‘Stoking The Trophy Flame

FA TROPHY 2ND ROUND

Att: 529



BASINGSTOKE TOWN – 0 

SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Fowler 32.75]

Oh happy happy joy joy. It’s the FA Trophy again. And a trip to Basingstoke. Hmmmm…

We traipsed all the way down there last moth and once more turned in easily our worst performance of the season in a 1-0 defeat. Hopefully, the return of some key players should see us right.

Hopefully.

Another Wimbledon meet, Bob and I queue up for tickets. Gareth appears in the line behind us,

happily declaring a lack of a hangover after another heavy Friday night.

“First sign of alcoholism that is” we tell him. Worryingly, he doesn’t seem to mind too much.

We pile out of the station an hour later and start what seems like a never ending hike through the main shopping centre to the High street where there is apparently a new Wetherspoons. Oooh, Exotic. Basingstoke’s total of good drinking holes just doubled then. Shortly after, much to our surprise, we find it’s actually trebled, as there is a brand new Hogshead right next door to the Wetherspoons. At last, things are looking up for the Hampshire town!

A couple of pints and some scoff later, a cab is ordered and it’s off to the local footballing mecca known as ‘The Camrose’.

When we arrive, we are a little miffed to find that our lads are actually wearing the home strip and not the green & white away one as advertised. A strange choice considering the home team, like us, have a strip based around the colour of yellow.

We then have a confusing moment when the teams run out. Basingstoke in yellow and some blokes in……er……..stripes! Umm, have we come on the wrong day or something? I could’ve sworn we play in quartered shirts! It turns out the ref (a woman no less! But more of her later….) has objected to our decision to bring our home strip. DOH! And there was me taking the piss out of Stortford on Tuesday. At least they had the excuse of not having been to us for a couple of years. We were only at the Camrose last month!

The only good thing about this is they’re not a bad match! Black & white stripes, with a nice amber pinstripe and numbers. Result.

The Sutton line up again shows a couple of changes. Darren Beale is back in the defence on the right, at last giving Matt Gray a start up front, where he partners Matt Fowler. Watson obviously still struggling with his hamstring.

The early exchanges aren’t much to write home about. Basingstoke have quite a bit of possession, but they fall down in the final third. Sutton look ok going forwards, but are mostly bogged down in midfield. But after about 20 minutes, a pass through the Basingstoke defence finds Matt Fowler. He takes a touch and lifts the ball over the onrushing Scott Tarr, but sees his shot drop agonizingly just wide of the far post.

Almost straight after, a Danny Bolt corner picks out Gonsalves nipping in at the near post, but the defender is unable to keep his effort down and he puts it over the bar. The home sides only meaningful response is a shot into the side netting from a tight angle.

With the U’s having created a little more where it mattered, it was no surprise when Fowler pounces to put us in front around the 30 minute mark and break our 3 game goal drought at the Camrose. Mike Hollands nods a poor clearance back over the static defence which Fowler snaps up and once more lifts over the advancing Tarr. The effort is on target, but seems to lack the pace to beat any one of 3 recovering defenders. But thankfully, the bloke who does slide in to try and rescue the situation can only force the ball over the line. Oh dear! Decisions decisions. Do we laugh? Or celebrate? Aw bollocks to it, lets do both!

That’ll be 1-0 then……..

Sutton continue to look the more dangerous going forwards and just before half time, Fowler once again latches onto a pass through the rather cumbersome home defence. With only Tarr to beat, he draws the ‘keeper off his line But his looping shot is too firmly struck and clears the crossbar.

The referress (isn’t that what you call a lady ref??? Hehe!) makes her first serious error of the day. A lovely move involving Gray & Honey ends with a cute little flick into the box that Gray races onto, he takes a slight touch before being poleaxed from the blind side by a defender. Erm, excuse me darlin’, but isn’t that a penalty??

Not according to Ms Chapman it’s not. Stupid bint.

The Half time break is spent with the usual trip to the bar before the ‘excitement’ begins once more.

Straight after the restart, Fowler misses a good chance to put some daylight between us and our hosts, but with the goal in his sights he miscues his shot, screwing it horribly wide. This and no doubt a half time bollocking lift the home side a little and they start to press the Sutton defence a little more. But only a solitary header actually gets as far as testing Pape. Most of their other attacks either end up in the ‘Erricson’ stand behind the goal of the 5-a-side pitch behind that! The U’s have a couple of near misses with Fowler being gifted posession inside the box, but he’s unable to control the ball and the danger is cleared. And a good cross from Hollands out on the left completely catches out the home defence, but sadly no one in a borrowed-striped shirt is on hand to punish the statuesque defending.

A 10 minute shower forces those brollyless amongst us to seek shelter in the small covered terrace next to the main stand. And it’s from this vantage point we see Mr Fowler seal the tie with around 15 minutes left. A great move down the right involving Gray & Bailey see’s the little midfielder burst into the box and get to the byeline. He fires in a low cross along the edge of the 6 yard box, which Tarr gets down to, but can’t hold and the ball drops invitingly to an unmarked Fowler around 8 yards out. Now, normally most strikers would just stoop down and nod the ball into the gaping net. But not our Matty. Oh no! He has to leap into the air and bicycle kick the bastard in!

Flash git! Nice finish though Matt. Of course, if you’d missed, we’d have to have given you a bit of a kicking. I’m sure you understand dear boy.

The second goal kicks Basingstoke into life and they have probably their best spell of the match. And twice inside the last 10 minutes, Pape has to be off his line smartly to save at the feet of onrushing forwards. But despite this late flurry, the U’s defence hols fast and the bird in black whistles us into the next round.

Hurrah!!! At long bloody last!! A decent performance at Basingstoke! A real collectors item.

We catch some results in the bar before blagging a lift back to the station from another U’s fan, ironically, in a black cab! Then a swift beer in the Queens Arms next door before shooting back to the ‘Spoons in Sutton for a few more & to catch up with Jules and Chalmers. We end up sat with Jules’ sister, her boyfriend and two friends of thiers. Another bloke and his rather nice Canadian girlfriend.

Now nothing unusual in this, but after a few beers things get messy. You see, Bob has treated himself to a pre-Xmas gift in the shape of a new mobile. None other than one of those Vodafone ‘camera’ jobbies (You know, the one Beckham is playing in the supermarket queue in the advert!). Well, once this become common knowledge, everyone is fiddling around with it. Especially the canadian lady. And before long, shes trying to find out if it’ll take a picture whilst stuck up her top!

Sadly (for us!) the results are somewhat disappointing, but determined not to be defeated, she nips into the ladies with it to……..er………get a ‘clearer’ shot. This in itself would be entertaining enough, but the great thing about this phone of Bob’s is that any pics taken with it can be used as a background image on the screen when you open it up. And guess what pic he has.

Ain’t technology grand!!!

MAN OF THE MATCH : Scott Corbett. Solid.

ENTERTAINMENT : 6. Did the necessary. Although the oppo weren’t much cop……..

TEAM : Pape, Brooker, Palmer, Gonsalves, Beale, Hollands, Honey, Bailey, Bolt, Gray, Fowler

SUBS : Brett, Hanlan, Timothy, Honey, Ribolla

THE REFEREE’S………A woman!!! No really! For the first time ever, a U’s game was officiated by a bird!!! She did ok, missed the usual ‘dodgy tackles from behind’ yet blew up for nothing challenges. Aaaaand she missed what looked to be a fairly certain peno in the 1st half. Ho hum………….oh and she looked a tiny bit like Kylie Minogue.

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