‘Orrible Urchins


Att: 502

HORNCHURCH – 3    [Stirling 8. Graham 76. Johns 81]


Please note, due to the rather awful nature of this defeat, the ‘match’ part of this report will be somewhat brief. But, fear not, all the rest of the usual bollocks is all here.

Tuesdays exit from the FA Cup at Stortford not only cost us a good 3 grand, but the services of 2 more of an already thin squad. Honey & Akuamouah both collecting knocks. Which means the side making the trip to Hornchurch is not exactly our strongest.

I meet up with Greek bloke & Gareth at Victoria. But the opportunity of an opening time pint is denied due to the local pubs policy of ‘no football colours’. So it’s decided to grab some scoff & head towards Upminster for the game.

We find a pub near the ground & settle down to watch the seconfd half of the Scousers-Arse match on the telly. Bob strolls in soon after. Just in time….your round mate!

Telly match over, we drink up & head for the ground. Pleasingly, it’s 6 and a half nicker to get in and a quid for a proggy. Within seconds of getting into the ground (Imaginatively named ‘The Stadium’. Genius!) it’s easy to see how they can charge such a low entrance fee. The amount of advertising boards around the ground would put to shame a televised Premiership match. The programme isn’t much better.

The U’s lineup is, as mentioned previously, a bit on the sparse side. Danny Dray is given a full debut on the left in place of Akuamouah, Fletcher keeps his spot with the absence of Hodges and Hanlan takes an unfamiliar central midfield role with Honey & Corbett both unavailable.

This could be messy.

And so it is. The warning signs are there from early on when after just 5 minutes a cross from the left is met with a looping header over Iga, but thankfully it’s ruled out for offside. Respite is brief. 8 minutes gone and another raid down the left. Dray does enough and forces the guy inside, along the edge of the box. As usual, we give him all the space he wants and he drags a low shot beyond Iga and inside the near bottom corner.

We’re soon annoyed by a rather pissed-with-his-own-importance linesman who deems himself above kicking a ball sat no more than 12 inches from him back to the ‘keeper & get the game moving again. Naturally, we abuse him like the self important little prick he is.

In fact, thats the highlight of the half for us.

Bolty does manage a response for us after around 14 minutes. A rare quick break forward sends Dan clear of the hoime defence out on the left. The ‘keeper comes off his line, inviting Bolty to lob him. So he does.

Unfortunately for us, the ball drops just wide of the far post. It’s as big a sign as you can get of just how our season is going so far. 12 months ago, that would have nestled snugly in the bottom corner. Hopefully we’ll get a break sooner rather than later.

The home side understandably have most of the possession and with half-time approaching, a downward header after a throw-in bounces over Iga and pings back off the bar. Just before the whistle, Collins sneaks in at the back post to head Bailey’s free-kick into the side netting.

The second half, if it’s possible, is less interesting.

Iga has to make an early save, then another downward header from a set-piece again deceives Iga, but this time just clears his crossbar. Bolty has a long range effort around the hour mark when Hanlan plays him in. But he pulls his shot well wide of the mark.

The only other events of note are the 2 further goals the home side score to put the result beyond doubt. 15 to play and the U’s fail to clear their lines. The ball is worked to the right and a great low ball is fired in for Graham to stoop & bullet a header past Iga from close range. Several minutes later a short ball into the box from the left finds John who easily turns his man and strokes the ball into the bottom far corner.

So, a dull match ends and we head for a quick beer & results in the bar. Plus a bit of an ogle about the ‘Urchinettes’ we’d heard so much about.

We heartily approve. But a cheeky transfer offer is swiftly rejected.

The result leaves us sitting in 15th, outside that all important top 13. It’s obvious that we need a result and quick. With injuries now depleting an already way off form side, it’s important we don’t get left behind in the scramble. As sides who are just outside around the New Year are going to up their game and probably their budgets to try & avoid missing out on the new setup. I’d rather not get involved in that ta.

Mildly depressed, we head back into town and eventually find a pub open by Tower Hill. Over a pint, we briefly discuss going to gawp at that American wally currently dangling 40ft up in the air on the other side of the river. But it’s decided we’ve seen enough inactivity in a box today than we can handle and Mr Blaine is denied the pleasure of our company.

Lucky him.

MAN OF THE MATCH – Oh dear. I think we’ll skip this one……….

ENTERTAINMENT – 2. Really not very good……..

TEAM : Iga, Palmer, Fletcher, Gonsalves, Dray, Gray, Hanlan, Bolt, Bailey, Watson, Collins

SUBS : Hamlin, Williams, Gorman

THE REFEREE’S………so so. Usual run of the mill homer really.

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