RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
BRAINTREE TOWN – 0
SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Fowler 68]
This weeks report is a first here on Gandermonium. No I won’t be leaving out swearing, or tales of mindless drinking. Nope. Much more earth shattering than that.
Your author is sad to report that this will be his first report written with the help of notes taken during the game. Unfortunately, my memory isn’t what it once was when I started the site (3 years ago!) and it’s now getting harder and harder to clearly recall at least the general jist of what happened on the pitch of a Saturday afternoon or a Tuesday evening. Knowing my luck, it’s probably due to the onset of Alzheimers, or a brain tumour or something…
With a 5 game winning streak, the U’s headed to deepest Essex and a meeting with Braintree. A side we owed somewhat after our disastrous 3-0 opening day tonking last season. And the opportunity would never be better as today’s hosts are finding life in the Premier Division a little tougher this year after their strong showing last season. Having lost a lot of their financial clout in the summer, most of the squad buggered off.’
So it’s another early start for the gang and I wander into the Liverpool St Wetherspoons just after half 11 and find Bob already parked with a pint. As I go to join him, I get a text from Gareth. A prior engagement tonight means he has to be back in Sutton a bit rapidly tonight, so he’ll be heading up by car. Chalmers then calls. Seeing as he works about 30 seconds away from the pub we’re currently in, he decides he’ll join us for the trip and reckons he might be able to skip off in about half an hour or so.
He’s true to his word and around 12, he wanders in and immediately asks if he has time for a pint!! Which he necks and we motor downstairs. Tickets bought, CHalmers skips off for a sarnie (his first meal of the day apparently!) and I leg it to WH Smiths to pick up a 99p notepad for my match notes. I also nick one of the half dozen bookies pens that Chalmers seems to have littering his person.
Tut tut! Anyone would think the boy gambled a lot!
One very dull, hour long train journey to smeg nowhere later and we alight at the delighful town of Braintree. Heading for the town centre and another beer, we stumble across a decent looking Greene King boozer. We wander inside and find some decent beer on offer. Our decision to stay is swung when it seems the back room by the pub telly is occupied by the loclal gambling cartel watching the racing on Channel 4. The chances of extracting Mr Chalmers from such a venue are practically zero so we settle in for a quiet pint.
With time running short, we take our leave and hit the local Wetherspoons at the top of the road. It’s a strange one to say the least. Housed in an old cinema, it’s a big, open plan jobbie with the bar in front of the ‘screen’ area. What is even stranger is the fact that the old ‘circle’ above still contains it’s seats from it’s previous life!
As we sup, we decide we’re not particularly enamoured with this particular boozer. The gang of rudeboy, gansta rap, So Solid Crew wannabe’s in the corner does little for the atmosphere. The fact that they’re almost all wearing the regulation baseball caps with their tracksuit hoods up indoors draws an amused chuckle from us. How fucking sad is that? Whats wrong lads?? Not by any chance a tadge underage are we??
We leave rapidly and start the lengthy stroll towards the ground. We’re almost there, when a small funny looking sports car goes past in the opposite direction. It brakes rapidly and we realise it contains a fellow U’s fan. A lost one! We pile over the road and cram into a car that is clearly not made to hold 3 semi-pissed football fan passengers! Thankfully, the ground is just a minute or two away and we’re soon painfully tumbling out into the Braintree FC car park.
It’s around this moment I make a mental note not to accept any offers of a lift to far off away games from Kev.
Gareth rolls in a few minutes later, just in time for kick off and as we discover we have a ‘new’ face on our bench. After an short break with the illustrious Bromley, Eddie Akuamouah is back in a U’s shirt. Obviouslythe experience of the footballing cathedral of joy that is Hayes Lane was just too much for poor old Eddies fragile mind to deal with. Or maybe they were just crap.
In the oppo line up is Sam Keevill. Remember him?? He seems to have found his way to deepest Essex via Basingstoke and then Chelmsford.
The first half itself is very very dull. It’s plain to see why Braintree are finding it hard. They have the better of the possession, but their impact in the final third is pretty woeful. Although thats not to say we’re exactly setting the world alight either! With most of our passes going astray, Gray & Fowler have little supply to work with. The main cuplrits are our wide players, who find touch with at least 75% of their passes.
The home side’s only real chance in front of goal goes begging around 25 minutes in. A movement down the left gets behind the Sutton defence and a low ball is delivered across the U’s 6 yard box. With Pape stranded, a Braintree striker slides in at the back post with Brooker, but toes hs effort the wrong side of the post.
The U’s unfortunately have to wait until the last knockings of the half to test the home ‘keeper. Matt Fowler weaving his way into the box sees his near post strike clawed away by Cately in the home goal.
Soon after the refs half time whistle sends us heading for the bar to warm up. Christ I hope the 2nd half is better than that!
Fortunately, it is marginally better. The U’s come out with a bit more purpose and start to boss proceedings a lot more. Within a couple of minutes of the restart, a Bolt free-kick from wide on the left is headed just wide of the near upright by Corbett. 2 minutes later, a Matt Gray cross is whipped in from the same side and Nick Bailey’s excellent downward header from 8 yards is saved right on the line by Cately.
Despite having most of the play, Braintree hit back and just before the hour, Pape has to backpedal rapidly to tip a looping header over the bar from a deep free-kick.
More Sutton pressure fails to tell and as it looks just like a disappointing 0-0 is on the cards, we make one of our string of corners count. Bolty plays one of his short 1-2 routines with Gray and swings the ball into the box. Fowler loses his marker and stoops to bullet a header past Cately and finally put the U’s ahead.
Bolt is replaced soon after and Honey comes in to bolster up the midfield. Eddie also makes a brief appearance and looks quite sharp, with one chance being denied to him as the ball is pinched of his toe as he lines up a shot.
Like the 1st half, the home side manage to get forwards, but fall down badly around our box. Their only chance of rescuing a point comes when the ball is cheekily backheeled through the U’s defence. But Pape is near enough to beat the oncoming striker and save at his feet.
So, the U’s hang on for the 3 points in what was a rather poor game. Still, it nudges us up a spot to 4th!
We head for some results in the bar and a livener before jumping into Gareth’s slightly-larger-than-Kevs little sporty car and head back to Sutton for a nice realxing evening sesh in the boozer.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Matt Fowler. Just for the goal.
ENTERTAINMENT : 4. Three points, but a very dull match against rather poor oppo………
TEAM : To Be Confirmed……..
SUBS : Akuamouah, Honey
THE REFEREE’S A………Didn’t notice him to be honest. But he can’t have been that bad as the game was so shite, there was hardly bugger all else to watch!!!