SURREY SENIOR CUP 2nd ROUND
SUTTON UNITED – 5 [Nurse 24. Fowler 26. Honey 45. Gray 47. Gonsalves 65]
FARNHAM TOWN – 0
Tonights’s SSC tie with Farnham was always expected to be a bit of a cruise with the oppo currently lying near the foot of the Combined Counties League. A league with sides that our friends in Wombleville have been putting 5 or 6 past pretty regularly this season.
And when you consider the last time we met this lot in the SSC 5 years or so ago, we won 7-0, you can understand why we’re not expecting too much trouble.
Having foraged for food in the High Street, it’s down to West Street and a pint or two in the Hood. Gareth & Dave are already in attendance. AFCWomble ‘Big’ Dave has also decided to join us again this week. Obviously doing a bit of scouting to see if Farnham are any better since their 4-1 against them earlier in the season. Bob rolls in soon after. ooh full house!
There’s a chill in the air as we head down to the ground and upon arrival, there’s a rather eiree mist sitting at ground level on the pitch, the glow of the floodlights making it look like a big white blanket.
With Fowler back from flu and Matt Gray finding his way here (sorry Matt! hehe!) we’re fielding a fairly full strength side tonight. Early observations on the vistors are that their ‘keeper is a bit small and their no10 reminds some of the older hands of the legend that was Robin Seagroatt. And it’s not for his footy skills either.
From the off, the match is basically one sided. Nurse heads wide from our first corner after a minute or two, Hanlans run & pass finds Bailey on the left, but his shot bobbles well wide. Hanlan makes another run soon after, laying the ball off for Fowler inside the box. But Matty hasn’t ogt his eye in yet and pulls the shot over the bar.
The visitors defence aren’t helping thier cause much either, with some somewhat dodgy clearances and dawdling on the ball when it should be hoofed upfield. The U’s win several corners just by lightly hassling their opponents.
Matt Gray in particular is enjoying himself, giving the no11 tasked to mark him a terrible time. But thankfully for him, most of the crosses aren’t quite what we’d expect. I check my watch. Christ, we’ve had nearly 20 minutes and the ‘keeper hasn’t really had a save to make yet!
Right on cue, Nurse & Fowler combine on the edge of the area sending Matt clear. His low shot forcing a good 1 handed stop from McArthur. Farnham’s inability to keep the ball under even the slightest pressure costs them dear on 24 minutes. Nurse robs a dithering midfielder some 30 yards out and with little on, makes a run towards the edge of the box before rattling a shot past the ‘keeper inside his near post from 20 yards. 4 in 4! Not bad Nursey-baby!
A bit like some of the local buses, where you wait ages for one then there’s another right behind. Well, having waited those 24 minutes for the deadlock to be broken, a second goal follows almost immediately. Jon Nurse feeds a good pass through the defence for Fowler to run onto. He tuns inside a defender, skips round the ‘keeper and rolls the ball home to make it 2-0.
Within a few minutes, our view becomes slightly more obstructed as a thick blanket of fog drifts in off Collingwood Rec. It’s not impossible to see the opposite end, but it’s certainly not bloody helpful if you’re trying to see what’s going on with the intention of writing a match report.
Because of this, I can only really report a couple of incidents near the break. Matt Fowler recieves a ball just inside the box on the right. He holds it up and then lays it off for the supporting Gray, who drives his shot across goal & just wide of the far post. Then as we’re waiting by the tunnel for the break (and straining to see just what’s happening!) Fowler plays in Nurse down the right, he pulls the ball back from the byeline finding Bailey on the edge of the box. Nicky lays the ball inside for Honey and he curls a lovely effort round the ‘keeper and in off the far post to make it 3-0 at the break.
A quick snifter in the bar and a brief glimpse of the Man Utd game and we’re back outside, hoping the ref hasn’t decided to call it a night due to the gloom hanging over GGL. Thankfully, he’s still satisfied that it’s playable and the match will restart.
I bet the visitors wish it hadn’t to be honest as with only a couple of minutes gone, Matt Gray races out of the murk on halfway and flies past his man, before cutting infield across the edge of the box and past another 2 defenders before driving low into the bottom far corner. 4-0.
Nurse is withdrawn for Danny Dray just before the hour allowing Eddie Akuamouah to try his luck up front. And chances keep coming at a reasonable rate, Bailey driving a fierce shot in that the ‘keeper can only block, but Eddie can’t quite turn the ball back onto the target.
With all the pressure coming their way, you’d think the Farnham defence would be trying everything to keep the ball AWAY from their goal. But instead they decide to try & help us out, the No5 intercepting Folwers low centre before driving it inches wide of his own far post! From the resulting corner out on the left, Eddie hooks the ball just over the bar at the near post. Immediately after, Bailey is clear in the box but drives wide of the mark.
Just after the hour, things go from bad to worse for the visitors. Gray goes on another run down the right, skipping past one defender as if he wasn’t there. He doesn’t quite make it past the 2nd though as the no5 simply steps in and blocks him out, an act that earns him his second yellow of the night and with little complaint, he trudges off leaving his 10 collegues to battle out the remaining 20-odd minutes.
On 65 minutes, a Matt Gray cross finds Dray at the back post and he heads it back into the danger area. Eddie hits a shot that the keeper beats out and a defender nicks the ball off the toe of Gonsalves at the expense of a corner. Not to be denied, Lewis meets the resulting corner with a glancing header and it drops inside the far post to make it 5-0.
All the while, the fog has been steadily clearing and soon we can clearly see Iga at the far end again. No doubt incerdibly bored and freezing his tits off.
With all our subs used, the game tails off a bit and with under 15 minutes to go, the visitors win their first corner of the match after a wayward backpass to Iga. Obviously Andy wasn’t quick enough to get out of the deckchair he’d brought out with him to make things more comfortable for the second half. The resulting kick is comfortably headed clear and Andy’s soon back in his seat.
For the last 10 minutes, the U’s decide to mount a ‘Set up Eddie’ campaign as all the chances seem to fall his way. But he either meets the stubborn McArthur, who blocks 2-3 efforts or he’s not able to find the target. The closest we come to adding to our tally is with a couple of minutes remaining. Eddie gets into the box down the right & picks out Fowler at the near post, but Matt’s shot thumps back off the bar.
So, only the 5 tonight, but to be honest the job was already done by half-time. Although I think keeping Jon Nurse on instead of Fowler might have got us a couple more as the visitors defence were completely out on their feet at the end. All of them going down at least once with cramp in the last 10 minutes.
But the important thing about tonight is the reward. We get to have the pleasure of hosting our lovely near neighbours again! I’m sure they’ll be more than eager to pop over and try to atone for their complete non-performance last season.
Bring it on.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Andy Iga. For managing not to die of boredom or contract hypothermia!
ENTERTAINMENT : 7. Job done. Could have been a real rout but we never quite got out of 1st gear.
TEAM : Iga, Gray, Palmer, Gonsalves Quinton, Akuamouah, Hanlan,Bailey, Honey, Fowler, Nurse
SUBS : Dray, Fletcher, Hamlin, Tydeman
THE REFEREE’S………strangely ok! Displayed some rare common sense for a Surrey official when considering whether the 2nd half should start because of the fog. Most would have just abandoned it. Also let play go where possible and only got his cards out when required. Sent someone off too for two bookable offences!