FA TROPHY 3rd ROUND
FOREST GREEN ROVERS – 4 [Rogers 6. Grayson 35. Foster 79. Ingram 82p]
SUTTON UNITED – 0
On our first visit to this part of Gloucestershire, we were heading for our first win of what proved to be a disastrous season in the Nationwide Conference, when the lights went out. Floodlight failure robbing us of those important first 3 points in what was a long, painful campaign.
I remember how mightily pissed off the boys were that evening as we headed home. Oh how we wished for those dodgy electrics to resurface on our latest visit to ‘The Lawn’ this Saturday….
Our form up to Xmas had been much improved with a rather enjoyable crushing 6-0 win over that lot down the road (ooh, did we tell you about that? We have?) topping off a 13 game unbeaten run.
Sadly, we’d suffered a blip following on from that win, losing at Grays on New Years Day, before we tipped ourself out of the Bryco cup at home to Dunstable (oh boy were we disappointed about that *cough*).
But, despite this, we remained confident of heading south west and getting a result of some sort.
With a prior engagement arranged for that night, Gareth decided that driving down was the best option. We weren’t complaining. It meant no fannying about with our outstanding railway network for starters! It also meant being home at a reasonable hour. And that means more drinking time,
So, Windy & the Greek roll up outside at about 11 and we toddle off to get Chalmers. Bob has had to pull out at the last minute as it looks like his house purchase is about to go through. Pah! That boy needs to sort his bloody priorities out! I neevr missed any games when I bought my place!
The trip down the M4 is largely uneventful and only brightened up with a stop at Membury services, which proves to be rather busy with U’s fans after the supporters coach has chosen the same place to make it’s stop. And a silly conversation further down the motorway.
For some reason, we suddenly get onto the subject of porn-star names. Naturally, we all ask each other what our porno names would be (it’s easy, just take the name of your first pet & add your mothers maiden name. et viola!). Mine is pretty crap. Chalmers is not bad and the Greek’s is better still. Windy stays strangely quiet during this part of the discussion……
“Oi, Windy, whats your porno name then?” We demand.
“Well, I had a goldfish called Mike once……..” Mr Miller replies after some thought.
“Right, Mike it is. What was your ma’s maiden name then??”
He mumbles something that we don’t quite catch….
“Eh? Didn’t get that mate! What did you say?”
“Hunt. My mothers maiden name was Hunt” he admits.
It takes a few seconds for us to take in what we’ve just heard. Then it dawns. Windy’s porno name is Mike Hunt! Naturally, this tickles us somewhat and keeps us thoroughly amused for a good few minutes.
He’s a right dark horse that Miller.
We eventually roll up in Nailsworth a bit later than we’d hoped and decide to pile into the bar for our pre-match lubrication. The pool table looks a little under-used and at 50p a game, it’d be rude not to take advantage!
Our cue to head out into the chilly afternoon air comes subtly in the form of big green shutters being slammed shut on the bar windows overlooking the pitch. Right. We’ll get our coats then shall we?
The U’s line up is the same as last saturday, with Quinton again missing out due to being cup tied having appeared in an early round for Croydon. Jinadu again keeps his place. One surprise is the return of Matt Hanlan to midfield. The same Matt Hanlan we’d seen in the club on Thursday and had said he was pretty sure he wouldn’t make it!
You ol’ kidder you Matt!
Unfortunately, the lads start slowly. Very slowly. Before we’ve even got half-way round the ground, a ball in from the right is headed down on the edge of our area and picked up by an attacker in a little too much room. Thankfully he doesn’t get a great strike on the ball, but Iga still has to desperately scramble the shot round his upright.
The dodgy opening continues and as I’m still scribbling notes for the previous paragraph, we’re 1-0 down. A free-kick is awarded out on the left and played in towards our near post. The marking is poor and the ball is allowed to find it’s way into the 6 yard box where Rogers pokes the ball home.
Er, lads, dunno if you’ve noticed. But the games actually started?
Sutton don’t allow the poor opening to disturb them too much and within a couple of minutes, a throw in is won out on the right. Gray spots Bailey in acres of space infield and finds him with a quick long throw. Nicky turns quickly and rips off a shot from 25 yards that catches the ‘keeper by surprise and skims the top of the bar.
Forest Green come back & on 11 minutes when Grayson goes to ground under a somewhat ordinary challenge. The ref buys his rather theatrical tumble and awards Patsy a yellow card. The free-kick is curled in around our wall and flies just wide of the right hand post.
The U’s keep battling and on the whole are having a lot of the ball. Honey & Bailey in particular are having some success in matching their more experienced counterparts. But despite this possession and a fair bit of pressure, we can’t quite carve out a decent opening. Then somewhat against the run of play, the home side extend their lead and once more, our ropey defence don’t come out of the situation with a great deal of credit.
A corner from our right finds a striped shirt at the back post, again the marking is poor and he jumps unchallenged to nod the ball down back across the goal and Grayson nips in to sidefoot home from close range.
Bollocks. Now we’re in trouble.
But, like earlier, the lads roll up their sleeves and set about trying to get themselves back into the match. Almost immediately, Gray goes on a run down the right, cutting in and letting fly from outside the box. His effort is deflected and finds Nurse, his shot is blocked by a defender and flies out to the left. Akuamouah immediately hooks it back into the danger area, picking out Bailey unmarked at the back post a couple of yards out. He meets the ball on the volley only for the ‘keeper to fling himself into harms way and take the shot full in the knackers, making an unbelievable stop.
