RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
HITCHIN TOWN – 2 [Bridge 42. Hutton 74]
SUTTON UNITED – 4 [Bailey 41p.80p. Fowler 45. Jinadu 51]
Back in October, we reached easily the lowest point of our season, going down 3-0 at home to an unspectacular but hard working Hitchin side. The next game was what is generally seen as the ‘corner’ or turning point of our season, the hard fought win at Billericay.
We’ve come a hell of a long way since that dreadful Saturday afternoon, with the side finally getting into it’s stride, the goals are flowing and the defence has improved somewhat since then!
So it’s slightly happier, if somewhat depleted & injured drinking team who make the trip for the return fixture at Top Field.
Mr Chalmers is working and Bob is hungover. Which is a bit wussy, considering that at 12 that afternoon, Greek and Myself were collecting Windy from Epsom Hospital barely 24 hours after having major knee surgery!
We’re very disappointed Mr Bone. Windy’s got his leg hanging off and you pull the ‘feeling rough’ card?? Tsk tsk. Report to the Hood at 2pm next Saturday for your disciplinary hearing young man.
It looked like Greek & I would have to liberate our dodgy-kneed compadre by either cunning subtefuge or by chucking a couple of stun-grenades into the gaff and simply tipping the crippled Scots bloke into a wheelchair and disappearing over the horizon a haze of tyre smoke provided by the Greek blokes Peugeot 205 1.9D.
Disappointingly, Windy ruined our plans by cooking up some lame excuse about having a wedding to go to that he couldn’t possible miss. And of course having gone NHS, who don’t exactly employ at the top end of the market, they fell for this line of bullshit hook line & sinker. Rubbish.
Waiting outside, engine running, balaclavas and stun-grenades at the ready, we’re a just little disappointed to see him simply hobble out on crutches, with a Nurse (the medical variety, not the Sutton centre forward kind) even holding the door open for him!
With this, the knitted headgear and small explosive charges are sulkily chucked in the boot along with Windy’s luggage and we perform a less spectacular departure than we’d hoped. Failing even to break the 5mph speed limit on the way out of the hospital. Not so much ‘Italian Job’, more ‘Hand Job’ really.
You’re no fun Miller. Just no fun at all! If you’d gone private, they’d never have believed all that bollocks about ‘weddings’, sedated you and strapped you to your bed!!! BAH!
A gentle poodle round the M25 later and we find ourselves in Hitchin. Not having eaten since yesterday morning, Windy is in serious need of sustenance. And I need a pint. So we hit the tried & tested regular Hitchin haunt, the ‘Sunrunner’. Not only does it have a wide and varied range of strange beer, the grub isn’t bad either. Which is what you need when you have a starving, crippled Scotsman on your case.
Fed and watered, we decide we may as well head for the ground.
On arrival I fend off one very persistent lady inside the turnstiles trying to flog me a calendar featuring the Hitchin ladies team. Very tempting love, but I’m only after a programme! Luckily, she turns her attention to the Greek bloke behind me and I take the opportunity to scarper and grab that proggy I wanted. And I must say it’s a big improvement on the last couple of times we’ve been here.
Nothing to do with the content, just that it’s a normal ‘programme’ size once more. And not the size of an opened out Ordnance Survey map like it used to be. Even better it fits snugly into the inside pocket of my jacket without protuding out the top and sticking up my left nostril. Much better!
The U’s line up is the same as Tuesdays ‘Duck hunt’ with only one change in Hanlan returning to midfield and Glen Boosey dropping to the bench.
Much to the chargin of a certain U’s fan on crutches, we lose the toss and end up shooting towards the far end. Never mind Windy, the exercise will do it good!
Unfortunately, the lads start very slowly and the early exchanges go much the way of the home side. Patsy is having one of his dodgy afternoons and just 6 minutes in, slips at a crucial moment leaving the Hitchin no10 a clear run on goal. Fortunately Iga comes off his line to make a hurried clearance. A couple of minutes later, a corner from the right is headed just off the mark at the back post.
