RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Gonsalves 38. OG 76]
ST ALBANS CITY – 4 [Smith 9.12.46. Challinor 90]
Missing saturdays Trophy win (why do this lot ALWAYS win when I’m not around? Bastards!) whilst I was doing a rather iffy impression of a tour guide in London coupled with the following week off work threw poor ol’ Taz’s beer sodden brain into total confusion when it came to our home match with St Albans.
The following brief telephone conversation should explain a little better. Me, wandering across the road to catch my bus into Sutton, calls Bob to find out if he’s in the boozer yet :
Me: “Hello mate. Are you in the Hood yet?”
Bob (sounding confused): “Eh???
Me: “Er, the pub? For the game?”
Bob: “Today’s Monday you twat”
Me: “Oh bollocks….”
Yes, yes, I admit it, I almost went to watch Sutton-St Albans a whole day before it was actually due to be played. I’d blame the alcohol, but it’s not a great excuse as I blame that for everything else.
Right, we now fast forward a little over 24 hours and I stroll into the Hood finding Oscar, Gareth and Bob all waiting. All waiting to take the piss that is! Bastards. Oh well, at least I got the right date this time.
Once fully briefed on Saturdays events and pints sunk, we head towards the ground and brave the intense artillery barrage, otherwise known as ‘Guy Fawkes Night’, being laid down by the inhabitants of the London Borough of Sutton. There’s that many explosions going off, you’d have thought Mr G.W.Bush had located another Al-Qaeda cell somewhere nearby.
Anyone want to give him a buzz and point him in the direction of Colston Avenue?
On our arrival, we have a surprise. Andy Pape is missing tonight (illness apparently) and his place will be taken by James Ribolla. No Dunn? Further investigation reveals that as he’s on loan at Banstead and hasn’t served a month yet, so we CAN’T recall him. Oh for fucks sake. Why do we always get caught out by stuff like this??? Another change is Matt Gray replacing the injured Dave Timothy.
Signs that it was going to be one of those nights came after just 9 minutes. A swift attack on the U’s left ended with a pass into space finding Smith. Beale tries to recover and rescue the situation, but the midfielder races onto the pass, holds off the challenge and fires a shot that flies throught the legs of an exposed Ribolla and into the back of the net.
3 minutes later and some more dreadful defending leaves us once more with a mountain to climb. A ball across the edge of the area from the right looks a routine clearance for either Ribolla or Beale with no Saints player apparently close enough to cause any problem. Unfortunately, niether calls for the ball and they clatter into each other. Of course, the ball spins loose and Smith once again pops up, this time to roll the ball into an empty net.
The second goal finally stings Sutton into life and we start to fight our way back into proceedings. Pressing the visitors and with Bolt in particular looking to probe for openings in their back four. The workrate pays off just before half time, when Matt Gray is somewhat clumsily bundled off the ball by the near touchline. The linesman flags for the offence only to have the offending player scream “you fucking c***” at him from no more than 5 yards away. Erm, what was that rule about foul and abusive language again???
Bolty makes ‘em pay, swinging in one of those left footers and picking out Lewis Gonsalves, who meets the ball perfectly and powers his header down past Wilmot and into the net. Thats better!
The U’s then press on even more, looking for an equaliser before the break and are unlucky not to get one when a great run to the byeline by Matt Gray sees his low pull-back just held by Wilmot at the second attempt with Fowler and Bolt both lurking.
Oh well, never mind, we can hope that the lads keep up the pressure in the 2nd half…
Within a minute of the restart, a clumsy challenge by Beale gives St Albans a free-kick right on the edge of the box. That man Smith appears again and drills a low shot into the far corner with Ribolla rooted to the spot to complete his hat-trick Rats cocks methinks!
The goal knocks the U’s back a bit and it takes a while for the lads to recover. Meanwhile, we’re treated to another display of incompetence by a Ryman ref. See below.
St Albans have the better of the play for most of the half and should really add to their lead, but somehow can’t quite mange it. Then, with around an hour gone, another apalling decision robs the U’s of a lifeline. A ball from Gray, out on the right, lands in space just outside the box. It’s a straight race between Fowler, a defender and Wilmot in the Saints goal. Fowler outruns the defender and gets to the ball before Wilmot, toe-ing it past the ‘keeper who then crashes into the Sutton man, two footed, sending him sprawling.
Of course, shit like that is allowed by the Ryman officials and staggeringly, the ref waves play on!!! WHAT? Just how frigging blatant does it have to be?? It’s a peno and a red card! Surely!!!
Another dreadful decision follows shortly after when a Bolt pass spilts the defence and Fowler nips in and nicks the ball over the ‘keeper into the back of the net. Sadly, the linesman decides Watson on the near side, some 15 yards from events is ‘interfering with play’ and disallows it. Muppet.
We’re then treated to some big time crowd aggro at our end, when the stewards move in to remove some local urchins who are apparently up to no good on the open space behind the Collingwood Rec end. When told to get out, one hurls an unfinished can of Fosters at our bright jacketed head steward, who understandably cops the hump! Sadly they refuse our polite offer to remove them ‘unofficially’.
The game livens up once more, with St Albans hitting a post, then having a free-kick tipped onto the bar by Ribolla, whilst a typical Bolt exocet from around 25 yards is tipped over by Wilmot. But with 15 minutes to go, the U’s pull one back when follwoing another good run to the byeline from Gray, his low cross is turned goalwards by Fowler and with Watson lurking, a defender and the ‘keeper somehow conspire to smuggle the ball messily over the line. Thats it! Come on!
But, with time running out, another lapse at the back lets the visitors once more. A cross from the left is aimed at the back post, where Ribolla really should claim it, but he stops. The header down is somehow kept off the line, but the ball breaks to Challinor and he prods home. Womens knickers!
But, the ref is obviously enjoying being the centre of attention and proceeds to play something like fifteen (yes, you read that right!) minutes of stoppage time!!! During which, the U’s miss 2 sitters and an unlikey chance to nick a point. First Matt Gray again flies down the right flank, sending a low cross in that evades the ‘keeper, only for Corbett to toe it wide of the far post. And then Corbett again wastes a good chance, firing over from 8 yards with the goal at his mercy after being set up by Bolt.
So, we trudge off to Chalmers car and a lift to the Hood for a post match bevvy. Oscar heads off to his bed so he can be up for his 3am shift tomorrow and Bob complains of feeling rough and also calls it a night.
Poor love, it’s probably the stress of going to West Ham v Oldham with me & Oscar in the away end causing him some grief!!
MAN OF THE MATCH : Matt Gray. Created 2 or 3 very good chances with his running.
ENTERTAINMENT : 7. The football wasnt that bad. Just some dreadful defending cost us again.
TEAM :Ribolla, Beale, Palmer, Gonsalves, Gray, Hollands, Honey, Corbett, Bolt, Watson, Fowler
SUBS : Hanlan,Hewitt, Brett, Howard
THE REFEREE’S A………Tosser. Hardly noticed him in the 1st half, but in the second he obviously remembered he was a Ryman official and that it was his god-given duty to be a complete arse.