RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
ALDERSHOT TOWN – 3 [D’Sane 6.83. OG 24]
SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Fowler 56.88]
If there’s ever a reason NOT to believe in the old, fat bastard in a red suit that kids refer to as ‘Santa Claus’, you just have to watch our lot on Boxing Day. Where wins, let alone decent performances are hard to find. And to think, we all wrote our letters and stood in line for his grotto in Allders. The fat bastard. Didn’t bring us that Scalextric we asked for either.
OK, so we actually did win our last Boxing Day game, but that was 2 seasons ago at the Scummers (tee hee!). Last year’s match at K’s being lost to the weather after some donut decided a 12 o’clock kick off was a fabulous idea in the arse end of December, rather than mid-afternoon.
Well, this year, we’re gifted with a trip into Hampshire and a match against Aldershot. Hmmm, very local! But undeterred by this rather strange choice of fixture, we decide that going by car is by far the best idea as there will be bugger all trains running. Thankfully, someone’s sensibly decided to make the fixture a 3pm kick off and not the crack o’ house sparrow fart as it was last year.
Such is the demand for transportation, we end up taking 2 cars to the game. Something we’ve not done since the Conference season. Bloody woodworm! We motor down and arrive shortly before 2, parking up at a ‘Beerhound’ recommended pub, the ‘Red Lion’. A couple of swifties later and the boss man is looking to chuck us out as he wants to close up for the afternoon. No matter my good man, as we have a prior engagement to attend to!
Having strolled down to the ground, we notice that we’re stood in line at the disgracefully early time of 20 to 3. A terrible terrible waste of beverage time if you ask me. Not that it mattered to my good self, being one of the designated drivers. After grabbing some scoff, the U’s line up is announced. Thankfully Matt Fowler is announced fit to play. Surprisingly though, Mark Watson is in the starting line up. Hmmmm. Thought that foot injury was going to keep him out for 3 weeks?? Any confusion is cleared up when a U’s fan asks Papey just before KO, about the situation. “He wanted to play” he says. “Despite the 8 stitches in his foot”.
Oh well, looks like Watso wants to make an impression on his return to his old club! We’re then even more surprised to see Mr Watson donning the captains armband and calling for ends. Hmmm, he’d better bloody deliver!!
Unfortunately, the U’s start is slow and our table topping hosts set about looking for an early break through. As it happens, they only have to wait 6 minutes. Tricky wide man, Roscoe D’Sane runs at the U’s defence, which promptly backs off, offering no challenge. He reaches the corner of the 18 yard box, before planting an effort into the bottom far corner. Judging by the positioning of Pape and his reaction, we assume the effort has been deflected. But enquiries at Half time indicate it was a clean strike, so it seems our ‘keepers positioning has to be seriously questioned on this occasion.
The next few minutes sees the U’s struggling to make any impact on the match, fending off waves of Aldershot attacks. On the rare occassion we do get the ball, we elect to pump it long up the field to the isolated Fowler & Watson. With 24 minutes on the clock, things go from bad to worse for the U’s. D’Sane is again the man causing the problems. Another run down the Sutton left flank, takes him to the byeline, brushing off the challenge of Hollands. He fires a low ball accross the muddy penalty area which evades everyone except Danny Brooker at the back post who for some reason dives in and diverts the ball into the back of his own net. Annoyingly, there’s not a single Aldershot player beyond the point where Brooker has intervened. If he’d left the cross alone, it would have gone harmlessly accross the face of goal.
Brooker’s misery is compounded by the rather ungracious bloke on the PA, who announces his name and number to all present. How very sporting of you mate.
Sutton manage to hit back a little more after this, with Watson putting the ball in the net soon after from close range but being flagged offside. Matt Fowler then manages to latch onto one of the long balls upfield. Unfortunately, just as it seems he’ll outpace his marker he runs through a terribly rutted patch of the pitch on the edge of the area and has to check his run to keep possession and the chance is lost.
The home side continue to press and Pape is forced to make a save with half time approaching. He fails to hold one effort, but thankfully is on hand to block the follow up shot. Our best effort comes from a Danny Bolt free-kick from the corner of the 18 yard box which zips wide of the far upright.
A little dejected by the lads lacklustre display, we wander round to the bar to see if we can get any half time scores. It’s packed, so we give in and head round to the far end for the 2nd half, hoping for an upturn in performance in the next 45 minutes.
To our relief, the U’s response is just as we’d hoped. Within a minute or so of the restart, a driving run from Bolt ends with him slipping a pass through the Aldershot defence to Watson. His ball across the box is cut out for a corner. Sutton continue to press and finally abandon the long ball and begin to play the ball on the deck a lot more. Matt Fowler has a Mike Hammonds cross just punched off his head by Bull in the Aldershot goal.
