RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Hanlan 18. Bailey 53]
AYLESBURY UNITED – 2 [Bubb 61. Glynn 80]
Despite the pony nature of the season so far for the U’s, we’ve not had too many draws. Obviously JR & the squad had also noticed this and thought they’d tot up a quick double. Hence tonight’s single point when we really wanted/needed all 3.
Still, clashes with the ducks are rarely dull. Last season we had the pulsating 3-2 win here at GGL when the visitors nicked a last minute equaliser before Nick Bailey legged it up the other end an nicked a winner that was even more last minute. Then there was the 4 goal romp at their place, where we not so much roasted ‘em, but had them served up with those little pancakes and a nice ho-sin sauce.
Still, we were on form then and they weren’t. Tonight should be a bit more even with us both floundering around at the shitty end of the table.
I wander into the Robin Hood & find Gareth in place, already enjoying a pint with our latest recruit. Yep, we’ve corrupted another one. And just like the Greek bloke, no bribery, threats or blackmail were used! What makes Dave’s choice all the more puzzling is that he’s had first hand experience of seeing our depressed faces as we wander into the pub after a game demanding he sell us alcohol to dull the memory of another terrible 90 minutes.
Still, he’s lucky. His job at the pub only allows him to attend matches on the Tuesdays, so the mental torment & crushing disappointment should have a lesser effect. Lucky sod.
We arrive at GGL just in time for Dave to buy himself a shirt and to see the lads run out. JR has decided to go with a more solid midfield this evening, with Bolt dropping to the bench & Quinton moving into the centre. Matt Gray returns on the right. The visitors are fielding Kevin Davis in goal, currently on loan from our good selves.
The first half is pretty dull. Neither side really gets hold of the match, although the U’s have the only 2 real efforts of note in the first 20 minutes. First a free-kick from the left is delivered low to the near post by Bailey. Fowler touching it on and having it deflected into the side netting. Our next effort of note ends up putting us ahead.
Another free-kick on 18 minutes is cleared straight back to Bailey on the left. He nods the ball infield where it drops for Matt Hanlan on the edge of the box. He rides one challenge, before thumping a dipping half volley over the stranded Davies. Corker!
Hanlan is carrying his good performance over from Saturday and on 26 minutes he gets to the byeline, crossing from the left. Watson, well placed in the centre, can’t quite get his head over the ball and heads over the bar.
The action continues to be sparse, with the Ducks first serious effort coming after around 30-odd minutes. A fierce, angled 25yard drive fired straight into the body of Andy Iga. Watson almost creates a second goal on 41 minutes. Chasing down a ball into the right corner, he turns an thumps a low drive across the 18 yard box. Davies pounces on the ball, but the pace of the ball & greasy surface causes it to squirm away from him and a defender boots it out for a corner.
Aylesbury have the final word in the half though, virtually right on the whistle a cross comes in from the right, with a Ducks man somehow heading over the bar from close range. Thank god!
The half time retreat to the bar is used more as an excuse to get out of the poxy drizzly rain than anything else.
Having ended the first half with that chance, the visitors come out for the second 45 firing. A header from a cross on the left zips across goal, then a short ball behind the defence forces Iga off his line to smother the ball at the feet of an oncoming attacker. They keep the pressure up and 5 minutes in a deep cross, again from the left, is headed back from beyond the back post. Fletcher hooks clear with Iga struggling.
But despite this flurry of activity, the next goal comes from the mighty U’s. Hanlan playing the ball over the Ducks defence to a ever so slightly offside Nick Bailey. To our amazement, Bailey’s and of course the Aylesbury defence, the lino keeps his flag down! Nick legs it into the box, skips round Davies and rolls the ball into the net. Ok, so it was dodgy as fuck, but with the way we’re going at the mo, we’ll take what’s going ta!
Tony Quinton shows a nice turn of pace on 56 minutes, going past 2 before driving a shot straight at Davies. But, on the hour, Aylesbury finally score the goal they’ve been threatening since the re-start. A cross in from the right is headed back across goal, finding the tricky Bubb some 8 yards out. Despite the attentions of 2 defenders between him & the goal, he fends them both off and flicks the ball past Iga and into the net. A good finish, but really really shouldn’t have been able to get the shot off.
The second half proves to be far more enjoyable than the first, with both sides playing some good stuff, but maybe lacking that vital cutting edge. Hanlan continues his fine display with a break down the left. His low cross evades Fowler in the middle, but runs for Gray at the back post. He thumps a shot goalwards, that slices up off the boot of a defender and somehow stays out of the net, dropping the wrong side of the near post. From the resulting corner, Mr Linesman decides to make amends for his earlier cock-up for the Bailey goal.
The kick comes in from the right, is knocked down in the 6 yard box before being cleared only as far as the edge of the box. Where Quinton has a shot blocked before Watson turns on the loose ball and rifles it into the goal. The ref immediately signals a goal before noticing the lino’s flag and changing his mind. Gray Fowler & Watson all race over to protest before the lino really does himself proud by flagging again, this time to get Gray booked for dissent.
Watson’s comments about ‘an embarrassment’ aimed his way sums it up pretty well.
Of course, having had this one ruled out, we were bound to concede another late equaliser.
10 minutes left on the clock and we do. Bailey chases down an Aylesbury player on the right. Shoulder to shoulder, it seems the presence of our little midfielder does the trick & their guy seemingly overplays the ball and toes it into touch. Unfortunately, the increasingly erratic ref decides a foul has been committed.
Naturally, the free-kick is floated in towards the back post, big bloke jumps unmarked and loops a header oevr Iga and into the far corner. Even as I write, I’m still not sure what pisses me off more. That fuckwit giving a complete joke of a free-kick, or our dogshit defending. JUMP with the man for christs sake!
The lads to their credit show a bit of spirit and are soon back looking for a winner. JR then decides that 2 minutes is enough for John Nurse to try & win it. A chance I’m sure he’ll have appreciated greatly.
Eddie Akuamouah, who has had a quiet game compared to saturday gets free down the left, delivering a low ball into the 6 yard box. A defender tries to cut it out at the near post, but only succeeds in screwing it horribly over his own shoulder and just over the bar. Then with virtually the last act of the match, Bailey makes a great run into the left side of the box, pulling the ball across the area through a crowd of players. But agonisingly there’s no-one there to apply the killer touch.
Another disappointing home result then. Fair play to the Ducks, they needed the points too and stuck at it, but we’ve now only picked up 2 wins at home in 10 attempts. The last one being in bloody August. We really need to start killing sides off on our own patch or we’ll never get this bloody season going.
Back in the Hood, we wind down with a couple of pints. Dave seemingly has enjoyed his first trip to GGL for some time and is soon enquiring what the seasons ‘unmissable games’ are.
Games? The most important thing is the piss up. You’ve got a lot to learn young man!
MAN OF THE MATCH – Matt Hanlan. Great goal & excellent all round performance.
ENTERTAINMENT – 6. Not a bad game. Decent 2nd half. But chucked a 2 goal lead. Feck!
TEAM : Iga, Palmer, Fletcher, Gonsalves, Akuamouah, Gray, Hanlan, Quinton, Bailey, Watson, Fowler
SUBS : Nurse, Honey, Hamlin, Bolt
THE REFEREE’S………same as saturday. Ok 1st half, shocking 2nd.