A Swift Return


Att: 310

HEYBRIDGE SWIFTS – 1 [Hunter 73]

SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Watson 24]

Match Reporter: Bob

What could be worse than playing Heybridge away midweek? That’s right having to go back to the sodding place 4 days later in the F.A. cup! Cheers guys.

Taz’s reaction to the draw was “Fuck that, I’m not going there again, I’ve got better things to do with my Saturday like… err… putting a curtain rail up”!

So with Taz sticking to his guns and not going, we brought in a sub in the form of Ian ‘I slap harder than a girl’ Bell. With Paul electing to work on Saturday morning, Morden was selected as the meeting place at around 10.30am.

Shortly after leaving home my phone rings and it’s a rather tied sounding ‘Belly’ with the line “I’m running a bit late, I’ll be leaving shortly”. A typical Saturday away trip then, one of the party late! Taz Belly finally makes an appearance at 10.55 and we make our way to Liverpool Street. (Cheeky sod! I’m always late?? What about bloody Chalmers??? – Taz)

After necking a pint in the Spoons we wonder around the corner to the White Hart to watch the fottie on Sky and await the appearance of Judith. As we were watching the footie, I notice some guys to our right trying to work out what the colours were that I was wearing (Amber and Chocolate). A few minutes later one of the guys goes to the Gents and on his way back tries to get a better view of my shirt. “I think its Boston,” he tells his mates (twat). Not satisfied with his assumption one of his mates asks us and Belly replies “Sutton Utd”. “Wow, I’ve been there a few times” one of the blokes replies.

On this Belly enquires “who are you lot then?” “Colchester” was the response. Quick as a flash Belly returns “Were you there when we beat you 4-3 in the cup”? The guys rapidly drunk up and left! Was it something we said? Guys come back! Guys.

A while later, after Judith had arrived and bought us another beer, we decided it was about time we made a move towards Heybridge. With train tickets bought (a waste of time and money, again!) we locate the correct platform and start walking up alongside the train looking for the ideal seats to occupy. “I wonder if we’ll see any K’s fans,” I ask, as this was the Clacton train. Moments later Belly cries “there’s one” pointing to a lone hooped shirt on the train. We’ll get on here then lads shall we!

After introducing ourselves to the K’s fan we sit down giggling and he soon decides to come over for a chat. He tells us that he has just returned from holiday and after a nightmare tube journey is running well late and will probably miss some of their match. “We are playing Clacton by the way,” he tells us “We should beat them”. Quick as a flash Judith replies, “Yeah, you should have beaten Brockenhurst!” This leads to more giggling and the saddened looking K’s fan soon returns to his seat.

Train journey complete we exit Witham station and jump into a cab just as he’s pulling up. “That was lucky” Judith offers, we all agree, and we’re off to Heybridge. As we’re driving up Scraley road towards the ground we notice a big claret & cream type vehicle with Epsom on the back turning into the ground. “That must be the players” Judith asks, “No it cant be, it’s a quarter to 3” I reply. On entering the car park we discover the coach is full of supporters. Fucking hell, a supporter’s coach at an away game, we haven’t seen that for a while and Taz has missed it. Sorry mate I didn’t have my camera with me, maybe you’ll see one next year!

Now in the ground, and with our pre-ordered programmes collected from Alison, we hit the food bar and hear the team line-ups. Sutton are as per programme which means only one change from Tuesday, Mark Watson returning from injury in place of Matt Hanlan up front.

The opening twenty minutes or so are very tense and played mainly in midfield. With the teams only playing each other four days ago it’s no surprise the game is tight with no real goalmouth action to speak of.

This changes though on twenty minutes when Bolty finds a gap in the defence and plays a beautiful ball to the on running Nick Bailey. He enters the penalty area on the left and continues his run to the by-line. The home keeper goes to his near post to try and cut the angle but this allows Bailey to square the ball across goal to Mark Watson who has the simplest job of tapping the ball into the unguarded net. Woohoo 1-0.

The next ten minutes are again even but Heybridge are starting to step up a bit looking for the equaliser. Paul Abrahams the Heybridge number 9 is a constant menace around the Sutton box with Ryan Palmer and Graham Brett (who looks a good acquisition John!) working hard at the back to keep him quiet. Andy Pape has a couple of easy saves to deal with and the ball is cleared up field.

