RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
FORD UNITED – 3 [Poole 22p.30. Fiddes 45]
SUTTON UNITED – 4 [Bolt 43. Bailey 45.46. Gray 54]
Another Saturday, another Ryman Premier Division adventure.
This week, it’s Ford United who have the pleasure of our company. The Essex side in their first season started slowly, but are currently one the form sides since Xmas, especially at home.
A home that in the last couple of months has become something of a happy hunting ground for them as they slowly edge up the table towards safety. Sadly, it would seem a repeat of the storming 4-1 win at GGL is not apparently on the cards.
I roll up at Liverpool Street & find Bob & Cathy enjoying a beer outside the pub. Gareth rolls up 20 minutes later, looking rather fragile! Heavy night mate?
Thanks to the marvellous state of the British transport infrastructure, namely in this case, the Central Line, we’re having to go the arse about face way to Barkingside where Ford reside. One train to Ilford later and we park our arses in the local ‘Spoons for a beer or 3. Mr Chalmers, working over in Canary Wharf is heading over to join us. He finally shows up, just as we’re leaving! Bowling up the high street as we head for the bus stop.
Unfortunately, our usual well timed departure from boozer to ground fails on this particular occasion. The bus is late & takes twice as long as expected to arrive in Barkingside. Add to this the 10 minute hike from the high street and we roll into the ground 5 minutes after kick off. Not that we’ve missed anything action wise.
We soon discover though that the side is looking a little thin today. Mark Watson is out with a back injury and Lewis Gonsalves has pulled up in the warm-up. So a little reshuffle is required. Scott Corbett drops in on the left of defence, a not-quite-fit Danny Hodges starts. Matt Gray gets a shot up front with Fowler.
Apparently nothing of any note occurs in our absence and not much happens in the next 5 minutes either! The game springs into life with 11 minutes gone though when Nick Bailey slips a ball through the Ford defence. Matt Gray races onto the pass, pulls away from his marker and raps the base of the near post with a first time shot.
Both sides then spend the next few minutes doing not very much at all. But on 22 minutes, the rather threadbare looking surface makes it’s first contribution. A ball in from the left looks to be cleared by Corbett. But an ugly bounce wrong foots both him and Dunn. Tommy manages to get a hand to the ball to stop it going in and Brooker gets back to try & clear. Unfortunately, he only manages to find a lurking Ford player on the edge of the box. Danny Hodges can’t cover quickly enough and his challenge only succeeds in conceding a penalty. Oh rats……
Poole sends Tommy the wrong way and puts the home side 1 up. The shaky U’s defence is exposed again soon after. A bouncing throw in catches out Corbett again and the resulting ball into the box from the left is just touched wide of Tommy’s far post.
Sutton manage to respond not long after. Our own throw in is allowed to bounce on the edge of the box. Danny Bolt, turns on the loose ball, but fires his opportunity over the bar. Within a minute, our already thin line up is further reduced. Matt Fowler crashes to the ground challenging for the ball. To our disgust, the ref plays on for a while. Cheers mate.
Whatever Matty’s done, it’s ended his afternoon. The injury catches our bench on the hop a bit and while they decide which of their 2 subs to throw into the breach, we go further behind. A simple ball ‘over the top’ catches our defence napping and Poole races in. His first touch is excellent considering the surface and he slips the ball past the advancing Dunn to make it 2-0.
Foreheads are slapped. “Bollocks” is uttered and we’re all feeling slightly sceptical about getting those goals back. Dean Hamlin then appears and moves to the right of defence. Bailey goes up front with Gray and Corbett slots into midfield.
With the bit between their teeth, Ford press for the third goal that would surely kill us off. With 10 minutes to half time, another big ball into the box catches everyone out and just flies wide of an upright.
Then, with 2 minutes left in the half, a breakthrough at last! The U’s win a rare free-kick on the right hand corner of the 18 yard box. Bolty (who else!) lines up the shot. The home side obviously don’t learn their lessons very well. Quite how they could forget DB’s 30yard missile at GGL is beyond me! Danny thumps the ball inside the poor 2 man wall and towards the near post. The ‘keeper seems to have it covered, but to our delight it goes right underneath him and pops up into the roof of the net.
Woo hoo! Game on!
Well, for about a minute anyway.
