RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
HITCHIN TOWN – 2 [Fontenelle 36. Ayres 48]
SUTTON UNITED – 0
Ah, Hitchin. The place where our season began last year. With our first win some 12 games in, towards the end of September. Thankfully, this season has started a tad more pleasingly with the U’s suffering only 2 defeats so far and occupying the dizzy heights of the top 6. But with the lads having had 2 weeks off following the Hayes match, would they be able to keep the momentum going against a side on a decent run of form?
As usual, there’s an early meet and I find Bob in the queue for tickets at Kings Cross. Due to the amount of people heading out of this part of London, we end up engaging in some unplanned and unwanted exercise, having to leg it to catch our train.
We amble into our now usual Hitchin drinking hole, The Sunrunner, shortly after opening time and get stuck into the usual range of beer. Jules wanders in about half an hour later and starts on catching us up .Chalmers decides not to make the trip having got pissed the night before and having to work today. Tart! A few jars and a top bit of grub later and we’re staggering up the hill towards the ground.
Now, another thing about Hitchin is their match day proggy. Now there’s nothing particularly wrong with it. Well, at least not content wise anyway. It’s the size you see. It’s bloody huge.
Most proggy’s at this level are about the same size. They fit nicely into a back pocket or inside your jacket. And when you store them, they sit perfectly on your average shelf. Not Hitchin’s. It really should come with it’s own carrier bag or something. Just to emphasise my point, we find Gareth just inside the turnstile, with a copy of said proggy protruding from his coat’s inside pocket and sticking up his left nostril.
The Sutton line up is again tweaked slightly, with Beale reverting to the bench and being replaced by Timothy. Ottley is also replaced by Brett.
With the match underway, very little happens with neither side really producing anything of any note. The referree although produces 2 yellow cards for Hitchin players for two very innocuous challenges. The home side, though, do have slightly the better of posession. Although around 20 minutes in, the U’s have the best chance of the half. A decent ball from midfield picks out Matt Folwer, who’s peeled off his marker at the back post. He takes the ball under control and slips it past the ‘keeper, only to see it roll agonisingly wide of the far post.
Hitchin strike back shortly after and have a similar effort to our own find it’s way past Pape’s far post. But with a little under 10 minutes to half time, the home side edge ahead. Fontenelle recieves the ball out on the U’s left. He runs at the Sutton defence, skips the challenge of Hollands before barging his way past Gonsalves and firing beyond the dive of Pape and inside the far post. On the one hand, a brave run. On the other hand, a pony bit of defending.
The U’s respond and within a couple of minutes a ball from midfield opens up the Canaries defence. Around 30 yards out, Watson gets in front of his man, claims the ball and takes a stride towards goal before he appears to be bundled to the ground. In true Ryman tradition, the ref has seen fuck all despite having a clear view of the incident and being no more than 10 yards away.
But with half time almost upon us, Watson is involved again. An attack is thwarted on the edge of the box, but the ball is returned and picks out Watson. the U’s forward takes a touch before appearing to be tripped by a grounded defender. The ref sees this one and awards a penalty. Like I said, cheers mate! Jules isn’t impressed. “That wasn’t a penalty” he announces “If there’s any justice we’ll miss it……”
Oh bollocks. Did he really just say that?
The Hitchin players protests ends up in a booking for the most vocal. Danny Bolt steps up and fires a particularly weak effort to the ‘keepers right. He has the relatively easy task of smothering the ball. Oh arse……..here we go.
Little else occurs and Sutton go down the tunnel 1-0 down.
We wander round for our half time cuppa and a burger, quietly hoping a half time bollocking will raise a response along the lines of the Hayes match.
Sadly not. Within moments of the restart, Dave Timothy is caught miles out of position and a cross from the byeline on the right is cleared with a little difficulty. It doesn’t matter, as within the next couple of minutes three more crosses come in from the same position. The third of these, a low effort across the box, picks out Ayres at he back post and he slides in to put Hitchin 2-0 up. Quite what the hell a big bastard centre back like him is doing there in the first place is beyond me…
The goal kills the game in terms of any kind of open exciting play and the U’s huff and puff away, but produce very very little where it matters. The home side have a few moments, but fail to really test Pape any further.
The second half is only really noteable for the somewhat swift withdrawal of Danny Bolt. Who lingers on the touchline in front of the U’s bench for a good couple of minutes before being replaced with Paul Honey. All I can say is, I hope it’s an injury. And if it is, that it’s not serious.
The U’s shuffle things around a little and introduce Matt Gray for Graham Brett. And the young striker proceeds to cause more problems in his 20 minute appearance than most of the team put together. The best of which being a 65yard run during which he beats 3 men.
It’s from the lively Gray that the only real chance of the half comes for the U’s with a couple of minutes left. His pinpoint corssfield ball finds Timothy out on the left. He cuts inside the defender and hits a sho that forcxes the ‘keeper in to a diving save. But ultimately, thats about the sum of our efforts.
We grab some results before heading back to the pub for a fair few more beers and then home via the head of Steam in Euston for a change.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Nick Bailey. Probably about the best one out there.
ENTERTAINMENT : 4. A pretty dour match.
TEAM : Pape, Brett, Palmer, Gonsalves, Timothy, Hollands, Bailey, Corbett, Bolt, Watson, Fowler
SUBS : Honey, Gray, Beale