Chesham’s Matt Finish


Att: 71

CHESHAM UNITED – 2 [Matata 46. Fontonelle 109]

SUTTON UNITED – 3 [Fowler 55. Corbett 108. Gray 112]

Match Reporter: Bob

After the ‘burgled’ and ‘bungled’ first attempt to play this fixture and with the hierarchy’s gutless decision to do anything about it, the result is another long midweek trip to Chesham to play out this second round of the Bryco cup.

Being a tad behind everyone else in this competition we already know how the draw is shaping up and to be honest it’s not very encouraging. With the winners of this tie earning an away trip to Aylesbury and the eventual winners of that having to travel to Grays (after last nights 1-0 win!) you start to wonder just how we keep being drawn away from home in cup competitions, but not only that, away to teams we’ve been to a million times before. At least give us somewhere new to go to for a change!

Working just five minutes from Farringdon you would think that a useful advantage for a trip to Chesham, wrong. On arriving at the station about 5.30pm looking for the direct service to Chesham, I hear an announcement by L.U. saying there are some delays tonight. With a fast Amersham service pulling in I decide to jump on this and at least ‘get up there’ rather than risk waiting for god knows how long for the direct Chesham service.

The journey is good and I arrive at Chalfont about 6.20pm. This is where I discover that: a) its freezing bloody cold, and b) the next tube to Chesham is the delayed one coming from London. Bugger. Twenty-Five minutes later, and just after the B.R. train from Marylebone pulls in (double bugger!), the tube arrives and a half frozen Bob, who now wished he’d waited at Farringdon in the warm, is finally off to Chesham.

After a brisk walk to the ground I arrive in the club bar about 7.10pm and settle down with a pint of Green King IPA. This is when I hear that Danny Bolt apparently wasn’t taking any chances tonight, oh no, as he left the team coach with only a towel in his grasp saying “Well I’m not losing anything tonight”! As we wore Amber & Chocolate for the first match, (even though our programme advised Green & White), me trying to be clever had my home colours on but to my horror while looking out the bar window I find we are in Green & White. For crying out loud, what a complete cock up, sort this kit thing out will you. Be warned, we’ll probably be in Black & White stripes for the league game!!

After paying another £7 entry, thanks for that by the way Chesham, robbing bastards (probably why less than 80 bothered to show up) and grabbing some scoff from the tea-bar, the team is announced and the only change from the usual suspects is Eddie Akuamoah in for the injured for 4 weeks Mark Watson. We find ourselves kicking towards the far end goal for the first half so as we start to wonder around and with the thought of extra time in the freezing cold on my mind I call out “Finish it in the 90 lad’s, I don’t really care which way”. Suddenly a voice in the Chesham fans we were walking past replies “I agree, lets get it over as soon as possible”!

With the match underway, the opening encounters are even with the ball in the air a lot between the midfield and defences. The first real chance though falls to the home side in the 18th minute as Matt Gray pushes forward he loses possession and the ball is played into the hole he has left. The home forward runs onto the pass, skips past Ryan Palmer and lashes a shot that just goes wide of the near post and into the side netting.

Sutton start to create their own chances though with Gray causing problems down the Chesham left he sets Matt Fowler up on 25 minutes for a shot from 20 yards that goes wide and 3 minutes later from a Danny Bolt corner Gray himself has a shot wide from the edge of the box. It was about now we decide to count the crowd and with Gareth counting 96 and Alison 101 we decided on an attendance of 98, I wonder how close we were!

The very whistle happy referee’s main cock-up of the half was after Fowler received an elbow right in front of the linesman. The Ref. went and had a chat with the said linesman while Mr. Fowler was scraped of the pitch by our physio but instead of having a word with the Chesham player with a sore elbow, he went over and had a chat with our physio. What you going to do, send him off you twat, it was a head injury? (I guess he went on the pitch without permission.)

The dull 1st half finishes with no score so we walk round to the tea bar for a half time cuppa and 15 minutes later the teams come out for the second half. Thank fuck for that, the security measure of locking the back car park gate and having a guard walk round must be working.

Two half time substitutions by Chesham change the course of the game. Firstly the new striker in the 46th minute latches onto a Gonsalves / Pape mix-up at the back and runs through to score into an empty net with his first touch of the game. The second change is in goal with the new keeper being the one who conceded five against our friends from queensmeadow.

