RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Bailey 84]
BILLERICAY TOWN – 2 [Anson 36. Douglas 70]
The boys returned to action after the disappointing Trophy exit of last week, with another home game, ironically against the side Havant had put out in the previous round, Billericay.
Wandering into the Hood just after 2 (frigging buses!), only Gareth is present. Chalmers and Bob electing to stay in and catch the Man U-Chelsea game on the box beforehand. We decide to pre-order our progs this week and a quick text to our secret contact (cheers Alison!) at the club bags us 3.
Bob appears just before we set off for the ground, with Chalmers making his usual late dash!
The U’s have been forced into a couple of changes today. Corbett and Pape are both missing through injury and are replaced by Honey and Ribolla. Hmmm, Ribolla again? Makes you wonder just what the fuck is going on with Tommy Dunn to be honest? Sent out on loan to get ‘experience’ and here we are relying on a younger, less experienced ‘keeper as back up! Confused? Well, we certainly bloody are.
The visitors come to GGL with the best defence in the league and unbeaten away from home from October…hmmmm suddenly I get a real feeling of the ‘BBCs’. (A “BBC” – Feeling one gets when faced with one of those repeats you’ve seen a hundred times before.)
The U’s start well enough, attacking the visitors goal with purpose. Matt Fowler has our first real chance after about 8 minutes. Outpacing the defence for a ball over the top, he spots John in the ‘Ricay goal off his line and tries to chip the ball over him. But the ‘keeper regains enough ground to stretch and beat away the effort one handed.
Sutton then immediately lose stand in captain Danny Brooker to a hamstring injury and he’s replaced by Darren Beale.
The visitors hit back within 2 or 3 minutes, a cross from our right picks out a ‘Ricay forward, but with Ribolla stranded, he sees his header thud back off the face of the crossbar. Danny Bolt then puts a tricky cross in from the left that sees fowler challenging John for the ball, but the ‘keeper manages to calim the ball at the 2nd attempt.
The game then dies a bit of a death with neither side producing much. But it’s the visitors who have the lions share of the possession.
With nothing much to entertain or distract us, we start to notice the rantings of ex-Aldershot manager bloke and ‘Ricay ‘Coach’ George Borg. Whose touchline chatter seems to consist of screams of “LINO!!!” or “FUCKING…..(insert unintelligable word here)”. And of course the unforgettable “FUCKING LINO!!” we’re treated to a couple of times! But “LINO!” seems to be his favourite as he’s up shouting it as soon as the ball comes within 40 yards of the ‘Ricay goal. He sounds like one of those 3 year olds you encounter ocassionally at family gatherings, that sees something thats entirely new to thier infant eyes. And they just HAVE to run around screaming it to every adult in a 6 mile radius who knows perfectly well what the hell it is.
“Look look!!! Linesman!! LINESMAN!! LIIIIINNNNNEEEEESSSSSSMAAAAAAAAN!!!!”
Yes George. Well done. It’s a linesman. Now we’re perfectly aware that you’ve spotted the referee’s assistant, now please sit down and shut the fuck up will you? There’s a good chap. You’re giving me a headache.
We pray quietly that one of ol’ George’s screams actually distracts the linesman for a brief moment, allowing him to miss a fucking glaring great offside which allows us to score. Sadly, the man upstairs appears to have his answer machine on. As per normal.
Bloody deities. Never around when you need ‘em eh?
Sutton break the visitors spell of possession with a Matt Fowler run to the byeline. He pulls the ball back for the oncoming Hollands (I think!), but with the target looming large, a defender makes a last ditch block of his shot.
With half time approaching (go on, admit it, you just KNOW whats coming now don’tcha!) the U’s are once more pushed back by concerted Essex-type pressure. And after a string of corners etc, we finally succumb (see, I told you I knew that you knew what was coming next!). Another corner isn’t properly cleared. It’s nodded back into the area, helped on with another header before one final nod from the loops the ball beyond the dive of Ribolla and into the back of the net.
