Att: 275

SUTTON UNITED – 2   [Gray 76p. Nurse 86]

DUNSTABLE TOWN – 3    [Christie 6. Spring 20. Hayes 27]

“Don’t Miss It!” is the wonderful slogan dreamed up by the incredibly creative marking people at double glazing firm Bryco to go with their sponsorship of the Isthmian League cup.

Don’t worry guys, we didn’t miss it when we went out last year at Aylesbury and we certainly won’t now were out this year either.

As you’ve probably gathered, the few hardy souls present at GGL weren’t particularly gutted at the U’s early exit from the competition against a fired up team going well at the top of the Division below.

As per usual, we found ourselves in the Hood for a pint or two beforehand, but lacking in bodies. No Greek today, he was off visiting family (hang on, isn’t that what the Xmas holidays are for? Sort it out man!!!) and Gareth deciding to meet us in the ground, having no doubt got completely shedded the previous evening. Disgusting behaviour. And we weren’t even invited……

As befits such a huge occasion, it’s pretty bloody cold when we step through the turnstiles. Lovely. You just can’t beat a crap cup match on a freezing cold afternoon.

Who needs the Champions League eh?

JR decides that the prestige of this competition demands that we send out pretty much a full strength line up, with only the cup tied Quinton sidelined. Ronnie Fletcher steps in to cover.

As already mentioned, Dunstable are going well and are currently sat near the top of Division 1 North. No doubt a visit to a top 10 Premier Division side should have them nicely fired up. This coupled with a patented Sutton United ‘slow start’ spells disaster.

You know, the ‘slow starts’ where the defence wanders around bewildered for 20-odd minutes, wondering who those other people are in the coloured shirts, why they’re hassling them and just what IS that round white thing for?

A minute in and Iga gives us a glimpse of things to come, dropping an early cross from the right and managing to grab it at the 3rd attempt after scrambling about a bit. 6 minutes played and a needless corner is gifted to the visitors. It comes in from the left to the near post and despite the attention of 2 defenders, we fail miserably to clear and the ball drops to a lurking Dunstable bloke who prods home from close range.

Definately bahookie.

Our response it immediate, Bailey bombing forwards from deep before lamping a shot from 25 yards that the visiting ‘keeper has to tip over for a corner. We press for the leveller and on 12 minutes, a U’s corner from the right gives Nurse a sight of the target, but his shot is deflected and Bailey can’t quite get a touch on it.

19 minutes and things get worse. Sutton conceed another corner and once again fail to defend a corner. The ball comes in from the left, cleared only as far as the edge of the box. It’s hooked back into the danger area, where a blue & white shirt is allowed the freedom of the borough to turn and thump a shot goalwards. Iga makes a great reaction save, but can do little about the bloke following up to make it 2-0.


Again, the lads respond and on 23minutes a free-kick from the right is blocked. But Gray whips it straight back into the danger area, picking out Lewis Gonsalves, whose firm downward header leaves the ‘keeper utterly rooted and he can only watch as it flies past him and thumps off the base of the post.

A corner a couple of minutes later is swung in by Gray, but the lino has his flag up straight away to indicate it’s swung out of play. Unfortunately, the ref is a blilnd twat and doesn’t notice until after a goalmouth scramble and Fowler has hooked the ball into the net.

What a total curryoakie.

To make matters worse, within a minute a quick Dustable breakout catches us flat footed. A looping cross in deeo from the right finds their No10 unmarked 10 yards out (his marker having wandered off somewhere no doubt) who despatches a smart first time effort low past Iga and into the bottom corner.

Er, far be it for me to criticise lads, but just what the FUCK is going on out there???? 27 minutes played, 3-0 down?? Christ, I know we wanted out of the Bryco, but this is bloody ridiculous!!

But again to the lads credit, they continue to play the ball around and get forwards to try & create chances.On 31 minutes, Matt Gray puts a corner in from the right which finds Jinadu at the back post, his effort is somehow blocked and runs to nick Bailey, whose effort is also blocked, this time on the goal-line and with what looks like an arm. An arm not belonging to the Dunstable ‘keeper OR one of our lot. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but…..er…..isn’t that sort of against the rules? Not even just a little bit?