The goal sparks the U’s into action with a 15-minute spell of constant pressure on the Chesham goal and with the keepers handling being less than impressive as he fumbles and drops everything we start shooting from distance. In the 48th minute Fowler is bundled over virtually on the line but the referee waves play on but we are rewarded in the 48th minute. Hollands drives forward with the ball and plays Akuamoah through the offside trap, as the keeper tries to narrow the angle (I think!) Eddie squares the ball to Fowler who’s in so much space its untrue and all he has to do is guide the ball into the roof of the net, 1-1 then.

The second half is mainly all Sutton and Gray is unlucky not to score on 70 minutes with a shot that goes just over. Fowler then seems to pull up holding his hamstring be carries on regardless. He pays for this dearly in the 80th minute as the hamstring seems to go completely and Fowler is forced off and is replaced by Paul Honey.

With time running out and both sets of fans wanting a result in normal time, Sutton try to nick it. The ball works lose to Bolt on 88 minutes about 20 yards out but his low left footed shot is well held by the Chesham keeper. In injury time Matt Gray picks up the ball just inside the Chesham half on the right and he tries one of his mazy runs towards goal. He beats three Chesham players before unleashing a shot from the edge of the box that just goes over the bar by a whisker with the keeper beaten. Shit, that’ll be extra time then…..

While waiting for extra time to start we decide another cup of tea is required because by now you couldn’t feel your toes and any extra warmth was a bonus. We turn to the tea bar but to our horror it had gone. The thieves are good around here! Apparently he must of thought had had made his money for the night and had driven off, thanks mate. Fortunately for us the other tea bar on the side was still open so we were able to get tea’d-up from there. At this point a few of the Chesham fans had decided that they had had enough and were going home, on passing us one said “are you lot staying?” “Yes” we replied, “we’ve not come all this way not to see the end”. “Well you’ve got my admiration,” he said.

The first period of extra time was one of the worst periods of football I’ve ever seen with neither team looking interested with only a Matt Gray shot in the 103rd minute that was deflected over worth mentioning. This is when I said jokingly “I think it will be 4-2 after extra time to us!”

The second period was totally different with the players probably hearing the rumour that we heard about the replay being on Christmas Eve deciding to go for the win. In the 106th minute a Chesham player beat the offside trap and Pape coming to the edge of the box to try to close the angle down was enough to put him off as he shot just wide of the far post. This near miss spurned Sutton forward and the ever running Nick Bailey, who was playing further forward after Fowlers departure, had a cracking shot a minute later that the keeper just couldn’t hang onto and Scott Corbett who was following in had a easy rebound to put the U’s deservedly in front 2-1.

The lead only lasted a minute though, as Chesham attacked from the off, Fontenelle, who had worked forward up the left hand side, had a low shot from a tight angle that went through a load of legs in the box and after a slight deflection ended up in the back of the net, 2-2. With a draw looking the likely result, Nick Bailey tipped the scales in the 112th minute with a splendid run through the Chesham defence and with only the keeper to beat he unselfishly passes to the unmarked Gray at the back post to smash home the winner to a chorus of thank God for that from both sets of supporters!

All was not over though as on 114 minutes Bolt had a shot scream over the bar and then a minute later a neat move between Bailey and Gray leave Akuamoah with a simple looking tap in, but after a nasty bobble he tries to touch it back for Corbett but this allows the defence to recover and the chance is lost. Bastard, he heard me predict 4-2 I bet!

In the 117th minute an ambitious effort by Chesham looks a simple catch for Pape but the ball squirms through his hands and is cleared off the line by a defender. The resulting corner is hoofed up field. With Chesham throwing everyone forward, Sutton break in the last minute and Corbett has an attempt from a good 30 yards out that just goes over the bar and is the last meaningful action of the night.

The referee calls time and Sutton earn an away trip to Aylesbury in the next round, woohoo! The remaining crowd of about 60 odd disperse into the night with Mark Frake rattling his brain as to when we last won eight in a row, “I’ll have to look it up” he concludes. Must have been fucking ages ago then!

Sutton played well when they kept the ball down, were the better footballing team on the night and deserved the win. I can’t wait to come back for the league game! (Liar! – Taz)

MAN OF THE MATCH : Matt Gray. Caused problems all night & deserved his winner.

ENTERTAINMENT : (Per Period!) 3, 7, 2, 9. Played some goot football at times.

TEAM : Pape, Brooker, Palmer, Gonsalves, Gray, Hollands, Bailey, Corbett, Bolt, Akuamouah, Fowler  SUBS : Brett, Honey, Beale

THE REFEREE’S A………bit whistle happy and a tad biased with his cautions.

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