RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
SUTTON UNITED – 6 [Nurse 9. Gray 27. Fowler 60.73.84. Honey 80]
CARSHALTON ATH – 0 [Nada. Nothing. Zero. Fuck all]
(With thanks to Cathy for lending me her pen. Without which, this report probably wouldn’t have been possible!)
Oh lord. Oh sweet fucking lord. Now that’s what I call a Christmas Present!
41 years is a long time. A bloody long time. And 41 years is precisely how long since our esteemed neighbours & local rivals last recorded a league win at Gander Green Lane. The date was August 22nd, 1962 and Carshalton Athletic notched a 3-2 Athenian League win that day. And playing like this, it’ll probably be another 41 years before they break that duck.
Yes, it’s back. The LBS derby returns to our league fixture list after a 2 year absence due to the Bobbins stint in Division 1 following relegation. We have, of course, met prior to their return this season. Graham Roberts bringing his very expensively assembled Scummer side to GGL for a Surrey Cup Quarter-Final back in early March. Sadly, that night, their much vaunted XI (which would eventually scrape home to the Division 1 South title) was resoundingly outplayed, outfought and comfortably defeated 2-0 by a U’s side relying more on it’s own production line rather than some blokes cheque book.
Mr Roberts left under something of a cloud in the Summer, but with his pockets stuffed full of the clubs small change (18,000 quids worth allegedly). Now with no manager to guide them in their first season back, the Bobbins desperately turned to the only man who had managed to make them even half decent. Ever. Billy Smith. Admittedly, to our astonishment, old Bill has guided the Scummers on a somewhat outstanding run in the first half of the season which leaves them somehow sitting second in the table and 11 points ahead of our good selves. It’s like it’s 1994 again!
Thanks to this unusual state of affairs, all season we’ve had to listen to the gloating and jibes from the other side of the borough as they kept on picking up the results and we did the opposite. All thoughts turned to the 27th of December. Could this FINALLY be the year that the Bobbins would break their 41year old GGL hoo-doo? Now, until October, quite a few U’s fans would probably have thought so. We’d have taken a draw back then just to preserve the curse, no question. But, at a stroke, we binned Mark Watson & Danny Bolt (the latter ironically signing for the Scummers) and we haven’t really looked back since. Unbeaten in 11 games, 8 of those in the league, we’ve started to crawl slowly back up the table whilst the first cracks seem to be appearing in our neighbours season.
Then came last weeks comprehensive win at Bognor. Yeah, we only scored 2, but the team played as a unit for the first time in ages. We were irresistable in attack. Masterful in midfield. And importantly, looked solid at the back. Attitudes changed amongst even the most cynical U’s fan (eg. Us!) and there was hope. Hope we’d take 3 points from the biggest game of the season. So bring ‘em on! Let’s see what they’ve got.
And so, with the Xmas turkey already cold and starting to appear between slices of bread in households around the borough, we once again welcomed our neighbours to GGL….
It’s 12.30 and I wander into the Hood. As it’s semi-Xmas and a special occasion, an early drinking start is required. It also should help calm any late nerves amongst the crew. Soon all the guys (and girls!) are present and the beer and chatter is soon flowing. And the Greek is showing us his very purple leg, caused by a burst blood vessel in his shin earned playing footy last sunday. Cool!
Quarter to 3 and we decide to make the stroll down to the ground. Once in, we’re somewhat surprised to find that the Bobbins have actually brought some fans today. No doubt there is no connection between this and them currently being second in the table. And you’d be a liar and a communist to suggest so. They’re as well humoured as usual too. When Gareth comments “Bollocks” to one ditty about the Bobbins being “the best in Surrey”, a Scummer chimes up “Fuck off muppet!”. Charming as ever! Yeah, Merry Christmas to you too pal. We find the Shoebox thankfully uncluttered with Bobbins and as per normal with this type of fixture, all the old faces are out on show for the annual Scummer ‘turning-over’. Little did we realise at this point it wouldn’t be so much a ‘turning-over’ though. More a ‘vicious-cold-blooded-butchering-and-dumping-of-the-remains-in-a-shallow-unmarked-grave’
Sutton remain unchanged from Saturday’s win at Bognor. Jinadu staying in at the back and Lewis remaining on the bench. The opening exchanges aren’t much to write home about, although we do notice that on our first couple of forays forwards, we’re getting quite a bit of room on their right flank. A chink in the armour perhaps? A couple of early corners are won but come to little. Then with our first serious attack, the Bobbins defence is opened up.
Gray is fed the ball out on the right and gives his opposite number an early test with a good run down the line. He swings in a great cross to the far post, picking out the embarrassingly unmarked Fowler. He elects for style instead of simplicity, crashing his volley back off the face of the bar. The ball rebounds out to the edge of the box and with the visitors defence in complete disarray, Nurse clips the ball back over a stranded Searle and into the net. He turns & legs it towards the bench in celebration, but doesn’t get far before he’s smothered by delirious team-mates. Including Andy Iga! Bloody hell, I remember the days when it used to be Scummer ‘keepers legging it 60 yards to celebrate a goal. So 9 minutes played, it’s 1-0 and we’re going just a little wild on the Shoebox.