35 minutes and a good raid down the left produces a dangerous ball in that appears to be bundled over the line by any one of about 3 U’s players, but the ‘keeper somehow drags it back without the lino noticing and just to cover their tracks, a couple of Dunstable defenders pile in to attack Honey. Bodies go in, there’s a big bundle and as the ref goes to try & restore peace, Honey cops a couple of punches in the mooey. In plain sight of the linesman.

Now, should the Assistant-Referee :

A: Really mention this offence to the ref at the earliest opportunity so the offender can be punished?

B: Ignore it as the ref only asked him to flag for throw ins. Which is beyond his capabilities anyway.

C: Ignore it and then deny he saw anything when the ref actually asks his opinion?

C of course! HA! That fooled you. Bet you thought it was A didn’t ya?

Well, if you did, that instantly over qualifies you as a Ryman official as you diaplyed a modicum of common sense. Naturally not a single player is talked to, let alone awarded a card.

Sutton keep up the pressure on the visitors goal, a corner near half-time resulting in another header blocked and the loose ball being clipped just a bit too high of the mark.

As the officials stride off at the interval we tell them just what a great game they’re having. “Shut up” the ref sneers as he passes.

OOoooooh, get her!

Tell you what mate, we’ll do a deal. We’ll shut up when you get something right eh? You knob-jockey.

We head for the warmth of the bar, still feeling a little confident that if we can get one back, we’ll defiantely still be in with a shout of winning this. Momentarily forgetting that this is the Bryco Cup and we don’t really want to win the match if we can help it!

Second half and Ryan Palmer is replaced with Graham Tydeman from the start. The U’s are soon on the offensive, winning a free-kick on the right. Gray puts it into the box, Bailey dives in with a header and somehow it deflects off a defender and just over the bar. Bailey is involved  soon after with a strong run and cross from the right. The ball is headed clear to the edge of the box where Gonsalves has a crack, his shot is deflected by Nurse and zips wide of the mark.

It’s pretty much one way traffic with the visitors sitting back, soaking up the pressure & trying to protect their 3 goal advantage. The pressure continues and just short of the hour, another half-arsed decision has us really annoyed.

Matt Gray whips a ball in from the right, it bounces 10 yards out and in the centre of the box, a defender controls with his hands and clears. Er, no, not a penalty in Mr “Shut Up’s” book it seems..

With the clock showing only 15 minutes left and the U’s really needing a goal, we finally, finally get a break. Nurse slips a pass into the box for Honey who toes it past a defender and is upended by a defender. Jesus wept! A penalty!

Sure ref? Positive?

Gray cracks the spot kick to the ‘keepers left and he manages to get a hand to it, but can’t prevent it hitting the back of the net.

Game on gentlemen?

Dunstable are now really up against it and defending in numbers. But the U’s keep plugging away, keep playing the ball around, looking for that gap. With 10 minutes to play, we get another glimpse it’s not our day when Akuamouah whips in a great cross from the left, but Nurse mistimes his jump and from 8 yards out and the goal at his mercy, skies his header over the bar.

He makes amends 6 minutes later though with a much more difficult effort, rising at the back post to meet a left wing corner and squeezing his header between a defender on the line and the post. 3-2, 4 to play.

With the U’s pushing up so much, Dunstable manage a couple of quick break out attacks, but some terrible finishing lets them down in front of goal and we’re still in it.

With time almost up, Nurse chases a lost cause down the left touchline and somehow manages to keep the ball in play by the corner flag. He fires in a cross to the near post that Bailey flings himself at, but the ‘keeper keeps his nerve and snatches it off his head and the last chance is gone.

And we’re out of the Bryco.

So we head back to the Hood to celebrate! Glad we’re back to a proper knock-out cup next week!

Now, where was bloody Forest Green again?

MAN OF THE MATCH : Matt Gray. Kept us going.

ENTERTAINMENT : 5. It’s the rules. No Bryco Cup match can score higher than a 5……..

TEAM : Iga, Palmer, Fletcher, Jinadu, Gonsalves, Akuamouah, Gray, Bailey, Honey,  Nurse, Fowler

SUBS : Hamlin, Tydeman, Boosey

THE REFEREE’S………Oooooh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Ditto the linesman. Just where do they find these idiots?

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