But within minutes, a copycat cross, this time from Danny Bolt on the run, towards the back post picks out Matt Fowler who does well to outjump his marker and loop a header goalwards. Bull manages to get his fingertips to the ball but can’t prevent it from dropping inside his far post to the delight of the travelling U’s fans. That’s better! C’mon lads!!!
Aldershot themselves hit back and midway through the half a cross from the Sutton left is weakly punched away by Pape under serious pressure from a home forward. D’Sane reacts first and nods the ball goalwards only to see it bounce back off the post before being hacked clear by Brooker.
But despite the risk of a breakaway goal, Sutton keep pressing for an equaliser. Fowler is presented with the best opportunity 20 minutes from time. A ball in from the right finds him unmarked by the near post with his back to goal. Sadly, he doesn’t realise how much time & space he has and tries a clever little backward header instead of controlling and trying a shot. Bull, in the Aldershot goal, having had a jittery 2nd half gratefully takes header into his midriff.
An unseemly scuffle kicks off after Hammonds poleaxes a home player right in front of their bench. Hammonds recieves a yellow card for his efforts as does the somewhat twattish No5 who sprints 20 yards to kick off the aforementioned unseemly scuffle.
With 10 minutes left, JR throws on Akuamouah and moves to a 4-3-3 formation in an attempt to rescue the match. Within a couple of minutes, the U’s come as close as its possible to grabbing that equaliser. Sutton win a string of corners, the last of which is taken by Bolt from the right. His delivery isn’t great and it’s cut out at the near post. Thankfully, the ball runs back out to Bolt on the flank and he whips one of those wicked curling crosses to the back post. Bull comes to claim, gets nowhere near and the ball seems destined to sneak in at the back post until the desperate dive of a defender on the line whose header does enough to divert it the other side of the upright.
From the following corner, disaster. This time the corner is better, but is headed clear. Bolt and Akuamouah close in, with the forward getting there first. But rather than play a simple ball he tries to beat the oncoming Walshe and loses the ball. The defender races off up the field, with the Sutton defenders trying to regain lost ground and the frankly annoying D’Sane tearing up in support of his team-mate.
Walshe slips the ball into the path of D’Sane, but Palmer is on the case on sticks to him like glue. Forcing him wide of the target. Off balance and going to ground, the winger hooks a shot goalwards. Pape is slow to get down and the somewhat weak effort finds the net inside the near post.
Bollocks. 7 minutes left and 3-1 down. That’s us surely fucked now.
But, to their credit, the lads display some more of the fighting spirit we’ve seen this season and continue to harry the home side. With time very nearly up, the persistence pays off. A run down the right by Gray ends with a cross into the box. Fowler looks to be just short of getting on the end of it, but flings himself at the ball anyway. He just gets a toe on the ball and the contact is enough to take it away from the dive of Bull onto the inside of the far post, along the line and nestles in the net just inside the near post. Bloody hell! We’re back in this again!!! C’mon lads, get your skates on!!
Again, the U’s go for it and set about the now rather desperate home defence. Another string of corners come to nothing & we’re frustrated by the poxy linesman who decides one header out by an Aldershot defender should be rewarded in a goalkick. Uuuuuuhh, yeah, cheers mate. Thanks a bundle.
Worse is to come from the officials. Into injury time, the ineffective Watson bundles and barges his way past 2 Aldershot players, only to be held back by a third. We scream for the foul, but Waston shrugs off the offender and bursts into the box with a fair sight of goal. Only to be halted by the refs whistle.
Tosser. Where’s our advantage you arse?
Sadly, the free-kick is deflected over for a corner, which is taken and reaches the box, but the ref then decides enough is enough and blows for time. Nikki Bull in the home goal collects his towel from the back of the net and declares “Later wankers” in the direction of the travelling support. Charming. Not as if we’ve let him have any stick today other than a couple of half hearted shouts. Cock end.
Oh well, that run was nice while it lasted. And at least we made a bloody game of it in the 2nd half.
We amble off down the road, back towards the cars, deciding to nip into the ‘BeeHive’ along the way for a couple and to catch the second half of the Boro-Man United game on the telly while the crowds sod off. Then it’s back up the A3 and to the Hood for a couple more Xmas ales.
And that Santa bloke? Fucking useless if you ask me. Never delivers what you ask for. Don’t trust him kids. He’s a fraudster!
MAN OF THE MATCH : Matt Fowler. All action performance & stuck at it.
ENTERTAINMENT : 3 for the 1st Half. Terrible! 6 for the second. A much better display…..
TEAM : Pape, Gray, Hollands, Palmer, Brooker, Gonsalves, Bailey, Bolt, Corbett, Fowler, Watson.
SUBS : Akuamouah, Honey, Beale
THE REFEREE’S A………schoolboy. He looked about 17! But despite not looking old enough to go into a pub & buy a beer, he handled the match fairly well until about the last 20 minutes when it all got a little frantic and he then bottled 2 or 3 pretty important decisions.