RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
BILLERICAY TOWN – 2 [Essandoh 3. Graham 5]
SUTTON UNITED – 0
You’re a Ryman League manager. Your mainly young team has made a promising start to the season and you’re looking to improve the side. What do you do?
You replace the excellent 21 year old goalkeeper with a slightly podgy, grey haired and rather old geezer of course! Genius! It’s so simple! Why didn’t we think of that?
I’d now like to take this opportunity to welcome Andy Pape back to GGL. No offence Papey, but I sincerely hope you’re keeping that spot warm for young Tom.
Going into today’s encounter, the Essex boys are experiencing their usual flying start to a Ryman League season. And all this without the efforts of a certian Mr Joe Baker.
Bloody hell, we could be in real trouble here.
The usual early meet in town is arranged and I join Bob in the familiar surroundings of the Liverpool Street Wetherspoons. Rather pleasingly, they have 3 guest beers on. Lovely! As I arrive, Bob is taking a phone call from Chalmers. He’s just woken up! Tart! But there’s no excuses this week and he promises to follow on a bit later.
A couple of beers later and it’s off to sunny Billericay (a town apparently and not a village as stated elsewhere on the site!) where we plant ourselves in the Blue Boar for a few more pre-match ‘halves’ and some grub. Chalmers finally wanders in shortly before 2 and unsurprisingly orders himself some scoff.
The usual late dash for the ground once again sees us miss out on a proggy and there follows a search to find who’s nabbed up the dozen or so copies for the club shop..
The U’s line up shows it’s first changes of the season, with new signing Andy Pape replacing Tom Dunn between the sticks and Matt Hanlan comes in for the injured Matt Fowler.
Sadly, Mr Pape’s pre-match application of Grecian2000 has hardly dried when his first action back in a U’s shirt is to pick the ball out of the net.
With barely a couple of minutes on the clock, a Billericay attack down our left leaves Hollands trailing and the cross is met by the head of Roy Essandoh, who powers his header past the dive of Pape. And yes, that is the same Roy Essandoh who was the big FA Cup hero a couple of seasons back.
Before the U’s have had chance to retaliate, Danny Hodges makes a rare cock up and concedes possession to Richard Graham, who cuts infield and lamps a rising 25 yard drive beyond another deperate Pape dive and in off the underside of the bar.
Fucking marvellous start that is lads. 5 minutes played and we’re already 2-0 down.
Shortly after we’re amused to hear that the Jocks are 2-0 down to the Faroe Islands just as quickly!
For the next 15 minutes or so, the home side look to run riot and only a good save by Pape from another long range effort seems to finally settle us down. Steadily, the U’s start to gain more possession of the ball and start to compete a little better. But sadly fail to make much impression in the final third.
Suttons best opportunity comes with around 10 mintues of the 1st half remaining. Mark Watson is felled on the edge of the box. Ah ha! Mr Bolt, please do the honours if you please.
DB thumps in another of those low free-kicks of his, but this one lacks the zip we normally expect and the home ‘keeper, Jerome John gets down to save.
The rest of the half is pretty dull with only another save from Pape denying Essandoh a second goal and Corbett and Graham swop bookings for raised arm incidents.
With no footy results to be got, we decide to wander round and enjoy a cup of watery tea. Mmm, lovely.
The second half is pretty much devoid of goal mouth action, with the home side having one effort nodded off the line by Gonsalves following a corner. One of the U’s best chances fall to Gonsalves who has a volley deflected over the bar for a corner.
Despite having a lot of possession and winning loads of corners, the U’s fail to break down the solid looking ‘Ricay defence.
Then with time running out, the afternoon is summed up for Sutton as they miss their best chance of the match. Matt Gray, on as sub swings a ball in from the right and Danny Hodges, who’s pushed upfield late in the game, heads the ball back across goal from the back post. Mark Watson fails to make serious contact and Nick Baileys desperate lunge only succeeds in bringing the ball and his knee in to contact with the outside of the post.
So the U’s suffer their second defeat of the season and once again, it’s a somewhat disappointing loss.
Mildly disappointed, we head into the bar to catch the second half of the England – Portugal match. Most of which we spend trying to look through the heads of 2 blokes who are stood right in our field of view, talking and completely ignoring the match. Tossers.
It’s then back to Sutton via the Coach and Horses pub in town and a few more beers in the Spoons. If nothing else, a good few pints always rescues the situation.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Lewis Gonsalves. Solid.
ENTERTAINMENT : 5. A rather disappointing match.
TEAM : Pape, Hodges, Palmer, Hollands, Beale, Gonsalves, Honey, Corbett, Bolt, Watson, Hanlan.
SUBS : Gray, Shannon, Bailey, Dunn