RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
MAIDENHEAD UNITED – 2 [Boyce 14. Gray 16]
SUTTON UNITED – 0
Saturdays encounter with title favourites Canvey is swiftly followed by a Tuesday night trip to not-so-title favourites Maidenhead and the continued hunt for vital points towards that 60-odd point mark that should secure a spot in the top 13 and qualification for the new Conference thingumyjig.
Unfortuately, it would appear though that we’ve lost our ‘hunting’ hat and are currently wearing our ‘cannon fodder’ one instead until we find it again.
Now, after last night, the match report for this could be kept to a few brief lines and you’d get the full story. And if I’d not been completely knackered last night and written the report then, then you’d be getting to the ‘Referee’s bit somewhere about here.
But, I realise that we do have a realise that we have a duty to you, our dearly loved reader. So I shall proceed with the normal service.
Although, I really can’t rule out the “Half-arsed, couldn’t be bollocksed, 5 line report” not making an appearance sometime in the future!
The usual dash into town produces no problems & I hook up with Chalmers in the boozer at Paddington. A pint of ‘HoneyDew’ later and it’s off for a burger & the train. A train that’s packed with suits, all battling for a seat so that they can sit & read their Times/Independant and not stand like us commoners. Chalmers & I chuck our bags onto the large luggage rack and make ourselves at home.
We roll into York Road on time and find Gareth for our proggies. A rather disappointingly thin effort considering it’s 1.50 cost.
The U’s only change from saturdays side is Honey replacing the suspended-but-injured-anyway Corbett. Watson gets the skippers armband in his absence.
Now, I must apologise for the vague-ness of the next little bit. This was due to me spending a good 5-10 mins at the start of the game clambering around on the terrace roof supports tying up what felt like 2 tons of fucking huge St Georges flag (Thanks to Paul for the leg up & to Gareth for the round of applause afterwards……….bastard). This kind of interfered with my observation of events on the pitch.
Both sides have early chances, with the home side having a couple of near misses judging by the ‘oooohs’ from the other end (I was tying a flag remember!). Gray has a good chance, with a ball played through the middle. He runs onto it, but his shot doesn’t unduly trouble the ‘keeper. Matty is involved again soon after, putting in a cross from the right after a decent run, winning a corner. Bailey heads the resulting set piece wide of the mark.
By the time I’m done with my flag stuff & caught up on my notes, I’m just in time to witness the opening goal. Iga throws the ball out to the right for Hamlin, but he’s closely marked and is dispossessed. The ball finds it’s way into the box and to Boyce who’s got behind the defence. Despite Iga closing down the angle, he forces the ball past him and into the net.
Before we’ve had time to recover from this setback, we again lose possession on the right. A good run & cross finds Gray at the back post, unmarked of course and he has the simple task of heading home.
Er, lads, you may remember we’ve discussed this before. But, as I’m a nice bloke, I’ll run it by you one more time.
PLEASE MARK OPPONENTS IN THE FRIGGING PENALTY AREA!
Got that? I bloody hope so.
The lads try to pull themselves together and on 20 minutes a free-kick is won. Bolty of course takes it. His effort is charged down, but runs to Honey who plays it into the box. Watson flicks on and Bailey pounces on the ball. But his first time shot from a tight angle is blocked. Bolt has another go just before the half-hour from 20yards out. This time his effort zips just over the bar.
On 37 minutes a throw in from the left finds Bailey. He turns inside his man into the box and with a sight of goal his effort is again blocked by a good last ditch challenge. With the half almost up, Hamlin makes a break down the right and delivers the ball into the box, picking out Bolt just inside. He chests the ball down, but hooks his shot well over.
But, once again, our poor marking from crosses almost kills us off right on the whistle. A corner from the left is played towards the near post, of course finding it’s target unmarked. Fortunately, Akuamouah stands his ground on the post and hooks the ball off the line.
We head for the bar, as we need a drink and some results would be nice as well.
The second half naturally sees the home side sit back a little more, allowing us a bit more time to play. Sadly, our passing is not as crisp as it should be and a lot of moves break down on the final ball.
One Gray cross from the left is too high for Watson lurking in the middle. Watson turns inside the box and lays off for Bolt to snap a shot across goal and wide of the far post. He gets closer a couple of minutes later when another move down the left. The ball is pulled back to him on the edge of the box and he unleashes a blistering drive that beats the ‘keeper hands down, but is always rising and skips off the bar.
JR throws caution to the wind and throws on Collins & Williams for Fletcher & Bolt with around 20 to play. Williams immediately catches the eye with his eager approach and his good first touch. He’s soon involved & with one good run down the left, his ball finds Akuamouah with a sight of goal. But once more, a challenge comes out of nowhere at the crucial moment & the shot is blocked.
We keep trying, but there’s still an element of frustration about our play as more and more, when players come into possession, they’re too hurried in moving it on thus losing possession cheaply when taking a touch and playing a measured pass is the much better option.
Another Hamlin run & cross from the right finds Collins, but he fails to make a decent contact with his header. Almost straight after, the largely quiet Magpies attack springs back into life and a very quick break catches us out at the back. Their No9 races in on goal and drawing Iga out, fires across the face of goal and just wide of the far post.
It’s a rare threat from the home side in the half, but despite us having a decent amount of possession, we never quite look like getting a goal.
Inside the last 10 minutes, Collins battles his way towards goal before hitting a shot from the corner of the box. It’s deflected, hits a defender, hits another, rebounding towards goal & forcing a save from the keeper. A couple of minutes later, Bailey swings in a free-kick from the left that the ‘keeper elects to leave. He’s very relieved to see it slip inches wide of his far post!
With time running out, Collins forces a save from the ‘keeper with a 20 yard shot after another good run from deep and then chases a lost cause to the byeline, hooking it back across the box, straight over the head of an unmarked Watson.
The fact we’re getting ‘nil’ is confirmed when Bailey slips a lovely ball in for Watson and with a clear sight of goal and the ‘keeper to beat, is robbed by another of those last ditch tackles.
I think we’ll be off now.
Heading back to the Hood for a pint, my night is made worse as Gareth & Chalmers insist on playing the ‘Darkness’ album most of the way home and my ears are assaulted with the wailings of Mr Justin Hawkins. A two-bob Freddie Mercury wannabe who frankly needs strangling.
And I’m just the man for the job.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Eddie Akuamouah. Only consistently dangerous player out there.
ENTERTAINMENT : 5. Very frustrating. We’re much better than this.
TEAM : Iga, Hamlin, Akuamoah, Palmer, Fletcher, Gonsalves, Bailey, Honey, Bolt, Watson, Gray.
SUBS : Collins, Gorman, Williams
THE REFEREE’S……..bloody weird! Generally let the play go, but made some bloody strange decisions.