RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
BRAINTREE TOWN – 0
SUTTON UNITED – 3 [Bailey 8. 51p. C.Nurse 63]
The home game with Braintree provided another of those dark moments from earlier in the season, with a 2-1 defeat at GGL. If the chance to avenge that result wasn’t sufficient motivation to take the points, then their recent managerial appointment certainly is.
Graham Roberts is back. Unfortunately.
Quite how the guy continues to earn a living by plying his dubious ‘trade’ in the Ryman escapes me. It’s the same story everywhere he goes. Gets the job, presented huge playing budget, overspends, maybe just about wins you a promotion from Division 1, then has huge budget cut in the summer due to massive overspend, chucks toys out of pram and then leaves.
And in some cases, leaves with some of that aforementioned overspend tucked in his back pocket.
Wonder how much interest 18,000 quid earns in a good account these days? Any advice Graham?
It just goes to show, there’s one born every minute. And Braintree are the latest to come out of the Ryman’s ‘Graham Roberts’ Maternity wing.
Still, it certainly makes this a first. A trip to Essex we don’t mind making.
It’s an early start and I find Windy & Greek fattening up 2 obviously malnourished fruit machines. Chalmers is still in his pit from a drink up with the missus last night and has decided to wuss out & drive.
That’s his excuse anyway. I doubt it’s got anything to do with having to provide us with half time entertainment this afternoon in the shape of a ‘shoot-out’ on the pitch. Nope definitely not.
In fact, the pressure really is on Mr C where this little contest is concerned. Not only does he get to make a possible fool of himself in front of not only us but a couple of hundred other people, his opponent is female. And the U’s chairman has threatened to ban him if he loses to a girl “for disgracing the club”.
So, you can probably guess that being pissed could possibly earn him the unwanted treble of looking a right twat, getting a life ban and worse of all. Losing at football to a girl.
Fuck me, even I might consider staying sober in that situation
Well, relatively sober anyway….
Munchies purchased, we jump on the train for the really rather tedious journey to Braintree. It’s so boring in fact, that we sit playing games on our mobile phones to pass the time.
We finally arrive after what seems an eternity and set about finding the boozer. This is Greek’s 1st visit to this part of Essex and he doesn’t seem too impressed. Especially with all the tracksuited, baseball cap wearing little tossers swaggering all around the place.
“This place is a fucking chavesty!” he mutters. And yes, you did read that right…
The local branch of Wetherspoons is soon located and we settle in. One unusual feature is the presence of TV’s. Wonder what happened to the chains policy on no TV’s or music? Still, I’m not complaining, I get to watch Leeds getting thrashed by Birmingham. Which is amusing.
A few beverages later and with impeccable timing, Chalmers arrives, missus in tow, just in time to give us a lift to the ground. What a nice man!
JR has stuck with the team from Tuesdays win over Harrow, so Chris Nurse keeps his spot in the middle. Another minor change is the appearance of Jasper Nielsen on the bench. Apparently a defender signed from Welling at the start of the month.
Sutton start well and a couple of minutes in a pass out left finds Eddie. He knocks the ball up the line for Bailey. He makes a run upfield and delivers a looping cross into the box. Fowler jumps highest at the back post, but can’t guide his header onto the target & it drifts high & wide of the mark.
Soon after, a ball forwards is chased down by Jon Nurse. With 2 defenders racing back to cover, it seems nothing will come of this, but comically, the 2 collide with each other and the ball runs loose. Nursey hurdles the pile of tangled defenders and nips on to pinch the ball, but the ‘keeper races off his line to narrow the angle and blocks JN’s shot.
The U’s continue to control proceedings and Bailey is at the centre of most things. He gets a bit of a whack for his trouble, the Braintree no7 getting a caution for his badly timed lunge.
Thankfully Nicky isn’t hurt and on 12 minutes we’re very grateful he wasn’t! A throw in from the right drops to Jon Nurse. He lays the ball infield to Honey who in turn feeds Bailey. Nicky finds himself in a bit of space and smashes a vicious dipping half-volley from the edge of the area and in off the underside of the bar.
Woo Hoo! Corker!
Now thats not a bad start at all!
Sutton keep up the pressure on the home side, but without playing particularly well. Still, on 19 minutes, another chance presents itself.
