RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
SUTTON UNITED – 0
MAIDENHEAD UNITED – 3 [Haworth 60. Hammond 80. Flack 81]
After Tuesday nights draw, we were somewhat disappointed we’d not managed to return to winning ways against Billericay. But the match itself was somewhat overshadowed by other events.
We’re almost certainly going to be missing Nicky Bailey today after the little incident on Tuesday evening, involving him and Matt Hanlan, which saw Nicky substituted unfortunately escalated into a major one later on, when Nicks dad decided to set the record straight by apparently giving or at least attempting to give (depending on your sources!) Matt Hanlan a right hander in the bar.
Which wasn’t incredibly sensible, I think you’ll agree.
Quite where this leaves our little midfielder, gawd knows. Only time will tell I guess. Just to make us feel better, todays visitors have decided to sign not one, but two ex-U’s in time for their visit to GGL.
During the week we found out that Rob Haworth would be joining from Gravesend. Somewhat later (about 1.30 saturday afternoon!) I hear that a certain Danny Bolt has also joined the Magpies. My source? Gareth. Who is almost run down by the ex-Sutton lads in the car park.
That’s it, we’re definitely doomed now.
I grab my usual pint in the Hood, with Greek and Chalmers. Gareth of course is at the club, recovering from his near fatal accident at the hands of the formerly Gandermonium sponsored midfielder.
On arrival at GGL, we’re again slightly frustrated by the selection of Quinton in midfield again, still unsure that breaking up that defensive unit and playing with effectively 3 defensive players accross the middle is a good idea. Oh well, we’ll see.
Another sluggish start for the lads gives the visitors early control. After a couple of minutes, a typically cheeky Bolt free-kick from way out on the right touchline has Iga scrambling across goal to claim the ball before it can sneak in at his near post. A few minutes later, a ball down our left finds the Magpies no9 and he glides past a slightly flatfooted Palmer. But Patsy makes up the ground and does enough to hassle the attacker enough to allow Iga to come off his line & claim.
It takes the U’s 23 minutes to make any impression on the game. Hanlan slipping a pass through to Nurse out on the left. He gets to the byeline, but his efforts to cut the ball back are snuffed out. Matt Gray soon has our first strike in anger at goal, with a ball picking him out just inside the right corner of the box. His thumping first time effort is on target, but is beaten away by the ‘keeper, who then gathers the loose ball before Matt can follow up.
Gray puts in a free-kick from the left touchline a couple of minutes later that dips and curls just wide of the near post. One of Maidenhead’s ex-U’s, Rob Haworth, is soon reminding us of what he’s good at, rising strongly to meet a corner from the right side and drifting a header just wide of the far post.
Matt Gray continues to be our main source of threat and around the half hour mark, a throw in from the left finds Quinton who hooks the ball into the box. Matty meets it with a good solid header, but the ‘keeper gets down well and hold on.
Coming up to the break, the visitors threaten again from a corner. Another ball in from the right is headed away at the near post and lands back at the feet of the taker. He steps up and swings a much better second effort in into the box towards the back post that forces Iga to come off his line & palm away from danger.
The U’s have a decent shout for a penalty shortly after when Nurse engages in a foot race with a defender after a ball over the top. Jon gets there first, holds off his opponent & looks to get clear before being dragged to the ground just inside the 18 yard box. We can see the defender has a huge handful off Nurse’s shirt and he certainly hasn’t played the ball. But, as you may have guessed, we’re now wearily aware of the fact that simple logical decisions just don’t exist at this level.
The ref see’s nothing, his assistant allegedly see’s nothing and we get nothing.
More annoyingly, Maidenhead break from this incident and when Dunne makes a hash of a clearance, the ball is returned with interest from around 25 yards out on the right, but it thuds back off of Iga’s post and our goal remains unbreached. So we head to the bar hopeful that the performance will pick up in the second half. And it does!