The goal really stings the Bobbins into action and for the next few minutes, they show a little bit of why they’ve had such a good start this season and have us on the back foot as they search for a quick equaliser. 13 minutes gone and a deep ball comes in from the left to the far post where it’s volleyed straight back across goal. But no-one in a white shirt can get the telling touch & it flies out of play. 2 minutes later and a quick free-kick from the right to the edge of the box results in a dangerous little cross into the area. But the finish is lacking and the resulting shot is scuffed horribly across goal. On 20 minutes, a rather silly free-kick is conceeded right out by the corner flag. The ball is whipped across the face of goal, but again, no Bobbin can make contact and the chance is gone.
Hanlan unfortunately limps off in this period and Lewis comes on to replace him going out to the left with Eddie moving into the middle against his old employers. Still, the U’s see out this spell of Scummer pressure along with the enforced reshuffle and on 27 minutes the persistent nuisance known as Jon Nurse draws their ponderous number 4 into a clumsy foul around 25 yards out, which earns him a yellow card. Matt Gray & Nick Bailey both stand over the ball chatting about options, but it seems Matty is taking responsibility.
“He’s going to have a crack from there…..” someone nearby comments. He does.
With an effort that Bolty himself whould have been proud of, Matty smashes the ball around the wall & past the despairing, clutching dive of Searle and into the top near corner. Cue a second short period of delirium on our little box of terracing as Matty disappears under a pile of team mates and a rather over excited ball boy. Meanwhile, Chalmers phones his scummer supporting brother who is stuck visiting the in-laws today to deliver the news his side are now 2 down. It goes a little something like this….
I think he’ll have got the message.
This second goal seems to knock the stuffing out of our rivals and for a few minutes, they’re just all over the shop. No longer the confident strutting side sat in 2nd place. We all gaze to the heavens and pray like bastards to whatever deity might be listening for a third and killer goal. Our prayers are almost answered inside a couple of minutes. Akuamouah makes a super surging run from deep right up the middle before feeding the ball into the left channel for Nurse who bursts past his marker and drawing Searle, cracks a shot low to his left only to see it thump back off the inside of the far post. Somehow, the Robins get the danger cleared.
The game has now swung firmly and unstoppably back the U’s way. Waves of attacks fall onto the already shaken Bobbins defence. Fowler takes a pass on the edge of the box before laying it coolly into the path of Akuamouah who forces a desperate save out of Searle, who then manages to gather just before Nurse can apply the killer touch. Bailey then heads on a goal-kick from deep sending Nurse clear behind the defence, but Jon snatches at the shot and it’s straight at a no doubt very grateful Searle. Before the break, the Scummers manage a rare foray forwards to remind us they’re still about, led by Danny Bolt. He plays a very good ball out to the left, giving a shooting opportunity from an angle. Iga does well to beat the shot out, with Palmer tidying up and clearing.
Mr Linington sends the sides in for the half time break and we head round to the far end to await the second half and get the flag up for it’s second home appearance. So far, so good but having hit the woodwork twice and missed a couple of other chances, there’s still a tiny feeling we could have had this done & dusted already. The Bobbins players are back out on the pitch a good couple of minutes before our lads. Giving the impression that they’re eager to try & get themselves back into the match. Dave shows up having escaped from behind the bar down at the Hood, true to his word that he’d catch the second half.
Obviously he knew something we didn’t as once the half gets underway……….it’s complete & utter fucking carnage.
From the off, Bailey swings in a ball from the left which Fowler can’t quite make the most of and as it seems that a Robin defender will clear, he dithers and the lurking Nurse nips in from behind to prod the ball just inches wide of the target. Come on lads. If we can just get a third they’ll fold! Gray swings a free-kick in from the right touchline on 48 minutes, finding Jinadu in the box, but his towering header flashes again just wide of the mark. Gray is back causing problems straight after, whipping in a cross that’s just cut out for a corner. He then whips the flag kick into the box. It’s nodded clear to the edge of the box where Ryan Palmer pops up with a rasping drive that Searle acrobatically tips away for another corner. It’s coming, it’s coming!
Wave after wave of Amber and choc shirts flood forwards as the Bobbins start to comprehensively lose thier individual battles all over the park. The Honey/Bailey midfield partnership is completely dominant, robbing the oppo of the ball every time they cross their paths and setting up attacks almost at will. A few more near misses and last ditch clearances around the box keep the Scummers heads above water, but it’s only a matter of time. And on the hour, it’s finally game over.
A lightning break from midfield and Nurse finds himself clear on the right. He swings in a fantastic cross which is met with a diving bullet header by Matt Fowler at the near post. Again the net bulges and again everyone goes mental. Time for Chalmers to make another rude phone call too.
