Hanlan Hits 50!

RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION

Att: 393



SUTTON UNITED – 2   [Hanlan 43.65]

HAYES – 1  [OG 51]

No, we don’t mean his bloody age! He’s not that old. Although it does seem like it. We’re talking about his goal tally in a U’s shirt, you silly.

The usual suspects assemble in the Hood for our latest midweek encounter. We’re wondering just how this one will turn out as after our ranks being further decimated at Ford on Saturday, we could be missing as many as 4 first choice players tonight. Not exactly what you want when a fellow top 5 side comes a calling.

A quick pint (purely medicinal you understand!) and Paul (or Nick the Greek if you’ve been keeping track in the last couple of weeks!) gives us a lift the 2 minutes down to the ground. Lazy? Definately!

We wind up strolling in the Collingwood turnstile disgracefully early. A good 10 minutes before kick off. Pretty much the opposite of saturday’s arrival at Ford! We even manage to get a programme each! Once again, GGL is sparsely populated for a midweek fixture. Why? Because some overpaid bunch of fucking ponces are prancing around on the telly in the Makelotsofcash…..er….Champions League.

No bloody standards some people….

The U’s side is, as expected, a little changed. Missing are Watson (Back), Gonsalves (Knee) and Fowler (Hamstring). Paul Honey drops to the bench though despite having aggravated his back towards the ebnd of saturdays win. Dean Hamlin is rewarded for his impressive debut on saturday with his first start on the right of defence. Scott Corbett returns to partner Bailey in the middle and Matt Gray keeps his place up front. Surprisingly, having expected to see Craig Brown start up front with him, we find JR has elected to call in Matt Hanlan instead. Hmmmm.

Whilst waiting for things to get underway, we’re perusing the stats section of the programme. Amongst other things, we notice the aforementioned Hanlan is one of a couple of players heading for goal scoring landmarks. Needing only 2 to complete his half century. The general concensus amongst the gang is that he’s unlikely to reach that mark.

Yes, this could be classified as a definate “Oh bollocks. Did we really say that?” moment.

The game starts brightly and just 3 minutes in and early free-kick for the visitors out on the left is headed clear from the 6 yard box by Hodges. It drops to an unmarked Hayes man on the corner of the 18 yard box who thumps a terrific volley back in. Dunn leaps to tip the ball over the bar with an equally terrific save.

Sutton’s first sight of goal also comes from a set-piece. Hanlan is felled by a poor challenge out on the left, one that rightly earns his assailant a yellow card. Bailey takes the free-kick, aiming it for the heart of the box. It skips across the area, evading defenders and attackers alike before going out of play just beyond the far post. This gives the U’s a little boost and we have a good little period of play. Our first real chance comes on 15 minutes, Danny Bolt whipping in a cross from the left, but it’s just a shade too high for Hanlan at the back post, having shaken off his marker.

The same combination is involved a couple of minutes later when another free-kick from the left (Bolt again!) finds Hanlan 8yards out, but his touch lets him down and he manages to diver the ball away, rather than towards the goal. Hayes then interrupt our purple patch. An attacker is allowed to get to the byeline on the left and pull the ball back across the box. The resulting shot beats Dunn, but not the covering Hamlin behind him. The young defender booting the ball to safety.

A feature of our first meeting was the commanding display of their big number 5 (can’t remember his name and can’t be arsed to look it up!) but he’s now buggered off to Purfleet. This means set pieces from free-kicks are causing the visitors defence some concern. Another Bolt dead-ball, this time from deep, finds Scott Corbett. He knocks the ball down to the supporting Hanlan, but he doesn’t really get hold of the ball with his snap shot and the ball loops harmlessly over.

Undeterred, we keep pressing and on 34 minutes another decent opening is created. A quick, short, free-kick is taken by Bolt on the right, sending Hamlin clear down the line. He whips a good low cross into the box, beyond the ‘keeper. But a defender manages to get back and clear the ball off Corbett’s boot inside the 6 yard box.

So far, the boys don’t seem to be missing our regulars and are not only putting up a good battling performance, but having the better of the play.

Another nearly-chance comes inside the last few minutes of the Half. A ball through the Hayes defence finds the run of Hanlan on the right. He whips the ball towards the near post where Gray, covered by a defender, just misses out making contact with the ball.

Fairly happy with things so far, we look to be going in at half time level. The boys have other ideas.

