Welcome To 2003!


Att: 279


SUTTON UNITED – 1   [Corbett 32]

After the good run of form before Crimbo, losing 2 of the 4 matches to the weather, the disappointing defeat at Aldershot and the frustrating 0-0 at home to Bedford means we come out of the Xmas period with only a point to our name.

With this in mind, we headed to Harrow, scene of our biggest win last season. But despite having already beaten our hosts twice, Boro are having a great season by their own recent standards. Widely tipped to be one of the 4 sides to go down, they sit towards mid-table, but have recently lost 4 on the spin. Just what we want!

The recent shitty weather had the match in doubt, but a welcome break in the constant rain allowed the match to go ahead. Despite a freakish snow shower the evening before! Nothing’s ever simple in Ryman land.

I wander into the Marylebone Hobgoblin just after Noon and find Bob already parked with a pint. I’m also just in time to catch the start of the Man Utd-Pompey game on the box. Ahhh, footy n beer. At the same time. Lovely!

Gareth joins us around 1, having missed his train into town after he spen half-an-hour searching for a missing trainer at home! Apparently it was finally located in his washing basket. Duuurrr! Talk about not looking in the obvious places first!! *Ahem!*

He then shows us his new mobile. It’s the same as Bobs. One of those clever ones that take pictures. He’s also managed to get a young lady to take a shot of her cleavage to adorn the display when he opens it up. I’m needless to say, impressed. I’ve got to get one of these bloody phones. Seems women can’t resist taking pictures of their breasts with them. (Anyone from Vodafone reading?? Fancy doing a sponsorship deal?)

We plan our departure so that we miss as little of the 2nd half of the match on telly, aiming to catch the remainder in a pub by the station. Sadly, upon our arrival, said pub is boarded up. Oh dear! Well, it was a bit of a shithole after all……..A quick wander up the road fails to produce a rumoured Fullers boozer so we give up, award Harrow a rating of ‘Shite’ in the drinking stakes and head for the ground. To our amazement, the back bar does a passable pint of Pedigree.

Oh well, time for footy.

Typically, we decide to shoot towards the far end and as we stroll round, we hold up the passage of a car trying to reach the overflow car park behind the far goal. Just as we duck out of the way and he drives on past us, Scott Corbett hoofs the ball into touch, over a small covered terrace and with a loud thud, bounces his clearance off the roof of the aforementioned car. A Mercedes no less.

Naturally, being the nice, charitable people that we are, we grass him up the moment we see the driver leave his car! Ahem! Sorry Scott. Hope Your insurance covered it.

Sutton’s line up see’s Beale keep his place, with the recovering Brooker on the bench. Looks like we’ve let poor Andy Riley have a lie in this week! Apart from that, we’re as per usual.

The match is, sadly, quite poor as entertainment goes. Very little happens in the first 10 minutes. In fact we’re more entertained by the arrival of Mr Chalmers (2 away games in a row! Whatever next!). It’s not until around the 13th minute that anything really happens. A Harrow attack on the U’s right flank by the tricky looking No3 ends with a cross to the near post. The forward getting in front of his marker and stretching Pape with a firm downward header.

Soon after, 3 quick passes through midfield opens up the Sutton defence results with a low, but underhit shot that Pape gathers and clears before launching into a very loud tirade at his defence. How loud? Well, we understood every single bloody word of it. And he used ‘fuck’ 3 or 4 times.

Dreadful. You won’t find me using language like that. Well, not in this sentence at least.

Sutton finally mount an attack after about 20 minutes and it ends with a free-kick being awarded to our right, on the corner of the 18 yard box. Naturally, Bolty delivers, swinging it just wide of the far post, with the ‘keeper scrambling a little. After this brief flurry of action, the match again becomes quite dour. The only entertainment being supplied by the oppo No8 who attempts a looping effort on the volley from around 30 yards out. We chuckle as it lands midway between Papes near post and the corner flag. Pape sarcastically signals it wide in that arms-outsretched-cos-it’s-going-wide way that ‘keepers do.

With our hosts having a lot of the ball, we’re a tad surprised after 32 minutes when Scott Corbett fires Sutton into the lead. Mark Watson gets his arse in gear and harrasses the Harrow No6 out of the ball on the left of the 18 yard box before slipping the ball to the edge of the box, where Corbett giudes a sidefoot effort into the far corner despite the ‘keeper getting his hand to the ball.

