RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
THURROCK – 0
SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Jinadu 66]
Why is it we always end up with Purf……..er sorry…….Thurrock away from home on a frigging Tuesday evening at a shitty time of year? In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been to this delightful part of Essex outside the period of November to February.
I may be wrong of course and naturally I can’t be arsed to check. But, even if my wild assumption is incorrect and I have indeed visited Ship Lane at a slightly better time of the season, it’s always windy & bloody raining.
The usual midweek away game dash into London goes well and amazingly find myself first to arrive in the pub at Tower Hill. I’m already into my first beer when bob arrives. And the first round is almost done when Chalmers strolls through the door. Time for another, then we dash off for the train. Unfortunately, we arrive a little late (whose dumb idea was it for a 7.30 KO anyway for fucks sake??) and already find Greek & Windy on the terrace.
The U’s are playing into the wind 1st half with only one change in the line up. Jon Nurse misses out tonight with the back injury he picked up against the Scummers, Boosey taking his place in the side up front with Fowler.
We’ve hardly taken our places behind the goal before the ref is making his first shite decision. Folwer goes in a bit late 25 yards out from the Thurfleet (or whatever they’re called this week) goal. Free-kick, no problem. The big Purfrock no5 decides a bit of his own kind of justice is required and barges in, pushing the U’s man in the face. Right in front of the official.
A talking to of course. Not the red card deserved for raising his hands to an opponent. Good start there ref. At least we know early on you’ve got no bollocks.
Despite playing into what seems like a Force8 gale, they have much the better of the opening exchanges, with the home side just hitting long balls forwards for Kandol & Akurang. Which because of the wind, just zip off the turf & out for goal kicks or harmlessly through to Iga. Matt Gray is soon in his stride, charging down that right flank.
Exchanging passes with Bailey on the right, Nicky pulls a low ball across the box to the near post for Fowler, but the striker can’t quite guide his shot onto the target and the ball flashes wide of the post. 15 minutes in, Boosey drives in a free-kick from the right that finds Bailey 12 yards out. In space, he hooks a first time volley goalwards that has the ‘keeper well beaten as it curls towards the far corner, but a defender has the upright covered and manages to clear from on the goal-line.
Sutton keep pressing and almost straight after a good run and cross from Gray on the right finds Fowler just beyond the near post. His header looks on target, but again a defender pops up at a rather annoying moment and manages to deflect the effort just wide for a corner.
Thurreet meanwhile somewhat flatter to decieve, continuing to look long for their lively front two, but still creating little or nothing in the way of chances.
A wonderful interchange of short, one touch passes on 29 minutes almost gives the U’s a deserved lead, when Gray, Bailey & Fowler combine on the edge of the box. Fowler puts the final little pass into the path of the charging Bailey, whose first time snap shot from about 12 yards out looks destined for the bottom corner until Gothard intervenes and gets the slightest of touches onto the ball which is enough to make sure it thumps off the base of the post.
But the lads stick at it and on 34 minutes, Gray is down that right flank again, swinging the ball into the danger area. Bailey just fails to make contact and the ball runs out to the left where Akuamouah collects, beats his man and puts in another cross. It’s a touch too high for Fowler, but drops just right for Gray behind him and his blistering volley flashes into the side netting.
38 minutes in and almost from nothing, the home side almost go ahead. A throw in from our right is flicked infield and the Phurrock no7 finds himself in a nice bit of space. Accepting the invitation, he crashes in a shot from 25 yards out that dips late and over a slightly stranded Iga before thumping down off the underside of the crossbar and thankfully being cleared by Patsy.
Thank christ for that.
It’s the last serious act of the half and that means it’s time for a bacon roll. Yum!
The U’s start the 2nd half with the strong wind now at their backs and the fine shitty drizzly rain it brings with it, driving into our faces behind the goal. Lovely.
Don’tcha just love Essex?