From the off, the lads pile forwards looking for the breakthrough. 3 minutes from the restart, a great chance goes begging. A ball through from midfield sends Quinton clear. With a defender closing in fast, he hits a dipping half-volley from the edge of the box that the ‘keeper manages to beat away only for it to drop at the feet of the oncoming Nurse. A goal looks certain, but again that poxy bloody ‘keeper gets in the way and once more manages to beat the effort out. Hanlan collects the rebound and as he turns to shoot, finds himself inexplicably flagged offside!
Erm, do we really have to come over and fucking explain the rules again lino? Twat.
We don’t have to wait long for the next chance. Quinton flicks on a ball forwards and it drops to Nurse on the edge of the area, he smartly turns his marker and thumps a shot goalwards. But once more, the ‘keeper is alert and manages to parry the effort. The lads keep up the pressure though and just short of the hour, a flick on from a throw on the right finds Gray in some space. He cuts into the box before rifling in a shot from an angle that again the ‘keeper beats out and agonisingly, it drops behind rather than in front of Nurse 8 yards out.
A couple of minutes later and we start to get that impression again that it’s not going to be our day. Nurse gets away down the left and gets to the byeline, pulling the ball back into the penalty area for the oncoming Quinton. But his first touch lets him down badly and allows the ‘keeper to close the available space right down. The ball still rolls kindly for the U’s midfielder, but as he tries to hook a shot onto the target, the ‘keeper throws out a desperate hand and does enough to deflect the effort.
Of course, having had all the play and the chances so far, we conceed at the other end not long after.
A long diagonal ball is played forwards to just inside the 18 yard box. Iga races off his line to come and claim, but he never makes it and Haworth nips in to nod the ball just over his shoulder and it drops inside the far post for the first goal.
Sutton respond soon after, but despite being well placed, Hanlan heads a very good chance over the bar from Matt Gray’s right wing corner. Things start to deteriorate though and after Iga is forced into a good save following a shot from the edge of the box, JR decides to push Jinadu further up the field rather than make a change.
Within a minute of this decision, a bewildered Tobi can only look on as a ball over the top exposes the gap he’s left and the nippy little no10 races through before despatching a smart lob over the stranded Iga and into the net. 2-0 and now we’re really fucked.
Actually, no. Scrub that last remark. It’s not until 60 seconds later that we’re REALLY fucked.
A ball down the left finds an attacker, who the remaining defenders are slow to meet. He has loads of time to pick out his man barrelling into the 6 yard box and he has the simple task of tucking away a header from almost point blank range.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Maidenhead worked hard and were undoubtedly well organised. But 3-0? Do me a favour!
The U’s efforts to get something from the game get more and more ragged as much like tuesday, the passing finds either no-one or an opponent more than an amber shirt.
Iga is called upon to keep some sense of respectability and stop the score from taking on ridiculous proportions in the last couple of minutes when another cross from the left exposes our lack of cover at the back and picks out Haworth. Fortunately, the Sutton ‘keeper is equal to the big striker’s acrobatic effort and beats out the shot.
A rather miffed and depressed crew amble back to the Hood and moods aren’t improved with the news that the Bobbins have hung onto an early lead to beat Basingstoke 2-1. The gap is now back to 4 points. And we’ve got Canvey on saturday.
Oh goody. That 65 point total is looking a long way off again!
Unusually alcohol does little to improve the mood and thoughts turn to Tuesday’s SSC quarter-final against CCL side Chessington & Hook.
There should be a chance to rack up a few goals there right?
MAN OF THE MATCH : Matt Gray. Our only serious threat on the day.
ENTERTAINMENT : 5. Not a lot of good play to speak of.
TEAM : Iga, Hamlin, Akuamouah, Palmer, Jinadu, Dunne, Quinton, Hanlan, Honey, Gray, J. Nurse
SUBS : Boosey, C.Nurse, Dray, Howard
THE REFEREE’S………ok I guess. Shit decision not to give that penalty though. Linesmen had their usual wonderfully clueless interpretation of the rules surrounding what is known as ‘Offside’.