RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
HEYBRIDGE SWIFTS – 2 [Robinson 18. Cousins 82]
SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Bailey 45p. Nurse 68]
Yep, it’s that time of year again. Away to Heybridge. Not exactly the first fixture we look for every summer when the list comes out. But, with our recent upturn in form, we’re feeling fairly confident of getting a result.
The team escaping with all their limbs intact is another matter though.
After a heavy night at my company crimbo do, I’m a little late to wake up. Thankfully, we’ve decided not to bother slogging up there on the train and Chalmers has offered to drive. Good man! I think him suffering from a bout of tonsillitis also may have encouraged his charitable offer.
Finally staggering out to the car 20 minutes late, we head off to collect the rest of the gang. It’s a full house today with Bob, Greek & Gareth (now to be known as ‘Windy’. Explanation later). Greek calls Windy to let him know we’re on our way. He happens to be in a cafe and offers a round of teas. Top man! I also decide a bacon roll is in order to help absorb last nights alcohol intake.
By the time we hit the M25 (which is naturally completely fucked as per usual), I’m starting to feel vaguely human again thanks to that impromptu refreshment stop.
Thanks to the traffic, we’re pushing it a bit for time. So our pilot for the day Mr Chalmers steps on the gas. One dodgy overtaking manuever has us a little worried, but we’re amused shortly after when we miss a turning at a roundabout. Naturally, he looks for the first opportunity to do a swift U-turn and get us back on the right track. A turning presents itself within a few seconds and Mr C takes it.
But appearances can be deceptive.
“Fucks sake Chalmers! We’re in a bloody field!”
PC whacks it into reverse ASAP to try & get going again and also no doubt to reduce the amount of imminent piss-taking from his four passengers. Unfortunately, in his haste to escape this agricultural setting he only succeeds in stalling the motor, to raucous abuse from the back seat.
A Colin McRae style ‘rally start’ soon has us on our way again. But does little to ease the piss-taking.
We finally find our way into Heybridge and are surprised to find ourselves behind the team coach. Especially as it’s now nearly 2.30! Looks like the M25 has caught them out again. This is getting to be a habit!
It’s not until the teams run out that we realise how much we’ve been caught out by the worlds biggest car park. Matt Gray, who has had to make his own way from work hasn’t shown up yet. We’re also missing Matt Fowler, who’s out with flu. So Dean Hamlin and Graham Tydeman make starts we wouldn’t have expected.
Despite both sides being in decent form recently, the opening 10 minutes or so are really quite dull with nothing happening at all. In fact, the only moment of mention is Hamlin’s cross from the right drifting just over and into the stanchion.
It takes a good quarter of an hour for the first chance to come and disappointingly, it puts the home side ahead. The defence fails to meet a threat down the left as we back off. The attacker cuts into the box and finds Robinson 8 yards out. He’s allowed to turn and poke the ball past the ‘keeper. A poor goal to give away.
But the lads roll up their sleeves and drag themselves back into the game. Within a couple of minutes, a good run and cross from Akuamouah is met by Bailey’s stooping header, but the ball loops over the target. Eddie is on the run a minute later another ball into the box picks out Nurse by the near post. His smart turn & shot earns a corner.
By now, it’s almost all Sutton with the home side having a fair amount of the ball, but producing little end product. On 35 minutes, our best chance falls to Bailey who scampers clear of the defence, only for the ‘keeper to block his shot with his legs. Immediately after, the steady Tydeman picks up a loose ball and loops a shot goalwards which forces Placid to backpedal and tip over the bar.
With the break approaching, Sutton step up their efforts for an equaliser. Bailey again causing problems with a run down the left before cutting inside past a defender. But his shot is blocked. The ball finds it’s way to Hanlan on the edge of the box, but he wastes his good sight of goal, drifting an effort just over the bar. A corner follows soon after and again Hanlan is in there, his glancing header looking to sneak inside the post, but a defender hacks it off the line.
With it looking like we’d go in trailing, a short ball into Nurse from Akuamouah see’s the pacy frontman turn in the box before being upended by a rather pointlessly clumsy challenge. Peno!
Bailey steps up and despite some rather childish taunts from Swifts fans directly behind the goal, he smashes his kick down the middle. Placid gets his hands to it, but can only help it on it’s way into the roof of the net. Game on!