Boro rally and a couple of minutes later, another swift attack finishes with a 20 yard effort being fired into the considerable midriff of our *cough* veteran ‘keeper. The U’s difficulty in making the ball stick in the final third is highlighted inside the last 5 minutes of the half. A deep Pape clearance is knocked straight back at the Sutton defence. The ball is played in behind our retreating rearguard and the resulting shot zips wide of Papey’s far post.

Although, right on half-time, the U’s best passage of play almost brings a second goal. Danny Bolt picks up a loose ball in midfield and runs at the home defence. Drawing men in, he slides the ball into the path of Watson. He gets a shot away, but it’s blocked and then hoofed over his own bar by a covering defender.

And so, not for the first time this season, we head for the bar at half time, hoping that we can improve on a disappointing 1st half. The only difference being, we’re actually winning this time!

The second half, eventually, from our point of view is much better, but still takes a good 10 minutes or so to get going. Watson is halted illegally some 20 yards out on the left and another Danny Bolt free-kick is the result. DB picks out Corbett 5 yards out and his downward header is well saved low down by Karamoko in the Harrow goal. But the ball bounces loose and Corbett stoops to nod the ball once more goal wards. But Karamoko recovers brilliantly and snatches the ball as it heads towards his net.

Sutton now have more of the play, but it’s not until just after the hour that the next opening comes. An excellent run by Bailey ends with a goalbound shot thats blocked by both Watson and a defender. Within 60 seconds, another chance presents itself. A ball into the channel finds Bolt on the left. Hes cross is only half cut out and drops to Corbett 20 yards out. But his effort clears both bars comfortably. The one on top of Karamoko’s goal and the one behind the goal we went into to at half time!

With around 20 minuets to go, the face of the game changes. A ball down the Sutton left side is eventually cleared by Hollands before we notice the lino flagging like a loon.

What? Did he just remember an offside he missed earlier or something??? Wouldn’t be surprised if it was…

Actually, he’s seen something naughty……….and after a short discussion with the ref, a red card is shown to Davis Haule, the Harrow No8. For what, we know not. Well, until later that is, when it’s revealed he’d swung an elbow at Gonsalves as they tussled for the ball.

Bah! Dirty scummy Harrow thug! He deserved it!!! *Ahem*

Then it dawns on us. Uh oh, they’re down to 10 men. Don’t panic! Thankfully, we don’t. Well, not to start with anyway…..

Bailey is soon on the run again, this time wriggling his way through to the byeline and delivering a cross to the back post thats just too high for Watson. Then, slowly, but surely, the 10 men start to cause trouble at the other end. First the tricky and impressive No3, Ydhego drives just wide of Papes upright. Then our ‘keeper has to be off his line quickly to smother at the feet of an onrushing striker after the ball runs loose from a Lewis Gonsalves tackle.

It’s not all one way traffic and Akuamouah, on as a sub has a good chance to seal the points with a couple of minutes left. Latching onto a Bailey pass throught the defence, he shoots against the legs of Karamoko. The ball breaks free and Watson arrives at the back post. But rather than risk a first time shot, he takes a touch before lashing his effort high and well wide of the far side of the goal. Oh dear. Still got to get our eye back in eh Mark…

With time running out, the home side push up their big centre back to try & rescue something from the game. It’s the big man who has the best chance to snatch a point. Latching onto a ball over the U’s defence he races in on goal. But fortunately for us, he takes a touch too much and Pape drops at his feet to snuff out the chance and secure the points for a trip back to Surrey.

We head for the bar before ambling back to the station and another bout of TV footy (we just can’t get enough of these 11 blokes kicking a bag o’wind around), this time it’s Southampton-Spurs.

Eventually, we find a pub screening the match and settle down to watch Mr Strachan’s outfit comprehensively dismantle a woeful Sperz side. Oh dear!

I’ll leave you with comment of the day, from a disgruntled Sperz fan in the pub. When John Motson comments on the good job Gordon Strachan is doing with Southampton, Sperz man comments “If they had fucking Michaela Strachan in charge we’d still have lost”

We laughed.

MAN OF THE MATCH :  Corbett. For the goal.

ENTERTAINMENT : 5. Not a great game to be honest!

TEAM : Pape, Gray, Hollands, Gonsalves, Palmer, Beale, Bailey, Corbett, Bolt, Fowler, Watson.

SUBS : Akuamouah, Brooker, Howey

THE REFEREE’S A………fairly quiet one. Didn’t do a great deal wrong and listened to his lino when told of the elbow incident.

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