RYMAN PREMIER DIVISION
SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Akuamouah 27. Boosey 66]
HENDON – 0
The U’s recent surge in form has firmly lodged them into the top 5 and not only that, has opened the way to something that would have seemed impossible back in September.
Finishing as runners-up.
Our chances took a dent when we failed to turn total domination into points at Coldsore on Monday, but with Hendon to visit GGL, a win was vital.
Hendon themselves have been sat in 2nd for a while now, their own superb run having taken them to that spot. One above ourselves. But a couple of recent defeats have allowed us to close the gap to 6 points with 3 to play. A win today and we’re 3 behind going into the lst 2 weekends.
Exciting stuff eh! Who needs the play-offs?
After the rather silly pub-related exertions of the weekend, it was back to the usual, more sedate 2pm meet in the Hood. Dave behind the bar is soon reminding us of those exertions by displaying a huge bottle of a certain spirit, now less than half full. And displaying a marker line labelled “SUFC”.
Wonder what that’s for? *Cough*
“We never drank ALL that!!” we protest.
“Yes you did. And it was a new bottle sunday”
“We still didn’t do that much damage, surely!!”
“Yes you did. No one else drinks this stuff……”
Kev joins us for a pint, deciding to sample the Hood’s pre-match charms for himself. He’s also trying to bribe his way into an appearance on our “Crew” page. Disgusting! He seriously thinks he can buy his way onto such an exclusive part of this site in return for a couple of beers?
Too fucking right he can! Cheers Kev.
We eventually take a brisk stroll down to the ground & make it in time for kick off. Due to the robust nature of Mondays clash, we’re missing a couple of faces today. Fowlers dead leg hasn’t cleared up, so he’s rested. Akuamouah partners Nurse in attack due to Dean Hamlin pulling up in training on thursday, which keeps Matt Gray tied to his right wing-back spot. Gonsalves returns on the left to fill in for Akuamouah.
Both sides start quietly, the hard bumpy surface causing problems and making playing any football a bit of a challenge.
The first real moment of note comes around 10 minutes in. Bailey breaks down the left and gets to the byeline, pulling the ball back to the near post for Akuamouah, but he can’t hook his shot on target and pulls it wide of the upright.
A couple of minutes further down the line, Gray & Bailey combine on a corner out on the right. It’s played to the heart of the box where Quinton rises highest, but directs his header over the target. Hendon have a shout for a penalty soon after, when the ball bounces up on Honey in the box, but the ref waves play on.
The decision outrages the vistors bench, with one of their staff in particular seemingly rather pissed off at the call. This boils over on 19 minutes when Gray goes on a run down the right. As a defender comes to meet him, he overhits the ball. It looks like the ball will run harmlessly out of play, but the defender decides to make sure Matty won’t make it and just body checks him.
It’s a silly and somewhat pointless foul, which the ref has little option but to award. Unfortunately, this somewhat minor event sends the aformentioned Hendon coach somewhat loopy and after a bit of a rant at the ref, he’s forced to do a ‘Borg’ and clamber over the perimeter fence having been ordered from the dugout.
Possibly the most pointless dismissal we’ve seen in ages!
On 25 minutes, a ball forwards is deflected & runs through the defence. Iga races off his line to claim, whilst the Hendon no9 chases in. It looks like Iga makes it just before his opponent, getting his hands to the ball before they collide. There’s a big shout for a peno from the Hendon bench, but it’s a little hopeful at best.
Within a couple of minutes later Bailey collects the ball down the right. Holding it on the edge of the box, he steps back upfield before whipping a cross into the 6 yard box. A defender meets it and thumps it clear.
Well, he would have done had it not smacked a shocked team mate right in the chest about 5 yards away! The ball drops perfectly for the lurking Akuamouah and taking a touch, he rifles a shot under the ‘keeper to give us the lead.
That should give matey in the dugout something to moan about! Oh, hang on, he’s not there is he?
Hendon respond soon after with a free-kick from the left corner of the box, but despite being well placed & swung over the wall, Iga is equal to it & makes the save. 30 minutes gone and Boosey wins the ball in midfield. His run takes him to the edge of the box before he slips the ball out to the overlapping Nurse on the left. He steadies himself & shoots across goal, but the ‘keeper reacts well & makes a good stop with an outstretched leg, deflecting the ball over the bar.
Another foray forwards soon after sees Nurse chase down a ball to the bye line. He manages to hook it back to Akuamouah. He finds his route blocked, so lays the ball off to Bailey on the edge of the box. He strikes on goal, only to see his effort deflected and then squirm away from the ‘keepers grasp, before trundling just wide of the post.
With the break almost upon us, Eddie almost doubles his and our tally. A quick throw on the right drops to him. Unchallenged, he turns infield and gets to the edge of the box. He steps inside a defender and with the ‘keeper looking on stranded, whips a shot against the foot of the near post. