Poppies Pooped

RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION

Att: 586



SUTTON UNITED – 2    [Boosey 11. Nurse 90]

KETTERING TOWN – 1    [Difante 87]

Back at the arse end of November, we made that rather unforgettable trip up the M1 to Kettering. Unforgettable mainly due to the hugely delayed kick-off of 9pm, but also memorable for the solid hardworking performance by the lads that night. And one man in particular.

Jon Nurse.

Making only his second full start at Rockingham Road, he scored a great solo strike to eventually secure us 3 very important points. The rest as they say is history. He’s grabbed 9 more since and been a key element in the run that’s seen us beaten only once in 13 league games.

Thankfully, he’s back after missing Tuesdays trip to Purf….um…Thurrock with a knock. And boy are we glad.

With Greek out at a ‘do’ tonight, he decides to drive and saves me the usual arse-ache of standing around cursing another non-arriving bus. Chalmers also blags a lift as we’re ‘passing by’. As long as it doesn’t eat into my drinking time PC. And to save time, I call Windy to get the round in.

Mobile phones. Marvellous invention.

Gareth is already sat nursing a pint when we arrive. And looking a bit under the weather. Which is unusual for him on a saturday afternoon! Out last night were we Scots bloke? You were? Remember what time you got in? No? Excellent!

Now stop whinging like a girl and get that pint down your head.

Another enforced line-up change today for the U’s as Nick Bailey is suspended for accumulating 5 booking. Dunno what for. But know the refs we get, probably for breathing. Or tying up his laces. Or some other heinous crime.

Glen Boosey steps in to cover. Also, Nursey is back up front. Oh goody.

The match gets underway on a real cabbage patch of a pitch. Which means decent footy would probably be at a premium. But thats ok, if it’s crap for us, it’s crap for the oppo too. And if there was one feature of our poor early season home form, it was the pitch actually being quite good. This sadly led to visiting sides playing us off the bastard thing!

The first 10 minutes lack anything of note, but on 11 minutes and with our first serious foray forwards, we find ourselves ahead. Gray turning a defender inside out before slipping the ball into the path of Fowler. At full stretch, Matt gets away a shot from the edge of the box that beats the ‘keeper but thumps back off the base of the far post. Fortunately, Boosey is in the right place at the right time again and tidies matters up by sidefooting into the empty net.

Hurrah!

Things then go a bit quiet again, with the surface naturally not helping. Paul Honey keeps us amused though with another rampaging display in the centre of the park and within a couple of minutes of the goal, we’re already struggling to spot any amber on his shirt such is the amount of time he’s spent rolling about in the mud making numerous challenges.

On 22 minutes, Nurse is starting to get himself involved and one of his little turns and dashes from deep opens up the defence. His ball out to Fowler on the right who puts a low cross into the box towards Boosey. But a defender gets a foot in a just cuts it out. Kettering manage to grab a couple of corners in quick succession in response, with Jinadu heading one clear under pressure at the back post and the second is headed high & wide from the opposite side.

Matt Gray gets a sight of goal on 25 minutes, with a ball switching from left to right and finding a rather big overlap on the visitors defence. Nurse leaves the opportunity to his colleague, but Matty drives his shot clear of the crossbar. Matt Hanlan tries his luck shortly after, when Gray finds him in a lot of space with a throw in from the right. The skipper hitting a looping volley from 20 yards or so that dips just over the target.

The Poppies meanwhile are failing to mount even a small threat to the U’s goal and Andy Iga is enjoying his quietest afternoon since, ooooh, around Christmas time. They do manage to get the ball in the net from close rangearound the half hour mark from a low ball in on the left, but the effort is ruled out for an offside even we can see from the far end.

Things get worse for the lacklustre visitors with half time looming. Matt Gray causing problems down the right again, cracks in a great ball behind the Kettering defence that Nurse just fails to make contact with. It runs all the way out to the opposite touchline where Eddie Akuamouah turns his man and darts for the box. The defenders only response is to rather clumsily haul Ed to the ground. The so-far inept ref takes a long hard look and decides even a twat like him can’t get this one wrong and points to the spot.

Gray steps up, but his effort isn’t particularly well struck and too close to the ‘keeper, allowing Bunn to make a rather comfortable save. Bugger.

Better get a quick second lads, or I can see this going horribly wrong!

The visitors mount a rare raid just before the break, with a good ball forwards from deep picking out the no5 who has made a penetrating run into the box. His first touch is a good one, but he doesn’t get a second as Jinadu makes up the ground and sticks out a leg at the expense of a corner.

With it being a bit chilly, a bar visit is a must. Besides, it’s amusing to watch Greek & Windy bicker like 2 single mums over the last set of large hooped earrings in Elizabeth Duke about whose round it is this week. hehe! Dave then arrives with his good lady, moaning about how he’s paid to get in just in time to hear the half time whistle.

Stoppit stoppit! My sides are hurting.

The second half starts with the U’s pressing for a second and looking to finish the game early. With only a couple of minutes on the clock, Nursey charges down the left and into the box before being dragged back by the defender a few yards out. It’s a good shout for another peno, but as we’ve already had the one decision our way from the ref this afternoon, he decides a goalkick is more appropriate. We disagree. Loudly.

Kettering keep toiling and really are failing to create any kind of momentum and thus any threat in our final third of the field. With only their tricky looking no11 shining through. Honey sets up Fowler inside the box on 51 minutes, but he elects to pass across the 18 yard box rather than take the shooting opportunity and the Poppies defence get rid. Fowler is involved again just short of the hour when Gray takes a quick throw on the right and puts the striker into space. He gets to the byeline and pulls the ball back to Nurse who is arriving at the near post,. JN gets in front of his man but his instinctive strike rattles off the upright. Ooooh bugger. It’s going to go wrong I tell you!

66 minutes played and Boosey winds his way to the left byeline before knocking an inviting ball into the box right under the bar, but the Kettering No6 is alert and heads the danger clear. Then a few minutes later Fowlers flick on puts Nurse clear of his marker. The ‘keeper rushes off his line but the U’s man gets there first and lobs the ball goalwards before being wiped out by a flying custodian. Unfortunately, the effort just lacks enough legs and a defender manages to get back and hack it off the line.

Confirmation that we’re going to rue missed chances comes with around 10 minutes left. Again we see Nurse’s pace open up the Kettering defence. He leaves the lumbering no5 in his wake who then decides the only way to stop the flying Sutton no11 is to administer a tackle Martin Johnson would be proud of. With no other defender even close to closing out the clear goalscoring opportunity that Nurse found himself in, that makes Mr5 entitled to an early bath.

And according to the laws of the game, what should be the only punishment for the player who commits a foul and thus denies the opposition a clear goalscoring opportunity?

Thats correct, a red card.

Unless your name is Bruce McLaren. Then it’s only a yellow card.

You fucking complete fucking muppet.

And from this moment on, we just KNOW it’s all going to go ‘Pete Tong’ very very soon.

Every football fan knows that it’s proven scientific fact that if you completely boss a game, score once and then miss a fair few chances to make said game safe, the previously non-descript opposition will of course nick a suitably shit and very very late equaliser.

Cue shit equaliser.

87 minutes played and after a couple of minutes of easily their biggest spell of possession in the match a rather ordinary deep cross from the right is allowed to drop about 6 yards out. A slightly unsighted and startled Iga comes for it, but can’t gather and substitute Difante pounces to bundle the ball in and spark some mad celebrations at the far end. Wankeyedfuckpigtossarsebastardshit.

Meanwhile at the other end, heads are in hands and the language turns rather rude.

I knew it, I just bloody KNEW it! It was such a dead cert that even Chalmers would’ve backed it!

But, if there’s one thing the lads have shown recently, it’s fight. And from the kick off, we go for it. A couple of times Nurse is just denied by a last ditch touch or a bad bounce off the poor surface, but with time almost up a pass finds Gray on the right. He spots JN’s run and slips the ball inside for him to have a run at.

That pace of his takes him away from the defender, leaving the ‘keeper to beat. Bunn comes off his line to narrow the angle and does well to get a touch on the strikers shot. But he only succeeds in deflecting it up into the air and Nurse finishes the job by nodding into the net and sending us completely wild behind the goal.

YEEEEEEEESSSS! GET IN THERE!

Whilst we do the jump about madly bit that usually accompanies these kind of moments, Nurse is buried under a pile of his team-mates somewhere on the edge of the penalty box.

Pleased are we then lads??

A couple of minutes of injury time later and the ref makes his second best decision of the day and blows for time. After being roundly abused for his afternoons clowning, it’s a much happier bunch of pissheads who stagger into the Hood soon after. The evening’s drinking is brightened up by the arrival of a lone Poppies fan on a one-man pub crawl. Talking our language, he then impresses us by admitting he’s just come from the Sydney Arms. In colours!

Egad man! Are you completely insane?

Still, he can’t be that mad, he’s using our pub guide! Good work fella!

MAN OF THE MATCH : Jon Nurse. Does the guy have an off switch?? He just DOESN’T stop!!

ENTERTAINMENT : 7. Poor conditions, but we adapted better & got stuck in.

TEAM : Iga, Gray, Palmer, Quinton, Jinadu, Akuamouah, Boosey, Hanlan, Honey, Fowler, Nurse

SUBS : Hamlin, Tydeman, Fletcher, Dray

THE REFEREE’S………a complete and utter joke. A total disgrace to the refereeing community. And when you consider some of the total incompetents we’ve had, thats really saying something!

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