Bailey swings in a free-kick from out on the left. Matt Gray heads it back across the box from the far post. It drops to Jon Nurse in the box and he turns his marker, making room for the shot. But again, the ‘keeper is there to block the close range effort.
A few minutes after, Braintree finally manage to mount a serious attacking threat. A long ball forward is knocked down on the edge of the box allowing a yellow shirt to strike an angled shot from the right that Iga pushes away for a corner. And er……….that’s it really for the first half! The U’s laregely dominate, but fail to really threaten the home goal again.
Still, we get to be entertained now by Mr C and his high stakes half time ‘shoot out’.
He strolls out to the centre circle resplendent in his away shirt and black woolly hat to face ‘Ginge’, the female Braintree fan who could be about to make his life hell…
Ginge goes first and after negotiating the 3 cones, draws the ‘keeper & slips the ball into the near corner. 1-0 Braintree! PC’s 1st attempt sees him get to the box quicker, but after drawing the ‘keeper, his shot pings back off the base of the far post. Twat!
Naturally, we support our mate in his hour of need. With a chorus of “You’re shit and you know you are!”. That’ll get him going I bet.
But Ginge lets him off the hook with her next go. Pulling the shot just wide. Chalmers grabs his opportunity and slots his second effort slipping the ball into the far corner to level the scores at 1-1. Oooh, exciting stuff!! Almost better than the game.
The Braintree lass takes her final effort, but the intense pressure is all too much and despite drawing the ‘keeper off his line again, she plants her shot into his midriff. You jammy git Chalmers! You’d better not screw this up now!! With an arrogant swagger of a bloke about to win a half-time shoot out at Braintree against a girl, PC strolls round the cones and with the ‘keeper once more off his line, nonchalantly flicks the ball into the top far corner to snatch victory 2-1. PC wins, PC wins!
Awww. That means we don’t get to take the piss out of him for the foreseeable future now. He’s no fun that Chalmers bloke. No fun at all.
We meet our woolly hatted winner by the halfway line and despite our best efforts, he refuses to admit shinning in his clinching goal. He’ll crack though, you’ll see!
As the players reappear for the second half, Greek hands me a drink he’s purchased from the bar. It’s one of those little ‘shot’ thingies and the brown gooey stuff inside looks awful. It doesn’t taste much better either. But enough bollocks. On with the game.
The home side provide an early scare when a couple of minutes following the restart, a corner from our left is nodded on. The ball drops loose at the far post and despite a first effort being blocked, a second is forced over the line. Thankfully the lino at that end has his flag up for offside.
What a nice man! Salt of the earth those linesman, always said so………..*cough*
This let-off seems to spark the lads into life and on 52 minutes, the lead is extended. Bailey & Akuamouah try to battle through a crowd of Yellow shirts on the left of the 18 yard box. Nicky eventually gets the ball and with some funky twisting & turning with the ball at his feet, he eventually is tripped by the inevitable poorly timed ‘foot in’.
The Braintree lads aren’t happy and a bit of pushing & shoving starts. Quite how the 2 & the ‘keeper stay out of the book for their part is beyond me.
Despite the ‘keepers best efforts at putting him off by bouncing up and down on his line and swinging on his crossbar, Nicky keeps his cool and smashes the ball down the middle for 2-0.
The home side are really struggling to make an impression on the game and just after the hour a good ball down the right finds Bailey. His first time ball into the box finds Fowler, but his hooked shot is straight at the ‘keeper. Almost straight after, a ball over the top finds Nursey in space out on the left. He strips the ponderous no5 and drawing the ‘keeper off his lline, clips a shot past him, but beyond the far post.
The ‘keeper then amuses us by attacking his centre-back and captain for letting Nursey go. Come on mate, be fair, if you’d seen what he did to the Scummers in December, you’d have been thanking your man for keeping up with him for so long!
The respite from damage is brief though as, inside a minute, Braintree suffer from something no other Ryman Premier side has. A ‘double-Nurse’.
Now, considering a single Nurse has been enough to reduce some sides to ruins since Xmas, it maybe considered a double Nurse is somewhat cruel. Our response to that is “Yeah? So what?”. And thats because, when it really comes down to it, we’re cruel, heartless bastards.