Barely a minute later and it very nearly gets worse. The U’s tendency to back off approaching players almost kills us off before the half time tea has finished boiling. A ball across the 18 yard box reaches the ‘Ricay No6 in acres of space. He hits a wicked curling 1st time effort that crashes against the angle of the post and bar and somehow out of play.
The U’s response comes right on time. Paul Honey flings a high ball into the box. Watson manages to outjump his marker at the back post, but glances his header just wide.
And so we head to the bar with another rather iffy first 45 minutes added to the growing list of iffy 1st 45 minutes……..
Again, it seems a good talking to has been dished out in the home dressing room as the lads once again start a 2nd half by taking the game to their opponents. Within a couple of minutes of the restart, a deep Matt Gray throw finds Fowler almost on the byeline. He turns away from this marker before being bundled over between him and another defender. Our shouts for a penalty go unheard.
Another Gray throw in gives us a chance with 54 minutes on the clock. He drops the ball to Bolt’s feet and he lays the ball back up the line for the youngster to fire in a good cross. He picks out Wtason, once more at the back post, but his header is straight into the midriff of John. Almost immediately after, Matt Gray cuts in from the right and tries his luck from the corner of the box. The effort is deflected off a defender and into the path of Bailey, whose snap shot is well blocked by John. The little midfielder recodvers the rebound and dinks a ball across the face of the goal, under the crossbar and beyond the back post where a Mark Watson lunge fails to apply the finishing touch.
Sutton keep on pressing with the visitors much vaunted defence content to sit and soak up what we throw at them. On the hour, another Gray cross picks out Watson, this time at the near post. He controls and as he turns a defender slides in, seemingly taking the ball with his hand. A louder appeal for a pen this time, but again, no joy.
Of course, having had all the play and pressure, ‘Ricay naturally go and stick away their first sight of goal of the half. A throw in from the left finds ex-Grays hotshot, Andy Douglas with the freedom of GGL 20 yards out. He turns on the loose ball and thumps a perfect looping half volley over the stranded Ribolla and into the far corner.
Rats and indeed, cocks.
This setback has the usual affect of stunning us into complete inaction for the next couple of minutes and Billericay almost seal the match with a laughably easy short corner routine. The ball is rolled up the byeline to a loosely marked Blue shirt. He turns and cuts the ball back for another even more loosely marked blue shirt to smash a shot at Ribolla from around 8-10 yards. Thankfully, young Jamie is on his toes and pulls off a great reaction save to tip the ball over for a corner.
JR immediately introduces Eddie to the fray and he proceeds to not touch the ball until about 10 minutes into his 15 minute cameo.
But with time once again running out for the U’s and a 2 goal defecit to recover, Nick Bailey provides a ray of hope. Danny Bolt sends a beautifully weighted free-kick over the heads of the ‘Ricay defence. Bailey nips in, gets a toe on the ball to take it away from John and manages to poke the ball over the line.
Cue the by now standard frantic last 5 minutes as Sutton throw themselves forwards looking for an equaliser. But the closest they can get is another Gray cross from the right. It finds the chest of Akuamouah and he controls it perfectly. Takes a touch and spins for a snap shot only to horribly mis-kick. Arse.
So our friends from Essex become the first side to do a ‘double’ over us this season. Which in itself ain’t bad considering it’s mid-January.
We head for the Hood before an out of character detour to the Old Bank for the Southampton-Liverpool game before we then head back to our usual Saturday night haunt of the ‘Spoons.
Oh well, at least the cheap beer helps.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Nick Bailey. Looking sharp again.
ENTERTAINMENT : 5. Why do we always start to play in the last 10mins when 2-0 down?
TEAM : Ribolla, Gray, Hollands, Gonsalves, Palmer, Brooker, Bailey, Corbett, Bolt, Fowler, Watson.
SUBS : Akuamouah, Beale, Drew
THE REFEREE’S A….bit of a tosser really. Another anti-homer. We must be the only side in the world to get a completely away-biased ref EVERY time we play at home! Needless to say, this twat gave us little if nothing. Oh well, par for the course really.