RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
SUTTON UNITED – 0
Ahhhh. It’s good to be back! Well, after what was a somewhat strange summer (it was sunny & we didn’t lose a single friendly!) it’s back to the cut and thrust of the Ryman Premier Division and what better to get the excitement going than an opening day trip to….er Hayes?
Hmmm. Ta for that Mr Turvey. Any chance of somewhere with at least a pub next year??
Oh hang on, scratch that. Hopefully we’ll be Conference South by then. Forget I said anything.
With Hayes being so devoid of pubs that it wouldn’t look out of place in Essex, the boys decided to make the Fullers pub at Paddington station our pre-match venue. For once, I’m the first to arrive and actually on time. It’s just for a change every other bugger is late! Belly, Bob & Gareth all rolling in around 12ish.
Several pints later and we’re heading for the somewhat busy train and the short hop to Hayes. With time to spare, we decide a swift pint in the local Wetherspoons is acceptable. As we make our way down the High Street, we first encounter the Hayes ‘Young Persons Advice Centre’. Working there must be the easiest job in the world.
“Hi, I’m a young person and I’d like some advice please…”
“No problem! I’d suggest getting the fuck out of Hayes. Here’s a travelcard. Station is 50 yards up on you left.”
Our somewhat cynical opinion of the local area is not helped just before we reach the pub. We pass a small advertising board outside a newsagents, seemingly plugging the local rag.
“Why Hayes Isn’t Crap!” screams the poster in 3 inch high letters.
Now, it has to be said that I personally have made some pretty bloody outrageous statements in my time (mostly in these reports!) but even I have to bow down humbly to the sheer pig ignorant, dumb-arsed audacity shown here.
I rue my decision not to bring my camera and then make a mental note to track down the person responsible for the headline and offer them a position at Gandermonium. That’s just the kind of material we need!
A pint later, we finally stagger into Church Lane at the disgracefully early time of quarter to 3. Dreadful behaviour!
Our slightly beer addled brains then register the sight of 2 tallish baldy blokes warming up for us. One is definitely Danny Hodges and the other………is it Eddie Youds??? Could it really be the ex-Premiership defender?
Actually no it’s not. It’s Glen Boosey. Reserve team midfielder.
No offence Glen mate, but…bugger!
Hodges inclusion is the only real surprise in the U’s lineup, with most of the usual faces on display.
Hayes are first on the attack, just a couple of minutes has passed before they make inroads down our left. A ball is played across the edge of the box, but the man in the red & white stripes turns and shoots over Iga’s goal.
Sutton start to settle after a few minutes and Bolt forces Bossu into an early stop when a throw in from the left lands at his feet. Turning quickly inside his marker, his low strike from 20 yards is turned aside by the large Frenchman in goal.
The match is being keenly contested in midfield, but there’s little flow with rather too many free-kicks conceded by the home side. Sadly for us, none are within the range of a certain Mr Bolt. 12 minutes gone and Fowler hassles a defender out of the ball on the corner of the Hayes area, he plays in Corbett behinde the defence, but his low cross just evades the oncoming Watson.
Hayes are soon getting into the swing of things themselves, catching the U’s with a very swift break through the middle, the resulting shot is on target, but the big ‘keeper is down quickly and parries the effort. Corbett nips in to clear any further danger.
Chances are proving hard to come by as both sides cancel each other out, mainly in the middle of the park, but the match is switching end to end quite nicely and is keeping us all entertained nonetheless. Just short of the half hour mark, Bossu is again called into action in the Hayes goal. Watson chases down one of those long balls forwards and once again manages to retrieve it on the byeline. He tries a quick ball in, but the effort is blocked but comes straight back to him. This time he puts a nicely weighted cross to the back post where Bailey has arrived. His header from less than a couple of yards out produces a great reflex save from Bossu, who then does enough with his long arms & legs to somehow prevent Bailey from tucking away the rebound before both players end up in a tangle at the foot of the post.
Within a minute, Iga himself is in action. Another attack down our right results in another shot from the corner of the box. Again the U’s man is alert and blocks the effort with his legs. 60 seconds later, he’s pulling off an even better stop when the ball gets loose on the right corner of the U’s box. A fierce low drive is virtually dragged back by his outstretched hand having seemingly got past him.
The game then switches straight up the other end with a good Sutton move down the left. Corbett gets clear and plays a ball into the box that’s half cleared and comes to Bolt on the edge of the box. He twists & turns past a defender and pulls a full stretch stop out of Bossu, who fingertips his curling low drive around the post.
Bolty has the last real chance of the half 4 minutes from the break, Watson winning another ball forwards and laying it off to Danny, who lashes a volley a couple of inches the wrong side of the near post. We’re a bit surprised as its with his right foot! Somewhat unusual for our left pegged no7.
We take a wander around to the other end where Gareth & I then set about trying to get our huge flag tied up. Which proves to be something of a pain in the arse.
It’s only been to 2 games and it’s getting on my tits already! Thank god it’s only going to aways!
Sutton start the second half slowly and a foray forwards breaks down allowing Hayes to break quickly. A pass to the heart of the U’s area, but despite the promising opening the resulting shot loops well over the bar. The U’s respond promptly and a nice passing move down the left puts in Bolt. He delivers a cross into the box that Fowler manages to help on to Gray at the back post. But his shot is pulled across the face of goal.
Sutton start to have slightly the better of the play and certainly create the better chances. Corbett makes a surging run from deep before playing a pass in behind the defence. Fowler latches on and holding off a defender, fires a shot narrowly into the side netting. Watson & Bolt combine again shortly after, the big striker gathering up another ball forwards before supplying the supporting Bolt, but his delicate chip from the edge of the box is just a shade too high and drifts over at the far post.
Hayes remind us with a little under 20 minutes left that they’re still around as another quick break once again opens us up down the middle. A ball in behind the defence puts Warner 1 on 1 with Iga and as the Hayes man looks to go around our ‘keeper, Iga spreads himself and brilliantly tips the ball off Warners boot before pouncing on the loose ball.
Inside the last 10 minutes, that bloke Bossu makes one more intervention to deny us all the points. Bailey takes a quick free-kick, picking out the run of Gray to the near post. Matty’s cheeky flick looks to be sneaking inside the post until that french git once again dives full stretch and somehow fingertips the ball around the post again.
Hayes have a late threatening moment, but Corbett is on hand to block out the danger and in the end we have to settle for a hard won point.
A quick drink in the bar and we wander back to the station. Destination : Robin Hood.
Looks like we’ll have to wait until Tuesday for that win then.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Andy Iga. Made several excellent stops.
ENTERTAINMENT – 7. Not the worst 0-0 draw ever seen.
TEAM : Iga, Palmer, Hodges, Gonsalves, Gray, Akuamouah, Corbett, Bolt, Bailey, Fowler, Watson
SUBS : Collins, Boosey, Honey
THE REFEREE’S………not that bad actually. Didn’t get much wrong apart from one iffy decision in the first half when Fowler was seemingly impeded when going for a header in the box, only to have the foul given against him.