On 33 minutes, a long ball forward is being chased by Matt Fowler down the right but a Heybridge defender looks to have the situation under control and all he has to do is let the ball run out of play for a goal kick by putting himself in the way of the ball in an obstructive manner. The doughnut fails to do this and instead, about a yard from the line, blatantly shoulder barges Fowler away, in full view of the referee, and thus concedes a free kick. It’s at this point the Heybridge number 11 (who I shall name ‘twat’ for now) decides to stick his nose in and tell the referee how to referee! Mr. Twat tells the ref., with a wagging finger, that you don’t give free kicks for that sort of offence, and never in the entire history of football has a free kick been given for it! Please, where do these people come from, if you foul a player, it’s a free kick, simple. Unfortunately the resulting free kick is crossed in low and is easily cleared by the home defence.

The half finishes with no further incidents with both defences clearing their lines well and both keepers have little to do. We go in happy 1-0 up knowing the 2nd half will be tough, as they will no doubt throw everything at it to get back in the game.

The usual half-time trip to the club house for fottie results finds the Hammers level with Chelsea at 1-1, but I was not surprised to hear that Hasselbaink had broken his duck and scored which is what I had predicted a few days ago… bugger!

The second half starts with Heybridge making a change to their team and immediately looking to attack Pape’s goal. We weather the early storm and on 49 minutes a ball is hoofed forward down the middle for Fowler to chase. With the Heybridge defence a bit thin on the ground, the keeper decides to help them out by leaving his area and he tries to head the ball clear. The keeper, a defender and Fowler all go for the ball in the air but unfortunately Fowler uses his foot while the other two players use their heads! There seems to be minimal contact from Fowler but the keeper makes the most of it by doing an impression of some road-kill, lying flat out on his front not moving. Now I know keepers are protected by if they leave their areas and go into no-mans land then I think tough shit pal, it is a contact sport after all. I might be wrong but I saw little contact but it still took a good 3 minutes to scrape the road-kill up and sponge him down.

The 2nd half continues and Suttons football has become very Ariel as we try to keep Heybridge out. After some desperate defending, the breakthrough comes on 73 minutes. Abrahams delivers a cross from the left and after being partially cleared, the ball is met on the edge of the box by Hunter who with a half volley scores past the stranded Pape. Knackers!

From this point on there looks like there will be only one winner but the lads battle hard and the ball is once again kept on the floor with some nice keep ball by the U’s. The linesman on our left seems to have a problem with his flag arm because every time the U’s push forward someone is magically offside. The ref. doesn’t help either as his ‘thing’ with Watson continues from Bedford as every time Watso get the ball on the edge of the box, the ref. blows up for a free kick. When was that law brought in then?

Matt Gray replaces Matt Fowler on 83 minutes, due to some sort of muscle pull to his leg, and the U’s continue to play out the match now wishing to hear the full time whistle and gratefully accepting the replay. The last meaningful incident happened with a couple of minutes to go when Darren Beale, who was chasing a ball going back towards his own corner flag, was hacked down by a Heybridge attacker. With the Ref. blowing for a foul Beale jumped up and pushed the attacker in the chest. This resulted in everyone on the pitch (including the officials) running towards the far corner flag like a herd of stampeding wildebeest! With calm restored both players received yellow cards (which could quite easily have been red on another day) and the last few minutes played out peacefully.

With a draw achieved it means a 3rd meeting of the clubs (at home thank Christ!) on Tuesday evening.

Summing up, a bit of a dull game with the U’s battling hard and eventually gaining a deserved draw.

Seconds later I find out the Hammers won 3-2, Double Woohoo, our return cab is booked and we’re off back to London. After arriving back at Liverpool street to find the Spoons closed with head back to Sutton and our own Spoons to meet up with Dan and Jules for loads of beers and waffle, and a good night was had been all. Even the bouncer couldn’t be arsed when while trying to remove us from the no smoking section Jules explained “we’re CAMRA members, can’t you leave us alone” with his reply being “CAMRA, what’s that, oh sod it stay and finish your drinks!” Excellent!

Oh by the way, Taz’s curtain rail went up o.k! ! (Ok??? It’s a work of bloody art that is! – Taz)

M.O.M : Nick Bailey, pure class.

Entertainment :   5, a bit dull really.

Team: Pape, Beale, Hollands, Palmer, Brett, Bailey, Bolt, Corbett, Fowler, Watson, Gonsalves.  Subs: Honey, Gray, Timothy, Hanlan, Dunn.

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