RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
SUTTON UNITED – 5 [J.Nurse 38.49.53. Hanlan 56. Boosey 75]
HEYBRIDGE SWIFTS – 1 [Griffiths 66]
Now, Heybridge ain’t our favourite bunch. We’ve had some some frustrating encounters over the last few years and their mainly agricultural approach to the beautiful game has won them few admirers amongst the U’s faithful. But their burgers are nice.
And so the Swifts travel to GGL, hoping to succeed where many have failed recently. To stop the U’s runaway train finish to (hopefully!) their last Ryman Premier Division campaign.
The crew assemble as always in the Hood, taking advantage of the unusually sunny afternoon and parking our arses in the garden. Greek, Mrs Greek, Windy and Mr & Mrs Chalmers are already in attendance. All are feeling a little fragile after the previous evenings St Georges day celebrations that saw a rather large amount of alcohol necked. Having somewhat tentatively sunk a pint, it’s the short wander down the road in the sunshine to GGL.
The Sutton line up has only minor changes today, Lewis Gonsalves starting on the left instead of Akuamouah who is nursing a couple of knocks and Matt Fowler returns to the attack alongside Nurse. Apart from that, it’s the same side that saw off Hendon last week. We’re also unusually early for a change and get to see Matt Gray pick up the two supporters POY awards
Action isn’t long in coming after the first whistle, Bailey making a burst from halfway out on the left. He tries to pass infield & find Fowler on the edge of the box, but the ball is cut out and runs invitingly back to him, but a defender manages to get his body in the way and his effort is blocked. Striahgt afterwards, a ball out to the left finds Glenn Boosey. His low pass across the 6 yard box picks out Matt Gray in front of goal, but the ‘keeper somehow manages to get something onto MG’s little flick and the ball spins agonisingly wide of the far post.
We keep coming and on 8 minutes Nurse wins a flick on around halfway finding Fowler behind him. Matt turns quickly and sweeps the ball out towards the left where Bailey is charging through on the overlap. He holds off the defender and from the edge of the area cracks a shot into the midriff of the ‘keeper. Another U’s attack follows swiftly (no pun intended!), Boosey making a run from from halfway and going past 2 Heybrdige players switches play to the left corner of the box for Fowler to whip in a shot that the ‘keeper manages to smother.
What already looks to be a tough afternoon for the visitors is made even harder with about 15 minutes played.
A U’s attack breaks down on the right and the Swifts no10, Cousins, tears off up the line with Matt Gray in hot pursuit. They get around 25 yards out before Gray appears to get in front of his opponent. For some reason, Cousins just kicks out and both players go to ground. The ref blows for a free-kick and we initially think it’s AGAINST Gray. But the linesman brings attention to the kick and the ref instead produces a red card.
Flippin’ hell. What is it with GGL and ridiculously pointless dismissals over the last few weeks?
Unfortunately, our approval at the opponents losing a man is suddenly tempered by memories of our somewhat shite form against shit sides down to 10 men.
Naturally, we spend a good 10-15 minutes mincing about after the red card adn it’s not until the 29th minute we manage to mount another threatening foray forwards.
Glenn Boosey switches the play neatly from left to right finding Bailey. Nicky cuts infield and from around 18 yards, zips a shot wide of the ‘keeper but also wide of the far post. Another few minutes idles by as the U’s search for a way through the visitors defence and just as we’re starting to check watches as we approach half time, we finally get a breakthrough.
A poor clearance from the ‘keeper drops to Nurse around 30 yards. He advances upfield a bit before trying to feed Fowler just inside the 18 yard box. The Swifts custodian, eager to make up for his error races off his line and manages to block Fowlers attempted shot, only to see it once more run to Nurse, who lobs the ball straight back over the now completely stranded ‘keepers head and into the net.
Chalk up 20 for the season for Mr Nurse.
This gets us talking about a certain striker’s appearance on the club message board during the week, when he all but promised us a hat-trick today.
Erm, that’ll be you then Nursey!
Come on then son. Two more. That’s all you need…….
Heybridge create a mildy worrying moment shortly before the break, an early sub wearing the no14 shirt weaves his way past 2 challenges into the box and pulls the ball back from the byeline across the 6 yard box. It evades Iga but not Palmer behind him and the Sutton defender thumps the ball clear upfield. A second goal is almost added by the U’s when a cross in from the right is touched on by Fowler and it evades the 2 defenders behind him, bouncing up invitingly for Nurse at the back post. He nods the ball goalwards, only for the ‘keeper to produce a super save, acrobatically clawing the effort from out underneath his crossbar. The ball drops at the feet of Bailey, but he drives the rebound narrowly wide of the post.