A ball down the left sends Jon Nurse on one of his scampering runs. He gets to the byeline, pulls the ball back across the box for his younger bro to charge in at the back post and emphatically sidefoot into the roof of the net.
3-0. Game over.
By the way, would now be a good time to ask his sad, fat, grey old man-ness Roberts what the score is?
The U’s continue to dominate the match, with the home side failing to really make an impression on the game. Our midfield proving a somewhat annoying stumbling block. On 76 minutes, Bailey puts a free-kick in from the right that Quinton meets at the far post and cracks back across the box, but no-one is able to get a touch. Then Bailey flicks on a long Iga clearance on 80 minutes that Matt Gray races onto. But with the ‘keeper off his line, Matty’s attempted chip is just the right height for the ‘keeper to pluck out of the air.
Shortly after, JN is away again. Legging it onto another ball over the top, again on the left. But a defenders last ditch lunge blocks his shot from the angle & forces a corner instead. On 87 minutes, Bailey once more supplies a fre-kick into the box, right sided, that picks out Quinton at the near post, but he can’t quite guide his header on to the target & it flashes over the bar.
In the last few minutes, unsurprisingly for a Roberts side, the home team allow their frustration to show and a couple of silly challenges go in, with even the ever smiling Jon Nurse voicing displeasure at one particular effort. Which is something considering he was playing sunday footy against the likes of me until a few months ago, where you’re pleased if you get just 6 studs in a challenge rather than all 12.
It all spills over somewhat stupidly with a couple of minutes left when Chris Nurse & the Braintree no10 tussle for the ball about 30 yards out in the Braintree half. The 10 gets upset and takes a swing at the young midfielder. Unfortunately, Chris also raises his hands in the process and in the end, a red card for both players is inevitable.
Even when now down to 10 men, the U’s refuse to sit back and accept the result and in added time, a ball into the box from the left runs loose. Glenn Boosey pounces, but his shot from 8 yards is well smothered by the ‘keeper.
With time almost up, JR finally introduces the mysterious Jasper Neilsen to the action. He’s barely taken his position in the defence out on the right when the ref blows his whistle for full time. Poor sod!
This prompts a chorus of “There’s only one Jasper Neilsen”, just to show we appreciate his small, yet important contribution in ensuring we take those points back to Sutton.
Bundling into the bar, more drinks flow and Windy is spending a few quid on his mobile burning up his data trying to find out the Scummers score. We’re especially excited as they were reportedly 1-0 down at half-time. A short while later, the Scots blokes persistance pays off.
The bad news is, they’ve drawn 1-1. The really fucking good news is WE’RE ABOVE THE BASTARDS AT LAST! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOO!
A huge cheer greets the news. Right, I know they’ve got 2 games in hand and it’s only a single point, but if that’s not an excuse for an impromptu party, I dunno what is. COME ON!
Silliness increases as the drinks flow and we’re pleased to announce that Mr Neilsen is welcomed in the appropriate manner. Which of course means he has the piss taken out of him. Fortunately for us, he’s a top bloke and takes the stick in good spirits.
Soon, it’s time to leave though. And Greek is determined to secure refreshments for the trip home. Unfortunately, he’s only able to agree a deal for 6 of the aforementioned dodgy, sickly brown coloured ‘shot’ drinks for a tenner.
And he hands me 2. Oh goody…………these will be a treat!
The journey home must be a nightmare for the painfully sober Chalmers, as the “We’re really rather pissed and above the Scum” party starts in his car somewhere shortly after joining the M25 Dartford bound, especially as a shedded Greek sat in the passenger keeps switching the radio to the terribly cheesy ‘Magic FM’.
Still, it at least makes him get his foot down so we’re back at the Hood a damn sight quicker.
Right, so who’s up for tonking K’s Tuesday night?
MAN OF THE MATCH : Nick Bailey. Back to his swaggering best.
ENTERTAINMENT : 7. Niggly. But when we played, we looked good. Very good.
TEAM : Iga, Gray, Akuamouah, Palmer, Jinadu, Quinton, Bailey, C.Nurse, Honey, Fowler, J. Nurse
SUBS : Boosey, Dunne, Hamlin
THE REFEREE’S………by usual standards, not that bad. Should have got a grip on some of the rough-house nonsense from the home side towards the end though.