RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
SUTTON UNITED – 3 [Bolt 21.42. Honey 84]
HITCHIN TOWN – 1 [Drew 7]
The U’s performance at Hitchin about a month ago was a big disappointment, as it could be described as our first truly arse 90 minutes of what has so far been an encouraging season. Of course, we had to go and ‘better’ it at Basingstoke 7 days later, but that’s another story!
Actually managing to get out of my pit on time this week, I sauntered into the Hood just before 2 in time for the usual pre-match ritual of a pint of Youngs. Bob is already getting comfy when I stroll in. He’s quick to show me a fuck off great big bruise covering half his left arm…
“Bloody hell! What did that? An Doberman??” I enquire.
“Nope, NHS blood test!” he reveals.
Personally, I’d rather have encountered the Doberman! I also make a mental note to make full use of my company’s medical insurance the next time I’m a bit under the weather.
No Gareth today, he’s down in Pompey getting rat arsed with all his old Uni mates. Pack it in man! You’re not a flippin’ schtowdant now! And get a job you lazy bastard!!!
Pints finished, it’s off to GGL. Chalmers calls as we’re leaving the battle cruiser. “Get me a proggy” he pleads. “I’m just leaving home!” Ah! Working saturday again were we? Silly boy. Gets in the way of important stuff that does….
The U’s line up today has one enforced change from last week, with Scott Corbett suspended for one match having picked up 5 yellow cards. His place is taken by a surprisingly fit again Nick Bailey. Not that we’re complaining!!! Paul Honey partners him in the centre, giving the Sutton faithul a chance to see the midfield combination they’ve been shouting for.
The opening few minutes are fairly even, but with around 7 minutes gone, the visitors sweep into the lead. Having already made a couple of dangerous attacks, a neat flick around 20 yards out, gives Drew time & space to aim a low drive beyond the dive of Pape and inside the near post. This leads to a purple patch for the Canaries and some nice football opens up a creaking Sutton defence on more than one occassion. Drew brings the best out of Pape after about a quarter of an hour, evading a couple of challenges and loosing off a shot that our stand in skipper does well to palm away.
Our new midfield pairing of Bailey and Honey is failing to stem the Hitchin tide, seemingly getting in each others way and chasing the same balls rather than one going and one staying. This gives the Canaries lots of time and space to pressurise our backline.
But despite this pressure, the visitors fail to add to their lead. And just after the 20 minute mark, a brief flash of football from the U’s brings an equaliser. Some dogged harrassment of the Hitchin defence by Fowler pays off and he wins the ball. Looking up, he sees Danny Bolt tearing away to his left. With the Canaries defence flat footed, Folwer slips the ball into the path of Bolt, who skips round the sprawling ‘keeper and from an angle, rolls the ball inside the far post. Again! Again!!
The Sutton equaliser stings the lads into action and our spell of the game follows, with some decent football being played. Again Fowlers determination causes the visitors problems, with one cross whipped in from the right being met by Watson, having got in front of his marker, diving in at the near post, but his header loops over the bar. Matt Gray then forces a good save from Robinson in the Canaries goal, having flown past their full back. The keeper’ saving with his legs.
Almost immediately after, Hitchin miss a great chance to go back in front when a U’s set piece fails in the visitors half. 2 swift passes later, a deep cross is launched into the U’s box, over the shoulder of Palmer and straight onto the boot of the dangerous Drew. But his fist time effort flashes just wide of Pape’s far post.
Hitchin continue to look dangerous going forwards, but with half time approaching, Sutton take a somewhat shock lead. Again Fowler is being a right royal pain in the arse around the opposition box. And again his persistance pays off, winning a loose ball, he again slides a pass through the defence and once more picks out another excellent Danny Bolt run just on the left hand corner of the penalty area. Our tricky midfielder immediately spots Robinson has strayed a few yards off his line and promptly delivers a beautifully weighted chip over the stranded Robinson. The ball drops just beneath the bar, follows the seam in the corner of the net and nestles, without bouncing once into the bottom far corner.
Another special from Mr Bolt! Here ya go Dan, here’s the goal of the season award. Take it now. It’ll save me and the boys a lot of pissing about in the pub at the nd of the season trying to decide just which of your bloody goals should actually win!
“Ooooh, should we go for the 30 yarder against Ford? Or what about the 35 yarder against Aylesbury? And there’s the….and then there’s…..oh, not forgetting the….” We’d be there all sodding night!
So the U’s headed down the tunnel 2-1 up and with the visitors no doubt trying to work out just how that had happened….
A quick trip to the bar and then back out into the cold, hoping that the U’s could claim the other point and a half to go with the other one we currently hold.
The Canaries continue to play probably the better football of the 2 sides, but the U’s have managed to sort their midfield out, with Honey holding whilst Bailey chases round like a loon. As usual. It doesn’t totally prevent them exerting pressure on the defence or creating chances, but it bloody helps!
Bailey is involved in 2 of Suttons better moments, latching onto a Bolt pass on the flank and delivering a cross into the box that Watson just fails to get a touch onto and then soon after fires in a cracking volley that tests Robinson. Hitchin go close a couple of times, but despite having the liopns share of the possession, strangely, Sutton seem the more likely to nick a goal.
A great turn and shot from the edge of the box by Folwer zips just wide of Robinsons upright, with the Hitch man at full stretch and the young striker just misses out on the goal his effort deserves, skipping past 3 challenges, before prodding just wide of the goal at the near post. Danny Bolt soon after, is put through by a pass from Bailey and despite getting clear of the defence, the ‘keeper is quick off his line and saves at the midfielders feet.
But as it seems a nervy last few minutes is on the cards, Sutton finally get the goal to put the result beyond doubt and claim that other point and a half! Bolty’s involved again, swinging the ball from one side of the pitch to another, picking out Fowler. He’s shut out by a defender, but he lays the ball into the path of the supporting Honey. He cuts infield and firs in a shot that may, or may not have been on target, let alone test the ‘keeper. But all this is acidemical as it deflects off the arse of a defender, completely sending Robinson the wrong way and he can only look on as the ball flies past him and nestles in the back of the net.
A few minutes later, Gareth calls for a match update. I inform him we’ve just gone 3-1 up. And he in return lets me know that Oldham have just snatched a last minute equaliser at home to Burton in the Cup. He then winds me up by saying we’ve snatched an later winner. Pah! So you think you’re funny do ya ex-student bloke?
Despite a few minutes of injury time, the visitors seem to lose their rag a little, picking up 3 rather silly bookings in the final moments, with the otherwise impressive Drew somewhat fortunate to stay on the pitch after a tirade at the ref earns him a card. Despite this, he continues his dissent and only a good talking too prevents a second immediate yellow.
Soon after, the ref signals the end and 3 more valuable points are safely tucked away in the little box JR keeps in his desk drawer. It’s true! He does you know!
We head round to the Hood for a couple of celebratory beers, before the usual session in the the ‘Spoons.
God a pint tastes sooo much better after a win!
MAN OF THE MATCH : Matt Fowler. Worked his arse off & was involved in all 3 goals.
ENTERTAINMENT : 7. Decent bit of footy. Still not sure about the defence though……
TEAM : Pape, Brooker, Palmer, Gonsalves, Gray, Hollands, Honey, Bailey, Bolt, Watson, Fowler
SUBS : Brett, Hanlan, Beale
THE REFEREE’S A………fairly decent one for once! Christ! Had to happen eventually I s’pose! And he made a big decision to give the penalty, then send their bloke off. 99% of the idiots at this level would have bottled it completely.