Couple of minutes after the restart, the lads are back on the offensive. Matt Gray putting a corner in from the left thats cut out. It comes straight back to him and he swings it back into the box. The ball finds Bailey on the penalty spot and he picks his spot past Gothard, but the linesman has his flag up. No goal.
A couple of minutes later Bailey switches the ball out to the right for Gray. His cross into the area is weekly punched by the ‘keeper and drops to Hanlan 8 yards out with the goal at his mercy. But he snatches at the chance and pulls the ball well wide of the target. A minute or two later, Iga is making a very good save from a free-kick some 20-odd yards out that looks on target from where we’re stood.
Boosey hits back for the U’s on 54 minutes. Weaving in from the touchline and letting fly from just outside the box, but just high of the mark. Sutton’s perserverance pays off though and we finally get a break just after the hour mark. Boosey whips in a free-kick from out on the right towards the near post. Gothard comes off his line and claims the catch over the heads of a defender & Folwer. Bailey & Jinadu behind him turn in frustration and fail to spot the ‘keeper catching his defender on the head and fumbling the ball over his shoulder.
We scream out to the 2 lads now with their backs to the loose ball and the gaping net. Thankfully they hear our shouts and turn round to see what all the fuss is about. Jinadu is first to react and throwing his big frame at the ball gets a toe on the ball just before a defender and pushes it into the back of the net.
At last. A bit of bloody luck has finally gone our way!
Now, usually when the U’s go ahead, it’s a happy time for us. On the flip side, the following few minutes are normally a real trouser soiler. Almost immediately after, a huge goal-kick upfield is allowed to bounce on the edge of the box, but with the Purfrock no10 chasing hard, Iga just manages to snatch the ball off his head.
The goal really seems to have pissed our hosts off and they’re now really starting to get into the game. A sweeping move down our left flank presents a shooting opportunity from an angle just inside the box. But again Iga is alert and gets down low to palm away the shot for a corner. The resulting flag kick isn’t well cleared and eventually a high bal is flung in from the right. Patsy loses his man at the back post and the ball drops right to him. He takes a great first touch and with the goal at his mercy, he hooks a shot miles over the target.
Thurpleet keep coming and with 20 minutes left, another attack down the left looks to have been cut out, but the defence are slow to the second ball and a home attacker nips in, hitting a fierce first time shot. But again Iga is equal to the task and beats the shot away for another corner.
Gray responds immediately from the corner, breaking out from down by the byeline he tears off down the right, weaving past 2 opposition players he then flashes in a great ball, but there’s no-one in an Amber shirt there to make the most of it.
Thurrock keep pressing, but as time slips away, the increasing number of balls being piled into our box are either delat with by our unusually stout defence or straight at the big frame of Andy Iga. Their last opportunity comes with a couple of minutes left when a huge ball in from the left is allowed to bounce inside the area. But again, Iga is on his toes and leaps on the ball at the feet if the lurking no10.
The big lump no5 finally earns a card soon after, piling through the back of Matt Fowler. And is saved a second yellow when going for the same player on the byeline as the ref decides to blow for time rather than get involved with creating more paperwork.
We applaud & cheer the boys off for their battling efforts before getting our arses in gear and back to the car. Next stop. The Hood!
Right, what was Daves number again? He can get the beers in…
MAN OF THE MATCH : Paul Honey. Really back to his best.
ENTERTAINMENT : 7. A rather entertaining and interesting match.
TEAM : Iga, Gray, Palmer, Quinton, Jinadu, Akuamouah, Bailey, Hanlan, Honey, Fowler, Boosey
SUBS : Hamlin, Tydeman, Fletcher
THE REFEREE’S………a tosser, Gave us little in the first half and quite how their no5 only got a talking to for raising his hands to Fowler only a couple of minutes in was staggering. Still, we’re really coming to expect little else from the inept fools the Ryman masquerade as ‘Referees’ nowadays.