Erm, lads? The game’s started…
14 minutes and Quinton fails to cut out a pass down the right channel and the ball finds it’s way to an attacker who tries his luck from the corner of the box. His effort is deflected towards the near post, but Iga gets down well and makes a very good one handed stop. Hitchin keep pressing and on 18 minutes a pass inside from the right again finds a home attacker with a bit more space than we’d like in the box. Fortunately his shot is into the side netting.
3 minutes later and we finally manage to get our arses in gear and mount a raid forwards. Halmin & Quinton combine on the right and Deano puts the ball into the box. Nurse meets it with a diving header and although it probably lacks the pace to beat the ‘keeper, he still gets down to make sure of the save.
The game then seems to swing away from the hosts. A couple of minutes later Folwer flicks on a ball forwards and sets Nurse clear of his marker and into the box. He skips round the keeper, but is forced wide of the target. Looking up, he finds he has bugger all in the way of support and decides he’ll have to manage on his own for a bit. Dragging the ball back from the byeline past a defender, he tries to nick a shot past the ‘keeper from a tight angle, but his effort is blocked and a corner is the result.
Around the half hour mark, Nurse is off again, legging it from just inside the Hitchin half out on the left, before switching the play out to the right to Hamlin from around the edge of the box. Hamlin delivers a cross into the 18 yard box, finding Bailey towards the near post. His flicked header is recovered beyond the far post by Fowler. He brings Akuamouah into proceedings before getting the ball back as a defender slips. But he takes a touch too far and is forced out of play.
Nurse plays in Bailey down the left on 33 minutes, but his cross from the byeline is too high. Then another Hamlin cross from the right finds Bailey who wins the ball before laying it into the path of Hanlan. His shot from just outside the box flashes just wide of the post.
With half-time looming, our little purple patch finally pays dividends. The busy Hamlin again provides a ball in from the right that the home defence fails to clear. Hanlan snatches up the loose ball and darts into the box before being clumsily upended by a defender.
Even a 3rd rate Ryman muppet ref couldn’t get that one wrong!
Bailey steps up and puts his penalty firmly to the ‘keepers right and despite the efforts of Mr Wilmot, who gets a hand onto the ball, it hits the corner of the net.
I’ve barely finished scribbling about this event before we’ve gone and fucked it up. About 35 seconds after going ahead, Hitchin are level.
Ball down right blah blah blah low cross into box yadda yadda yadda defence fails to clear mumble mumble mumble bloke pokes in from 6 inches out rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb.
Get the picture? Good. We won’t go into the bit about just how many times we’ve done that this season. Apart from the fact that it’s really fucking irritating.
Thankfully, the lads once again display the right attitude and set about trying to make amends. With the half almost up, the U’s win a corner. Bailey puts it low into the box, picking out Nurse just inside the 18yard box. His half volley is on target, but probably heading into the arms of the ‘keeper at the near post until Matt Fowler pops up out of nowhere, gives the ball a somewhat nonchalant little prod and directs it into the corner.
The half time whistle goes before Hitchin can restart the game. Good plan lads. Score when there’s absolutely no time left for the oppo to respond! Very clever that.
Although I think I prefer the “Don’t let the buggers score in the first place” one more….
We take a slow stroll round, deciding not to visit the bar as that would be just too unfair on the less able members of the party. That and it’d take us all bloody week to get round there and back with a raspberry in tow.
The second half starts with a Iga having to come off his line and claim a through ball, doing well to hold onto the ball when he collides with the oncoming forward.
But, the U’s are soon back on the move and on 51 minutes, we extend the lead. Another Bailey corner from the right picks out Jinadu, who’s already gone close just a minute or two before and he powers a header into the near corner from the penalty spot.
I think the big J man is getting the hang of this goalscoring lark!
