RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Bailey 19. Fowler 59]
BASINGSTOKE TOWN – 2 [McCallister 21.62]
The U’s made it 6 matches unbeaten on Saturday with this latest home draw, this time against mid-table Basingstoke. Unfortunately, this means that’s now only 2 wins from 11 at GGL and we’re still without a league win since the end of August at home. Thank god for the decent away record!
Following the amazing rugby display from that the morning (World Champions. Flippin’ ‘eck!), it’s a very happy Hood when I arrive. Gareth is already in and Dave is making his Saturday debut, having a day off due to a crib marathon the pub are holding tonight, he’s arranged his first match for 5pm.
Bloody hell. Getting a bit keen I see.
Mwahahahahaha! Once we get our hooks into you, thats it.
Greek arrives shortly after, although Chalmers is going directly to the ground having had to work. Which is a pain as it means a walk in the pissing rain for us. Arse.
With the constant rain carrying on from yesterday, it’s a very soggy GGL when we arrive. In fact, we’re a little surprised the game is actually on. The side is pretty much the one that finished Tuesdays game, with Quinton returning to the side. Nurse is up front with Fowler and new man Jinadu keeps his spot at the back with Gonsalves apparently out with a knee injury until the New Year.
We decide to brave the weather and stand behind the Rec end. Stupid eh?
Before we get round there, Matt Gray drops a clanger, letting in McAllister. But with only Iga to beat, he scoops his shot across goal and wide of the far post. It takes us a few minutes to adjust to the somewhat damp surface and our first opportunity comes after around a quarter of an hour in. Gray putting a good cross in from the right, finding Nurse at the near post, but he can’t direct his diving header onto the target.
A couple of minutes later, our next attack brings the opening goal. Bailey makes a surging run from halfway. Well, more wades from halfway, going past 2 opponents. He hits a fierce drive from around 20 yards, forcing a good stop from Tarr in the visitors goal. The ball runs loose to Fowler, but Tarr reacts well to beat out his effort also. Unfortunately for him, it’s third time unlucky for the ‘Stoke ‘keeper as Bailey snaps up the opportunity and rams the ball home from 8 yards out.
But our frailty at the back is exposed almost immediately after. The defence fails to take a chance to clear it’s lines on the left and a visting lpayer swings the ball into the box, picking out McAllister, who has peeled away from his marker at the back post and he powers a header past Iga.
The action is pretty end to end and there’s some decent footy being played by both sides despite the weather. Just shy of the half-hour, Nurse & Bailey exchange passes on the right. Bailey tries to get the ball back across to the striker, but a defender just manages to cut it out at the near post at the expense of a corner.
The last opportunity of the half comes a few minutes from the break and again, it’s a complete gift from our defence. We play a couple of square passes back & forwards along the defence and before you can say “Don’t fuck about with it on this surface” the ball gets stuck in a particularly wet area around 25 yards out. A lurking Basingstoke forward snatches up the loose ball and with a clear run at goal he then blazes his opportunity wide. A big big let off.
Naturally we leg it indoors to try & dry off a bit, deciding that standing out in the open again in the second is a no-no. We’ve done our dedicated bit!
So for the second 45, we park ourselves on the far end of the Securicor terrace. Mmmmm cosy.
It’s here I receive some bad news. It’s confirmed that my man, Danny Bolt has been released. And to make matters worse, it looks likely he’ll be joining the scummers! Bah!
The U’s start the half in determined mood and a couple of minutes in, the visitors fail to clear a corner. Bailey sends the ball straight back in from the right. Fowler dives in, but fails to meet it and only succeeds in landing in a nice big muddy puddle on the goal-line which draws an amused & ironic cheer from behind the goal. 8 out of 10 for style I reckon Matt…
Jon Nurse is soon putting himself about, flicking on a deep free-kick on the corner of the 18 yard box. Bailey manages to keep it in on the byeline beyond the far post. But with no-one to really aim for in the box, he smashes the ball low across, but Tarr reacts and just manages to smother it at the second attempt at the foot of his post.
Sutton’s pressure finally pays off on the hour mark. The lively Nurse (oo-er missus!) chases down a Jinadu long ball forwards on the left. He hassles the defender off the ball and leaving him sprawling on the sodden turf rolls the ball back into the box for the oncoming Fowler to rifle in.
But before the talk of “defending the lead this time” has died down, we’ve failed to do exactly that. Again within 2 minutes, the visitors are level thanks to hesitation in the defence. The ball pings around in the swamp on the edge of the box before dropping to a ‘stoke man around 20 yards out. His blistering strike through a crowd produces a great reaction save from Iga who beats the shot away.
But it runs free on the right and McAllister pounces on the rebound to slide the ball home from an angle.
Fowler’s reacts how we’d like to, kicking out in frustration at nothing in particular, producing a huge spray of water from the pitch.
We know how you feel mate…..
The lads keep plugging away though and with 15 minutes left, the visitors fail to clear another corner. This one falls a good 25 yards out, right in front of Eddie Akuamouah. He steps up and picks his spot, curling an effort inside the near post. Unfortunately, Scott bloody Tarr is there as well and makes a great 1 handed diving save. The git. He’s in action again immediately after when the resulting corner comes over and drops to Hanlan just inside the box. His low strike looks in as well, but again Tarr is on hand to block the effort right on the line.
He’s doing his chances of a Christmas card no bloody good I can tell you.
The impressive Nurse keeps going and with 10 minutes left another good run & cross from Gray out on the right picks out the young forward, but he goes for spectacular and shins an effort horribly wide. Nurse is on the ball again a couple of minutes later running onto a Bailey pass and cracking a first time effort that Tarr manages to tip over.
Sadly though we just can’t force a winner. Although a point is probably just about the right result from an entertaining game. Still, we’re not too depressed when we return to the pub through the rain and set about drinking lots of beer. Which helps.
Besides, we’re World Champions. So it’s not all bad eh?
Now, what was that song about Chariots again?
MAN OF THE MATCH – Jon Nurse. Looks an excellent prospect. Just shaded Bailey.
ENTERTAINMENT – 7. Despite the conditions & the result, not a bad game at all!
TEAM : Iga, Palmer, Quinton, Jinadu, Akuamouah, Gray, Honey, Bailey, Hanlan, Fowler, Nurse
SUBS : Hamlin, Fletcher, Dray
THE REFEREE’S………probably one of the best we’ve had this season. Brave decision to play the game, then let things flow & actually used some common sense by allowing for the conditions during the game. That’s all we want for fucks sake!