The lads keep up their pressure, but again find it hard to force an opening around the FGR 18 yard box. On 41 minutes, a free-kick from the left is aimed for Nurse, but his marker just makes it ahead of him and heads over his own bar. Laughably, the ref awards a goal-kick. Cheers mate! You muppet.
With half time looming, the U’s have a string of corners. Following one, Honey is hassled out of the ball and the home side surge forwards. A cross from the right finds a Forest Green man just beyond the back post and his angled header is just hooked off the line by Gonsalves. The danger isn’t cleared and again the ball is flung into he box, this time from the left and a diving header flashes just wide of the upright.
Slowly we wander round to the opposite end, a little disappointed that we’re behind due more to our own deficiencies than the attacking prowess of our opponents. But we remain upbeat and hope an early goal in the second half will set us up for hopefully getting a replay. Our calls for their iffy floodlights to repeat their party piece from 4 years ago sadly go unheeded.
Funny that. Selfish bastards!
Our optimism takes a dent when we start the second half much like the first. IE: Poorly.
2 minutes after the restart a free-kick on the right picks out another free-header at the back post, but thankfully this one is straight at Iga. Then shortly after a corner from the right once again produces a Forest Green man with a free-header (anyone else notice a big fuck off pattern devloping here??) which causes a bit of a scramble in the box before we somehow scramble the ball clear with a big lump upfield.
To our relief this dodgy spell is soon at an end and the second half starts to resume the same pattern as the first. We have shedloads of the ball and the home side sit back, soaking up the pressure & looking to break out where possible. Bailey makes a great break following a Forest Green corner and races a good 60-65 yards with the ball. His low angled shot from just inside the box is blocked and comes back to him, he hooks the ball right back into the danger aera before being flattened a defender. The challenge is clumsy at best, but of course, nowt is given.
Obviously this bloke has been on a Ryman refs course…
The home teams job is made a little bit harder a minute or so later, when Fowler & the no27 Kennedy, who has only come on as sub at Half Time, tussle whilst awaiting a throw in out on the left. For some reason, Kennedy feels the need to lash out & clouts Matty in the face. This the ref DOES see, which isn’t hard as if he’d been any closer, he’d probably have got caught by matey’s backswing. Leaving him little option than to wave a straight red.
Uh oh, now we’re in trouble. Us? Against 10 men? With our reputation??
Obviously the red card is the ref’s one ‘blatantly obvious’ decision for the day as on 65 minutes, a ball from midfield splits the home defence and sends Nurse racing into the box with a defender in pursuit. Just as it seems the young striker has got away from his man, knocking the ball just in front of him, he’s flattened by the aforementioned defender.
It seems a cut & dry decision. The defender has clearly NOT played the ball. If not that, then what? Nursey dived?
Naturally, the twat in black waves play on. A total non-decision.
Still, the lads stick at it and on 70 minutes, Bailey & Nurse combine, but Nursey’s shot lacks any serious pace to trouble the ‘keeper. Then, with time seriously against us, the home side’s first real attack for what seems like an age kills the tie.
Pushing up trying to get that vital goal, we lose possession out on the left. Before we know what’s happening, the FGR man races off down the left before firing a low ball across the box for an umarked forward to sweep past an exposed Iga. 2-0 was acceptable, but 3 is harsh.
Unfortunately, the ref takes one last opportunity to completely infuriate us. 3 minutes later a ball into the box from the right has Iga racing off his line. As at Grays, he just wins the race, beating Grayson to the ball but the experienced ex-pro once again tumbles to the ground at the slightest touch and the ref swallows it hook, line and sinker.
If 3-0 was harsh, Ingram’s penalty slotted out of reach to Iga’s right is a downright evil.
Still though, the boys keep at it and roared on by the travelling support, they keep pushing for the consolation that their effort probably deserves. Sub Boosey tests the ‘keeper in the dying moments when his shot is deflected, forcing Perrin to backpedal and tip the ball over the bar.
The ref blows for time with the U’s camped in the FGR box, still searching fruitlessly for that goal and our Trophy adventure (all 2 games of it! hehe!) is over. Still, it was a nice change to get out of Rymanland for the day!
We stroll back to the car and head off back to the M4 and the abuse filled journey home. For Windy & the Greek, an evening of getting destroyed in Sutton and no doubt ending up in a classy establishment such as ‘Alley Cats’ awaits. Chalmers & myself elect for the more relaxing confines of the Hood and a few drinks with Oscar to see out the evening.
Oh well, there’s always next year I guess. Besides, there’s still the Surrey Cup to defend!
Oh and before I go……..Mike Hunt. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!
MAN OF THE MATCH : Honey & Bailey. A solid showing against more experienced opponents.
ENTERTAINMENT : 6. Not a classic sadly. But not dreadful……..
TEAM : Iga, Palmer, Jinadu, Gonsalves, Akuamouah, Gray, Bailey, Honey, Hanlan, Fowler, Nurse
SUBS : Hamlin, Tydeman, Boosey, Fletcher
THE REFEREE’S A………typical Conference ref that we remember so well from 4 years ago. First real challenge in the game draws a yellow card, along with the second one. Then he proceeds to do pretty much feck all.