce, fast paced match was almost certainly not going to grace GGL today and as such mean that yours truly headed to the bus stop in my shorts and with my sunnies on. But whilst waiting, Mr Chalmers calls and as he’s been eyeing up a new motor to replace his rather ill old one, he’s passing by and offers a lift. Being a lazy sod, I accept and a few minutes later, his whining Ford Escort pulls up and we’re off to the Hood for the customary pre-match drinkypoos.
Coming through Sutton, we stop at a set of lights on the back of the 1 way system. The lights change, we go to pull away and the car decides that this is the ideal moment to expire. Jumping out of gear we slam to a halt and the bloke behind us piles in for good measure. A great start to the afternoon!
Thnakfully there’s no damage and then for the second time in my life, I end up pushing a fucked Chalmersmobile onto a main road in the vacinity of Sutton. Except this one one has a shot gearbox and a soon to be burned out clutch as Chalmers tries revving the bollocks off it as he attempts to at least find neutral. I swear under my breath, never, ever again will I accept a lift from this man unless he’s driving nothing less than a brand new motor straight off the forecourt! I’ll take the bus next time if thats ok with you Mr Chalmers.
So, now completely hot and sweaty, we finally hit the Hood and neck an ice cold bottle of beer before ambling on down to the ground. Chalmers at this point leaves us as a hurried phone call has arranged to get his crate….err…..knackered car shifted before some nice traffice warden slaps a 140 quid tow away notice on it for abandoning it on a double yellow line. On a busy one way system. On a saturday. We’ll see you in the pub after then PC!
Once in the ground, Bob has a brainstorm and remembers that we were to sort out kit sponsorship today. So we nip round to see TC in the Club shop and hand over our hard earned. Check out the front page to find out who ol’ Taz bagged.
Our line up is much as expected, except for the absence of Matt Gray, who is apparently with the ressies today. Up front with Watson, is Matt Fowler. A choice that puzzles us somewhat as he’s still done very very little to show exactly WHY he deserves a starting berth when young Mr Gray, who spent much of last season out on the right managed as many goals. Ho hum…
So, we stand there, sweating. And watch the 2002/2003 campaign get underway.
Boy is this gonna hurt.
The visitors, having been in a similar position to us in the summer (IE- No frigging players!) settle better and have the majority of the possession, but wihtout creating too much at the sharp end of things. The U’s meanwhile seem unable to really string any serious pressure together, with the Watson/Fowler combination failing to spark up front.
A decent through ball presents ex-Scummer, Dean Thomas with a chance after 15 minutes or so, but having made himself some space away from his marker, he ‘Watsons’ his effort somewhat embarrassingly miles wide and high of the target. No doubt someone we’ll be picking up on loan around Crimbo!
Another long range effort from the Hampton No8, has Tommy leaping anxiously, but the ball ends up again flying well clear of his goal. The U’s only real opportunity is of course created by Danny Bolt who works a neat 1-2 on the edge of the box and his pass from the byeline is cut out by Iga in the Beavers goal with both Watson and Fowler lurking. Honey and Corbett are taking no prisoners in the midfield, tackling like bastards, which the softie ex-K’s wuss, Billy Mead can’t take and he’s subbed with a poorly woorly ankle. Awwww, diddums. Hoopy twat.
It’s somewhat against the run of play then, that the U’s take the lead after about half an hour. A free-kick is won just in from the byeline, out by the far post. Of course, Mr Bolt steps up to take it and whips it to the near post where Lewis Gonsalves stops to nod the ball into the deck and Mark Watson pops up to prod the ball past a slightly wrong footed Iga. Lovely jubly. That’ll do for starters!
Scoring the goal does give the lads a bit of a boost and we have our best spell of the match. But sadly without creating too much. A couple more free-kicks and several corners failing to have much effect on the visitors defence.
So we end the first 45 minutes of our new season 1up. Which is unusual for us.
The second half starts brightly for Sutton when an early break puts Bolt free out on the right and he whips in a cross for Mark Watson, but his diving header is very well smothered by Iga. The visitors steadily come back into things as the half wears on and one big looping header following a corner has to be bundled over the bar by Dunn.
But it’s Iga who’s slightly the busier ‘keeper with Danny Hodges heading just wide from a Bolt corner from the left and Watson looping a header over the stranded ‘keeper and also, unfortunately, his crossbar from a Bolt free-kick on the right.
As the game wears on, it’s probably Hampton who create the most pressure, but sadly, their frontline is as untested as ours and despite some half decent approach play, they fail miserably to manage any real chances on goal.
So despite some nervy last few moments, the lads hang on for a hard earned opening 3 points. Which’ll be important as we’re off to Grays on tuesday and they’ve spent squillions on their team (but not the ground we fear!), so we’re in for a rough night!
Off we toddle to the Hood to cool off with a couple more cold ones, then it’s off to the Wetherspoons for a night of not so cold ones. Chalmers shows up around 8 to join the festivities resplendent in a t-shirt bearing the word ‘idiot’ on the front.
No comment Paul, no comment…
MAN OF THE MATCH – Danny Hodges. Very solid. Didnt miss a tackle all day.
ENTERTAINMENT – 4. Not a great game. The heat didn’t help. But a wins a win!
TEAM : Dunn, Hodges, Palmer, Hollands, Beale, Gonsalves, Honey, Corbett, Bolt, Watson, Fowler.
SUBS : Bailey, Hanlan, Shannon