We just don’t learn. Another ball over the top catches out or dozy defence and this time it’s Fiddes racing through. He draws Dunn off his line, before clipping the ball delicately over his head.
Bollocks. Well, that showed ’em didn’t it!
But to the boys credit, our own response is immediate. Again a free-kick is won a good 35 yards out. Ford are a bit more cautious this time and set up a decent wall. But the ‘keeper seems a little unsure of exactly where he wants them. “Yeah, move it!” one of our lads behind the goal offers. The ‘keeper obviously touched by such kindness does exactly that. Er….
This of course gives Bolty the perfect target. He whips the ball towards the back post, the ‘keeper hesitates and Nick Bailey slides in to tuck the ball between his legs and reduce the arrears again. The half time whistle blows almost straight after.
We adjourn to the bar to watch the grand national. Most are disappointed. But, Chalmers, the master gambler has a right result. It turns out from the 4 nags he’s backed, 2 finish 1st and 2nd. Netting him just over a 100 quid.
The jammy tosser! Quick, somebody grab him before he escapes. It’s his round!!!
Back out for the 2nd half, we feel a little better about things. Only a goal down, we’re in with a chance. Within 60 seconds of the restart, we’re feeling even better about life in general.
A pass from midfield finds Matt Gray outpacing his marker again. This time, he turns the ball across the 6 yard box and with the ‘keeper once again failing to deal with the situation, Nick Bailey nips in at the back post to gleefully stab the ball home & level up the scores.
Ooooh, exciting innit!
With the match certainly swinging our way, it’s now the turn of the home defence to look a little wobbly. The U’s press forwards and after 53 minutes, go ahead for the first time in the match. Another ball out of midfield is aimed in Gray’s direction. It’s a little bit long, but despite the defender and ‘keeper both closing in, Matty chases down the ball anyway. His persistence pays off. The defender and ‘keeper both leave the ball for each other. Big mistake.
Gray takes advantage, nips in and hooks the ball from between the 2 of them, towards the unguarded net and inside the near post. Woooo Hooooo!
Bob returns from the food bar. And he’s pissed off! Some rather slack service had caused him to turn his back on the action at the crucial moment and he’s missed the goal. Oh dear. I hope the burger is a good one mate.
The Motormen are now struggling to contain the resurgent U’s, Nick Bailey nods a ball down to Bolt, but for once the ‘keeper holds onto his 20 yard strike. It’s not until the 68th minute that Ford manage to cause the U’s defence any problems. A corner from the left isn’t cleared properly and is promptly volleyed straight back. Hodges arse intervenes and concedes another corner.
Sutton continue to cause problems for the home defence and just inside the last 15 minutes Hodges nods down a Bolt corner from the right. Matt Gray pounces, but giudes his own header just wide of the far post. Paul Honey then hobbles off and Craig Brown comes on to fill in on the right of midfield. He and Hamlin combine well and keep the Ford left side more than occupied!
With time running out, Bolt chips a little ball over the deep defence. Brown races onto it and goes for goal, he’s forced a little wide and can only pull his shot across the face of goal.
Despite plenty of injury time, the U’s hang on for 3 excellent battling points and we head for the bar and some results. As we watch ‘Final Score’ comments about K’s draw at Grays gets some not-very-discreet comments from 2 Ford ‘suits’ stood in front of us. “K’s were a good side, they were just crap, how did we lose a 3-1 lead to that lot?”
Cheers mate. Gracious in defeat I see. Shame we didn’t have a full strength side out mate. We’d probably have got fucking ten.
Then, smugly, it’s off back to Ilford once more via the bus for some further refreshment.
A lot later, it’s time for the Sutton United Philisophy & Ale club to adjourn it’s latest meeting in the Robin Hood Public House. Who said us footy fans were uncouth?
We won’t mention the discussion about the crisp packet though.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Matt Gray. Took his chance up front again.
ENTERTAINMENT : 8. Tecnically? Not that great. Incident & goals? Top notch!
TEAM : Dunn, Brooker, Palmer, Hodges, Corbett, Akuamouah, Honey, Bailey, Bolt, Fowler, Gray.
SUBS : Hamlin, Brown
THE REFEREE’S………crap. Another 2-bob homer. In fact, another standard issue Ryman clown. Thankfully, we made good use of the few things given our way.