Third Time Unlucky?

FA CUP 2nd QUALIFYING ROUND REPLAY

Att: 385



SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Fowler 29]

HEYBRIDGE SWIFTS – 2 [Rainford 40. Abrahams 78]

Having watched the U’s for some time now, I naturally would find it hard to walk away and stop watching ‘em. But recently, it’s becoming harder and harder to bear attending matches.

No, it’s not the standard of the footy. That’s been quite good this year. Nope, it’s not the standard or state of the stadia we have to visit.

And it’s certainly not the travelling! (Except for Heybridge away on a Tuesday night that is!)

It’s the standard of officiating. Or to put it more simply, the pitiful lack of any standards whatsoever.

Every week on SKY or on the back pages of the national rags, we’re treated to headlines informing us of a terrible bit of officiating. Every week we have to listen to Premiership fans moaning about how bad Andy D’Urso was again. Well, all I can say is, I reckon a few of these people, Journalists and fans, should be made to watch one or two Ryman Premier games and see the base level incompetence we have to put up with week in week out, then Messrs D’Urso, Ellary, Rennie etc would certainly have an easier time of it from all quarters.

Yes, in case you were wondering, the officials were piss poor once more.

Rolling into the Hood at the usual time, I catch Bob at the bar and get him to buy me a beer. Such a generous chap! Parking our arses in the garden, we’re soon joined by Col. Fuck me! It must be the FA Cup or something, all the woodworm are coming out!

A couple of bevvies later and it’s down to the ground, where Bob nicks the last proggy at the turnstile. Bastard! Another walk round to the club shop then…

The U’s line up for tonight is slightly changed. Mike Hollands makes way for Gonsalves to take his more customary position out on the left, with the centre 3 being Ottley, Palmer and Brett.

Sutton start brightly and play some good football in the opening minutes and an early chance falls to Nick Bailey following a good run, but the Swifts ‘keeper is alert and makes the save.

But the visitors are soon into their hard, bustling style and openings on goal all but dry up. The U’s continue to try and break Heybridge down and earn a fair few set pieces from free-kicks and corners, but few of them manage to cause any real problems.

But Sutton’s persistance pays off and experience a purple patch around 30 minutes in. A couple of crosses into the box have the Swifts defence stretched before a throw in on the right is whipped in across the box between the ‘keeper and his defence by Danny Bolt. Banks fails to cut out the ball and it finds it’s way just beyond the far post where Matt Fowler nips in and toes the ball over Banks and inside the near post. About bloody time!

Unfortunately the goal fails to spark the game and Heybridge just chase and work harder. Their efforts gradually force the U’s onto the back foot, with the spark of Bolt and Bailey in the midfield being snuffed out. As the half draws to a close, the swifts are mainly camped in the Sutton half and with 5 minutes to go, a silly challenge by Beale gives them a free-kick 25 yards out to the right. The free-kick is played across the field and with the U’s defence slow to react, Dave Rainford drives a fierce 25 yard shot beyond Pape and into the back of the net.

Bollocks, right on half time again.

We wander round to the Shoebox for a cuppa and a nice sausage roll, mildly miffed at having chucked another goal away right on the break, but we’re hopeful the lads will deal with the situation in the second half.

And within moments of the restart, a Sutton foray forwards results in a wasted ball into the box. But a Swifts defender swings at it and slices it straight up into the air. It drops towards the far post, where just 8 yards out, Matt Fowler waits underneath it. But rather than make use of the time and space he has, he elects to strike first time. Catching the ball on the volley, he drags it just wide of the far post, with Banks completely rooted.

The U’s keep trying to play but are frustrated first by the visitors no nonsense style and then by some frankly absurd referreeing by yet another clueless twat masquerading as a match official. Time and again he awards free-kicks against Sutton players, whilst letting similar offences ride for the visitors. Even more ridiculous is how 3 U’s players end up with yellow cards before a Swifts player even so much as gets close to one.

As the half wears on, the game decends into something of a tense, tight battle with decent football at a premium and appearing only in brief flashes from either side. The visitors manage a couple of long range efforts but not much else.

But as the match appears to be heading towards extra time and reduced post-match drinking for us, a momentary lapse proves costly.

Heybridge make progress down the U’s left flank and a pass into the area finds Abrahams. Palmer’s attempt to cut out the pass fails, leaving the Swifts striker enough time and space to turn and fire a snapshot low beyond the exposed Pape and just inside the far post. Slagfucknuts.

JR responds to our fading FA Cup hopes by swopping Matt Ottley for Matt Gray to give us more options going forwards. The change almost has an immediate impact when only a couple of minutes later a Danny Bolt free-kick causes problems in the Heybridge box. It’s knocked back across goal where Fowler nods it goalwards and with Banks scrambling, Gray fails to apply the final touch and force the ball home, failing to make any contact with the ball at all. Sutton keep pressing though and with time running out, another frankly sickening example of ‘officiating’ once again kicks us square in the teeth.

Dave Timothy exchanges passes with Matt Gray before running at the Heybridge full back. He knocks the ball past him and sprints past him as he turns. He crosses the nearside line of the 18 yard box and as he reaches the ball, the defender just clatters him from behind, bundling the U’s man to the ground. We all scream for the penalty that must surely follow, but the linesman just a few yards away and DIRECTLY in plain view of the incident just stands for a second, unsure as what to do before raising his flag for a goalkick.

A fucking GOALKICK??? You piece of SHIT. Even more annoying is the referee racing to overrule his assistant, only to completely bottle it himself and award a free-kick right on the white line of the area.

Wankers. 2 bob, 6th rate, mickey mouse wankers. Just where do they find you tossers?

Naturally, Mr Linesman gets some rather nasty, filthy language directed his way. About 7 and a half thousand pounds worth.

Despite being royally fucked over once more by pathetic incompetence, the U’s keep going. And with time almost up another Danny Bolt free-kick puts the visitors defence under pressure, but Nick Bailey guides his header the wrong side of the upright.

Moments later, the ref signals the end of the U’s participation in the FA Cup for another year. His shit for brains assistant on our side promptly legs it towards the centre circle with more abuse ringing in his ears. Twat.

Naturally, we skulk off back towards the Hood to grumble about appalling officials over a couple of commiseratory pints.

MAN OF THE MATCH : Lewis Gonsalves. Player of the month and another solid display.

ENTERTAINMENT : 5. Hardly samba stuff…….

TEAM : Pape, Ottley, Palmer, Brett, Gonsalves, Beale, Bailey, Corbett, Bolt, Fowler, Watson

SUBS : Dunn, Gray, Hanlan, Timothy, Honey

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