We head for the bar for some scores and a quick beverage. The slowly withering Chalmers is just glad to get out of the cold! Such dedication that lad.
The 2nd 45 is much like the first as it takes it’s time getting going. The first real moment of note comes some 7 minutes in. Nurse battles down the left & cuts across the edge of the box before striking his shot straight at the ‘keeper. He spills the ball, but manages to gather again before Hanlan can make the opportunity count.
Nurse is slightly more deadly just after the hour though. Bailey plays an excellent ball over the defence & Nurse races in behind them. With the defence trailing, the Swifts ‘keeper makes a suicidal dash from his line to try & beat the Sutton man to the ball. He never gets near. Jon doesn’t even take a touch, clipping the ball over the completely stranded Placid and into the net just inside the near post. It’s a great goal and another sign that we might just have unearthed a little gem in Nursey.
True to form, having just gone ahead, we spend the next couple of minutes trying to chuck it away. Within a minutewe fail to defend a deep ball from the left and allow an attacker a free-header in the box. Thankfully, his downward header is just wide of the mark.
The seemingly unstoppable Nurse continues to cause the Swifts defence some serious aggro, twice carving through the backline and racing in on goal. The first time he wins a tussle with a defender, who then goes to ground and then hauls our man to the turf. I’ll leave you clever people to work out what happens as frankly I’m sick of writing that same shite about dickhead refs.
The second time, he gets clear, draws the ‘keeper and toes the ball past him, but it slips agonisingly the wrong side of the far post. But inbetween these moments, the home side are looking increasingly like making use of the growing amount of space & possession they’re getting. And just inside the last 10 minutes, they do.
An attack is broken up, but the U’s defence fails to clear the danger. The ball comes straight back and a shot from the right forces Iga into a low stop. But he’s only able to parry it across the box and Cousins holds off Akuamouah to rifle in the loose ball. Cue lots of cursing at the far end from our good selves.
It’s not long after this that we realise that our hosts have been pretty well behaved all afternoon, with not so much as a dodgy tackle to speak of. We had to go and open our big mouths didn’t we?
A free-kick out on the left is played short between Bailey & Akuamouah. The ginger midfielder goes to play the ball low back into the box and as he does so, the Swifts no4 jumps in over the ball and crashes into him. It’s frankly a fucking disgusting challenge. It’s 2 footed and it’s over the ball, yet the ref’s award of a yellow card is indescribable. Just what the hell do you have to do to an opponent in this poxy fucking league to get a straight red? Hack them to death with a machete?
The Swifts push for a winner and almost get it when we fail to deal with another cross, allowing another free header. But again, we’re relieved to see the effort wide of the mark. At this point, the recently missing Matt Gray is introduced to try and maybe snatch something from the game. His appearance does liven things up and with time running out, he and Nurse combine on the edge of the box before Matty drifts a shot over the bar.
Nurse almost snatches a late win when some nice movement of the ball around the pentalty area, working an overlap for the striker on the left. His blistering shot fizzing just over the bar. The lads are then given a nice warm greeting by the pikey twats home fans behind the goal as they leave the field. Thank you Heybridge, how terribly sporting of you!
So a point when it really should have been 3, but still not a bad result away from home I guess.
We head for the bar and soon after, the directionally challenged Matt Gray appears. It turns out he’s been directed to the wrong Heybridge in Essex. A mistake Windy had made himself a couple of years back. When then ask him when he’d arrived.
“Just after their second goal!” he answers.
Hmmm. So in plenty of time then mate?
It’s then back into the Chalmersmobile and back to the Hood for a drink and more silliness. PC slopes off claiming he’s not well. But we reckon he just wanted to escape the endless stick regarding his little detour earlier.
MAN OF THE MATCH : John Nurse. Another top performance & a great goal.
ENTERTAINMENT : 6. Not bad. Should’ve taken the 3 points though……
TEAM : Iga, Hamlin, Akuamouah, Plamer, Gonsalves, Bailey, Tydeman, Quinton, Honey, Hanlan, Nurse SUBS : Fletcher, Gray, Dray
THE REFEREE’S A………admittedly had little to do overall, but of the 3 big decisions he had to make, he bottled 2 of them.