Hayes fail to clear an attack and the ball is popped straight back over the defence. Bailey runs onto the ball and cuts in. He looks to have overplayed it, but manages to knock a pass into Gray towards the back post. Bossu is quick off his line and manages to block the ball at the young strikers feet. But it runs loose and Hanlan is on hand to thump the ball into the roof of the net.

Woooo hoooo!!!! Oh well, looks like Matty will get a bit closer to that 50 goal mark than we thought.

We head into the bar to warm up and catch a bit of the Champions League on the telly. Thankfully 10 minutes is about all I can stand of that nonsense and it ties in nicely with the restart of the second half.

Wandering around the ground, the U’s are at the Hayes defence from the off. One ball slilghtly overhit looks to be easily dealt with by Bossu. But he makes a pigs ear of it and ends up touching the ball clearly over the byeline. I observe this from a good 30 yards away. The linesman? Not 6-7 yards away, thinks this is a goalkick. You fucking donut, maybe it’s a goalkick on the planet Knobhead where you’re from. But here on Earth, that’s a sodding corner. Also here on Earth, you’re a useless twat lino.

Hayes muster a response to the goal defecit, moving the ball well just as they had in the first half. But again, have little to show for thier efforts. But 10 minutes into the half, a Hayes attacker gets in behind Hamlin before putting a dangerous low(ish) ball into the box. Sadly it seems his efforts are to be in vain as there’s not a blue shirt within yards of the opportunity. Fortunately for the visitors, Danny Brooker steps up and shows ‘em what they should have done. Inexplicably sticking his boot on the ball, sending it crashing into the chest of a shocked Tommy Dunn, who can’t prevent the ball from then finding it’s way inside the upright.

Oh just fucking typical. Despite having had a fair bit of possession, Hayes have created little. In fact, the only way they looked like scoring, was if we did it for ‘em.

So we did.

The goal gives the ‘Missioners’ a lift and with their tails up, the go in search of a goal of their own. Within a couple of minutes, an attacker hs drifted in from the right and put a shot into Tommy’s side netting. Not to worry, we’re soon back up the other end causing problems from our set pieces.

One of those deep Bolt free-kicks is driven into the box, but again, it somehow evades everyone, including Hodges who can’t seem to believe he hasn’t got a telling touch. 60 seconds later, we have an action replay. Bolt again delivers and this time, Hodges does get a touch with his head. But it drifts wide of the far post. Bossu’s desperate dive indicating it was a lot closer than it seemed.

Eventually though, the visitors inability to read or deal with Mr Bolt’s deliveries costs them. Bolty swings another dead ball into the box. This time, Matt gray jumps highest and he guides a looping header over Bossu, only to see it come back off the crossbar.

But hang on? Who’s the scruffy haired looking bloke lurking there? Bloody hell! It’s Hanlan again!

The veteran striker (well, he is! He plays for the vets doesn’t he?) is on hand to nod the loose ball into the empty net from 6 yards to spark gleeful celebrations amongst us pissheads.

Pah! Who said ol’ Matt wouldn’t hit his 50? Always had faith in the guy! Knew he could do it!

*AHEM!*

Do you think we fooled ‘em lads? No? I didn’t think we had….

The second goal finally sparks a serious spell of pressure from the visitors. Shortly after going ahead, Tommy is off his line to make a fantastic block from a striker who has got clear of the defence. Sutton manage a couple of break outs. The best being a Hanlan pass that finds Bolt on the left. He delays his cross, allowing Gray to make up ground before curling the ball to the back post. But Matty is always at full stretch and his diving header is high of the target.

Hayes come back again and Tommy is once more on his toes, scrambling to push away a 25yard cross-shot that zips across his area. But despite their pressure, Hayes just can’t break us down, with only a late scramble by Dunn from a corner giving us any serious concern.

Finally, the ref lets us skedaddle off back to the Hood to celebrate another home win. Again, we’re lazy bastards and Nick the Greek…er… Paul gives us another lift back down the road.

So, 3 points well won. But I have a feeling it’ll be a bit harder come Saturday. Canvey at home. And they’ve got good again recently.

Spoilsports.

MAN OF THE MATCH : Dean Hamlin. Top debut. Just where do we keep getting them from???

ENTERTAINMENT : 7. A good solid performance considering..

TEAM : Dunn,  Hamlin, Brooker, Palmer, Hodges, Corbett, Akuamouah, Bailey, Bolt, Hanlan, Gray.

SUBS : Brown, Dunne, Honey

THE REFEREE’S………another hopeless, inconsistent tosser. Unsurprising as he was yet another Sussex official. We’ve had about half a dozen of those so far this season and none could be classified above the grade of ‘Shit’.

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