RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
SUTTON UNITED – 3 [Fowler 68.81. Bolt p45]
CHESHAM UNITED – 2 [Dogbe 32. Hunterp44]
With Saturday’s defeat at Billericay signalling one of the U’s least effective performances of the season, there was a hope that the lads would bounce back in similar fashion to the loss at Bedford, with Harrow getting a good 3-0 slap 2 days later.
I wander into the Hood and find Oscar just getting settled in the beer garden. Being the sociable fellow I am, decide it would be rude to refuse his offer of a beer. Bob rolls in shortly after and Chalmers wanders in at about 10 past 7 and necks a pint that barely touches the sides.
We then get a ride in Chalmers nice shiny new car (cooo!) and he nicks his usual parking spot right outside the GGL turnstiles. Which is handy.
The U’s have kept the aged Andy Pape in goal, but Fowler is back from injury. The rest of the lineup remains unchanged.
Sutton have the better of the early exchanges with Danny Bolt once more at the centre of things. The first real chance comes from a neat exchange of passes in midfield before Bolty plays a wonderful reverse pass in to Mark Watson on his right. Watso spins off his marker and with more time available than he thinks, elects to hit the chance first time rather than take a touch and pick his spot. The shot zips across goal and just wide of the far post.
The visitors hit back and just a few minutes later, a good move down the Sutton left ends with a cross picking out a diving Chesham forward at the back post. He does extremely well to make contact let alone get it on target and can only watch as his effort pings back off the base of the upright with Pape a little slow in getting down.
Both sides play attractive, fast paced footy that, for once, keeps us interested in the match! With around 15 minutes played, Danny Bolt (who else?) comes closest to breaking the deadlock. A foul in a fairly central position, some 30 yards out has the U’s number 7 standing over it, with Scott Corbett also in attendance.
With the amazing strike against Ford still fresh in the memory “Surely he’s not going to have another go from there??” we wonder.
Of course he will!
Corbett lays the ball off from the free-kick and Bolty lets fly with that left boot of his. Standing right behind the goal, we can see the flight of the ball all the way in as it arrows towards the top corner. But Delroy Preddie in the Chesham goal flings himself full stretch and just gets enough of a touch on the ball to make sure it clears the bar at the expense of a corner. We all chuckle at another amazing bit of long range firepower from Mr Bolt.
Better watch yourself there DB old son, otherwise you might find yourself snapped up by the MOD to fire heavy ordnance in the general direction of Baghdad in the near future! Who needs the Yanks and all that laser guided bollocks when this boy is on the job?
The U’s manage a couple of further forays forwards, but slowly drift out of proceedings and it’s Chesham’s young side who start to make most of the running. The difference being they have greater success in playing the balls into their front two and making them stick.
Despite quite a lot of possession, the visitors create few chances. Until around the half hour mark. The U’s defence fail to close down on the edge of their 18 yard box and Steve Dogbe turns to flight a looping effort over the head of an apparently out of position Andy Pape and into the back of the net. Oh aaarse.
The goal gives the visitors even more of a boost and they set about trying to increase their lead with what proves to be their most dangerous spell of the match.
Paul Honey is booked for a rather silly foul just inside the U’s half and the free-kick is floated into the Sutton box. A Chesham head wins the ball and with Pape seemingly commited, all a lurking forward has to do is tuck the ball into the net. But amazingly, he somehow manages to hit the prosrate form of Mr Pape and the ball runs out for a corner. Christ, we know ol’ Papey’s not that thin around the waist anymore, but god, to miss from 2 yards?? Crazy!
The visitors are camped in the Sutton half, but as the break looms, it appears we’ve got away with the majority of it and will only have a 1 goal defecit to overturn in the second half.
DOH! Silly us! We forgot all about the now mandatory, nay poxy, goal right on half time.
Paul Honey completes a disappointing half by tussling with a Chesham forward from around 25 yards out from goal and only deciding to make a challenge when the bloke has got to the byeline. Sadly, he fails to win the ball and the ref has little option but to point to the spot.
Ooops. Bit of a bugger that.
Hunter makes no mistake from the spot, sending Pape the wrong way and the U’s down the tunnel with a 2-0 scoreline to sort out.
Again, with little footy of interest on tonight, we head for Roses and a nice half time cuppa. During which we all hope JR is….ahem……having ‘words’ with the lads.
The second half shows the team are definately trying, but very little is happening up front. And apart from Mark Watson narrowly missing out on a Danny Bolt cross, Sutton have little to show for their efforts.
So with around half an hour to go, JR does the unthinkable. He makes a substitution! But not just the one. Oh no! He makes 2! AT THE SAME TIME! With more than 10 minutes left on the clock!!