Almost straight after, the match is almost put out of sight when Nurse snaps up a loose ball on the edge of the box, cuts across the face before forcing a good stop out of Wilmot with a low shot back across the ‘keeper. Hitchin remind us they’re still there just shy of the hour with a free-kick out on the right, which is swung into the box and runs across the face of goal begging for a touch. A scrambling Iga sees it out of play by his far post.
Andy is in action again on around 65 minutes, saving well low down from a shot out on the left. Sutton respond with another set piece, again Bailey delivers, this time finding Quinton at the near post. He takes the ball on his chest and turning, he hits a low shot under the ‘keeper only to have a defender hook it off the line.
Within a minute, we’re denied another certiain peno when Nurse turns and blasts past the no7, into the box. As he steadies himself for a shot, he’s somewhat crudely bundled over. The ref puts his whistle to his mouth and looks set to give the spot kick when he gives a glance over to the lino as if just to confirm what he’s just seen “Yeah, he’ll have his flag up no worries”……..
“Oh, hang on, he HASN’T!! well, that can’t be a penalty then!”
Tosser. Absolute tosser.
(Please see the ‘ref’ bit at the end for the rant relating to this incident……)
On 73 minutes, a good ball into the channel sets Fowler on his way, clear of the defence. With only the ‘keeper to beat, Wilmot spreads himself well and blocks Matty’s shot, managing to gather at the second attempt.
2 minutes later, from almost nothing, the home side are thrown a lifeline. A cross in from our left finds an overlap on the far side and the unmarked no5 strikes on goal. Iga gets to it, but it’s not enough to keep the ball out and it trickles over the line just behind him.
The goal though fails to unsettle the U’s and they still look the most likely to get the next score. With a little over 10 minutes left, the cumbersome Hitchin no4, who has been amusing us with his ungainly play all afternoon, makes to most obvious backpass to his ‘keeper whilst under pressure from Nurse. Amazingly, Wilmot picks it up!
Eddie tees up Bailey with the free-kick from 6 yards out, just beyond the right hand post. But it’s a narrow target for the midfielder and his effort is blocked. Bailey is then played in immediately after Nurse picks him out on the right. But with the goal at his mercy, he snatches at the shot & drags it well wide of the far post.
But, he gets the chance to redeem himself within a minute when Nurse again goes galloping past defenders into the box and as he tries to round the ‘keeper is tripped. The ref this time points to the spot despite being no closer than he was for the earlier shout. Although, this time, he makes his own mind up without glancing at the lino.
Probably realised, like us, that he’s a twat.
Nicky this time sends Wilmot the wrong way and places the peno high into the net to make it 4-2 and finally secure the 3 points. The last 10 minutes are pretty uneventful and the home side never look capable of delivering a grandstand finish.
We return to the motor and having loaded up a wounded Windy, it’s off home. Delightfully, we hear on the way back that our lovely neighbours have gone down 3-1 at home to Hendon. Which is nice. Especially as it means we’re now 5 points behind them with 17 matches still to play.
We’re coming Bobbins, we’re coming!
Greek drops the hobbling scotsman and myself off at the Hood before disappearing into the night to do hisVvalentines day duties. It’s not long before someones complaining about their knee hurting.
And it’s not me!
Surely nothing to do with having it rebuilt yesterday afternoon, spending 3 hours in a car and 90 minutes standing out in the cold. And the powerful prescription painkillers wearing off?
Naaaaaaah. Couldn’t be…….
MAN OF THE MATCH : Jon Nurse. Again. Runs around like a loon. Which we like!
ENTERTAINMENT : 6. So so first half, but never in trouble once we got going.
TEAM : Iga, Hamlin, Palmer, Quinton, Jinadu, Akuamouah, Bailey, Hanlan, Honey, Fowler, Nurse
SUBS : Boosey, Tydeman, Dray
THE REFEREE’S………a bit of a prat. How he gave the ‘keepers foul on Nurse, but not the No7’s is beyond me. Although the linesman ignoring the aforementioned blatant foul as well shouldn’t go unmentioned. Twat.