Shortly after, an announcement over the tannoy has most of the Stand side of the ground in stitches. A request for some bloke (didn’t catch his name, sorry!) to get home ASAP as his missus had locked herself out of the house. Now I’m not a betting man, but I’d lay a fiver that he was a Scummer. If so, he’s just got the perfect excuse to tip the fuck out of GGL and escape the worst of what’s coming.
There’s a rare flash of resistance from the visitors with 20 minutes to go, a ball is played directly into the box from midfield and met with a firm header at the near post. Iga looks to have over commited himself, but manages to adjust and pull off a great one handed save to preserve his clean sheet. But it is a rare moment of relief as on 74 minutes, a Gray corner comes in from the right. It finds Akuamouah near the back post, he controls and then miscues his shot straight to the unamarked Fowler who has the simple task of rolling the ball past Searle into the corner of the net. This sparks more madness behind the goal and Chalmers reaches for the mobile again. Sadly for him, this time he’s to be disappointed.
“The bastard’s turned it off!”
Out on the field, the Robins are now in total disarray. We’re attacking at will and honestly looking like scoring every time. 2 minutes after we’ve made it 4, Nurse is off again down the right chasing a through ball. He robs the defender, leaves him for dead and is hauled down unceremoniously in the box. Dear lord, a penalty now? This is just getting fucking silly! Looking for his hat-trick, Matt Fowler naturally grabs the ball. But he never looks quite comfortable with it and inevitably, blasts the ball miles over the bar! The Scummers celebrate their ex-hero’s miss. We just laugh and display four fingers in their direction. Losers.
Matty makes up for his miss with 10 minutes to go though. Chasing down a ball deep into the left corner. He turns out and puts a cross into the box. A desperate slice clear by a defender only succeeds in finding Paul Honey on the right corner of the area and he crashes the ball back across Searle & into the bottom far corner. Honey wheels away in delight, ripping off his shirt and swinging it above his head like a loon. Jesus, this lot are so shit, even Honey’s lashed one in. It’s a rout, an absolute fucking rout!
In fact, it’s so good, it causes someone to exclaim “This is brilliant! Sod the pub, I’m going home for a wank after!”. And it wasn’t me. Nope. Not at all. Defiantely not. Ahem.
But we’re not done yet. Oh no. Not quite.
5 minutes left, another raid down the right and Gray is thumping another cross into the box. Fowler once more makes that dash to the near post and again meets the ball with a thumping header past Searle. SIX NIL! If it wasn’t already a total and utter rout. It bloody well is now!
Matty runs to the perimeter fence and disappears into a crowd of delirious U’s fans. A few team-mates pile in for good measure before the ref forces festivities to break up. And then books Mr Fowler for his celebration. Twat. If you’re reading this Matty, come and see me mate. I will gladly pay the fucking fine. Worth every penny if you ask me! We dance, sing & make merry for the last few minutes. Not quite believing what we’ve seen so far and still quitely hoping another goal will come from somewhere. Sadly, it doesn’t. But not wishing to appear greedy, we decide that 6-0 is probably a satisfactory result and at the final whistle applaud the lads off the park like the heroes they’ve just made themselves.
The walk back to the Hood is a merry one. More phone calls are made to Bobbins fans we know who haven’t been fortunateunfortunate (delete as applicable) and mainly consist of either just hysterical laughter or the phrase “SIIIIIIIIIXXXXXXXXNNNNIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLL!”. It’s back in the pub that we realise that a question we’d posed last season had finally been answered, sort of. We’d wondered back then just exactly what the Bobbins were spending their huge budget on, as their team was just as shit as normal. Now we know. It seems an alleged budget of 8 grand a week means that whilst you still get outplayed, you only get done by just the 2 rather than 6.
Which leads to another hypothetical question. Will this lot even bother showing up for the return on the 27th Jan?? ‘Cos forfeiting a match usually goes down as a ‘3-0’ scoreline if my memory serves correctly, which going by today’s performance, would be a fucking cracking result for them.
Celebrations continue into the night with the requisite amount of beer being sunk. The feeling is though, that this greatest of LBS Derby wins needs some sort of commemoration. It needs to be remembered for all time.
“I know, how about a t-shirt?”
MAN OF THE MATCH : The whole team. Not one man can be singled out after today.
ENTERTAINMENT : 10. Pure, total & utter, unfiltered, uncut, unbridled, fucking joy.
TEAM: Iga, Gray, Akuamouah, Palmer, Jinadu, Bailey, Quinton, Honey, Fowler, Hanlan, Nurse. SUBS: Hamlin, Gonsalves, Fletcher
THE REFEREE’S……..hardly noticeable. But handled the derby fairly well & gave the only big decision (The penalty) correctly, so no complaints. Besides, I’m in a somewhat benevolent mood after this!