The second half starts with the lads showing a bit more purpose and they catch the visitors cold after the restart. A long goalkick forwards on 49 minutes is knocked on by Fowler. As he always does, Nursey legs it after the ball into the Heybridge box. Getting in front of his marker, he turns towards goal a couple of yards out from the byeline, skips past his man, then somehow makes it past a second before strolling round the prostate ‘keeper and rolling the ball into the net.
Woo hoo! Thats two JN. Just the one more to get son!
Nursey doesn’t hang around and just 3 minutes after making it 2-0, he’s incredibly completing that hat-trick he promised!
Honey playes the ball forwards for Nurse. He turns out on the the right corner of the box and after advancing a couple of yards cracks a low drive past a startled ‘keeper inside his near post.
Naturally, JN’s a bit pleased about his first senior match ball, but remembering his ‘promise’ he turns and acknowledges the crowd behind the goal with a three fingered salute. Cheers Jon!
Now, any chance of tonight’s lottery numbers at all mate?? Oh and Chalmers wants to know what you reckon about the 5 o’clock at Doncaster this afternoon!
JR immediately decides to do the visitors a favour and subs Nursey for Hanlan, allowing the young forward to enjoy the ovation his efforts deserve. Now, you may think bringing on the veteran midfielder for the racy striker would somewhat blunt our attacking ambitions a little.
Hanlan gets his first touch after a couple of minutes and it’s to play a ball into the right channel for Fowler. His angled shot from about 6yards out is parried by the ‘keeper, allowing Hanlan his second touch of the ball when he slides in to put the ball into the empty net to make it 4-0.
The visitors finally make an impression on the game after the hour mark. Quinton goes down in a heap after a challenge out on the right, but the ref ignores this and allows play to continue. The ball is worked out to the right and a cross comes in. Flicked on at the near post, it picks out Griffiths towards the back post and he crashes a smart volley past Iga for what appears to be a consolation.
The ref starts to irritate as we approach the final 15 minutes, Fowler chasing down a ball through the middle before being somewhat clumsily bundled over in the box right under the gaze of the official. Obviously having dished his one red card of the day, absolutely nothing is given.
Boosey stings the hands of the ‘keeper on 74 minutes with a free-kick whipped in from the right, before a minute or two later, he goes and does ‘it’ again.
Collecting the ball a good 30 or so yards out, he runs at the retreating Swifts defence. Despite having Fowler peeling away to the left, he goes all Fred Astaire again and with some dazzling close control once more leaves 3 or 4 opponents in his wake in the space of about 5 yards, before almost passing the ball into the bottom corner past a startled and helpless goalkeeper.
Fuck me Glenn. Don’t you score any NORMAL goals for christs sake? Try a tap in once in a while eh?
5-1 up and with still a quarter of an hour to play, not for the first time we look like giving our hapless oppo a right good hiding. But we ease off a little and the avalanche sadly never materialises.
Boosey swings one lovely diagonal ball into the box from the left, picking out Fowler at the far post, but the ‘keeper manages to beat away his sidefooted volley back across goal.
Another very good shout for a penalty is turned down in the last few minutes when Gonsalves latches onto a neat little pass down the left and fires a low cross into the 6 yard box for Fowler. But as the U’s man arrives, he’s once again bundled to the ground from behind. The fact that the ball whacks him in the face and very nearly creeps past the ‘keeper would be amusing if it wasn’t for the incompetent officiating denyng us a 6th goal.
Fowler isn’t happy and his prolonged protests bring a yellow card.
Still, this doesn’t prevent the lads from ending their home campaign with a very resounding win. Something I didn’t think we’d be saying back at the end of September!
Back at the Hood, the beer flows to celebrate, especially when we find out Hendon have drawn at home with St Albans, leaving us just a single point behind them going into the last day.
Now, finishing Runners-Up was certainly NOT something we were contemplating 6 months ago!
MAN OF THE MATCH : Jon Nurse. A hat-trick as predicted! The cheeky sod!
ENTERTAINMENT : 7. Nice to see us put 10 men away for a change!
TEAM : Iga, Gray, Gonsalves, Palmer, Jinadu, Bailey, Quinton, Honey, Gonsalves, Boosey, J Nurse.
SUBS: Neilsen, Hanlan, Cole-Bolt
THE REFEREE’S………started ok with the correct dismissal of the visitors no10. But then seemed to take something of a dislike to Matty Fowler, turning down 2 obvious shouts for penalties. The last being so clear cut, even a blind baboon could have worked it out. Twat.