Bloody hell. We are serious about getting back into this!
Nick Bailey replaces Paul Honey and Dave Timothy takes Darren Beale’s spot on the right. The changes have an almost immediate effect. Whereas Beale had been mainly concentrating on his defensive duties, Dave Timothy is a little more attacking minded. And when you combine his tricky running with the guile of Mr Bolt, ‘shit’ will most defiantely happen!
The combination of these two wins Bolty 2 or 3 free kicks on the edge of the area, but unfortunately he seems to have got too used to lamping ‘em in from 30-odd yards as all the efforts end up cannoning back off the not-quite-10-yards-back-as-always wall. One laughable bit of refereeing sees the man in the middle struggle for a good two minutes to get the Chesham wall the required distance back before giving up and rolling the ball back a yard instead! You just couldn’t make it up.
In the end, the tremendous pressure the U’s are exerting on the visitors defence finally gets it’s reward. Another free-kick is blocked, but possession is retained. The ball finds Danny Bolt and he manages to float a cracking ball over the heads of the retreating defence to pick out Matt Fowler at the back post. The young forward lunges at the ball as it drops in front of him, sending a low volley beyond the dive of Preddie and inside the far post. Already the heads of the Chesham defence are dropping and the GGL faithful start to urge the lads forwards in search of an equaliser.
We only have to wait about 5 minutes or so, when the busy Nick Bailey collects a loose ball following yet another free-kick. He turns in the box and goes for goal, only to be somewhat clumsily bundled over in the box. That I believe to be a penalty kick Mr Referee bloke?
Despite the strong and rather misguided protests of the Chesham defenders, the ref sticks by his guns and points to the spot.
Bolty picks up the ball and powers it to Preddie’s right to pull the scores level. Preddie then for some reason races to the corner of his box to abuse the linesman on the near side. Er, thats our job you twat. Now kindly piss off. After the ref has given you that nice yellow card for dissent of course!
The visitors defending becomes more desperate as the minutes tick by and the U’s onslaught continues. Bailey and Corbett are simply destroying any Chesham attack that even tries to gather momentum and immediately either driving straight at the heart of the weary defence, or spraying balls into dangerous positions for team mates to keep the pressure on. Another Bolt cross from the right beats everyone but Mark Watson and his downward header beats Preddie, but not the back post and the ball bounces out of play off the upright.
Worried that, with time running out, we wouldn’t quite manage to sneak a winner, we on the terraces decide to play our joker. The oldest trump card known to footyfankind.
Someone goes for a piss.
Chalmers in the nominated man, mainly because he’s the only one who actually requires the bog. So, bravely sacrificing the chance of seeing a late winning goal, off he goes to the gents.
C’mon lads, that’s your cue!
Just as Chalmers is probably mid-stream in the gents. Dave Timothy gains possession on the near touchline, he stays strong and holds off the attentions of the defender before rolling the ball back up the touchline to the supporting Danny Bolt. With his back to goal, he swivels and delivers one of those evil bastard crosses to the heart of the Chesham box….
….right onto the head of Matt Fowler, who’s made a salmon like leap at the near post. There’s nothing that Preddie can do, but make a token dive as the young striker powers his header into the net and we go mental. The roar from the crowd is the loudest heard at GGL in ages.
Chalmers soon joins the celebrations, bombing out of the lavs behind us and having manged to avoid making any embarrassing wet patches on his jeans.
No one shakes his hand or high fives him though. We’re not daft you know.
The goal completely destroys any resistance left in the visitors defence and the U’s surge forwards, looking to seal the 3 points. A good run from Watson ends with a fierce effort being blocked in the area and a Danny Bolt ‘Cheeky bastard special’ 30 yard chip just drifting wide of the grateful Preddie’s far post. But the best chance of all falls to mark Watson. Matt Fowler collects a clearance after a rare Chesham attack breaks down and surges into the visitors half. Drawing out the only remaining defender, he cheekily flicks the ball past him with his heel and into the path of Watson. He holds off a chasing defender and blasts his shot past the ‘keeper but also just past the post.
Then, after several nervy minutes of injury time, during which the ref awards a couple of piss poor free-kicks on the edge of our box, we claim the 3 points and keep our 100% home record that the second half performance deserved.
Somewhat happier than we had been 3/4 of an hour earlier, we head down to the Hood for a celebratory drink or two.
Well deserved methinks.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Matt Fowler. Bolt was better, but Matty took both his goals superbly.
ENTERTAINMENT : 9. Some really nice footy and the second half was outstanding.
TEAM : Pape, Hodges, Palmer, Hollands, Beale, Gonsalves, Honey, Corbett, Bolt, Watson, Fowler.
SUBS : Gray, Hanlan, Bailey, Dunn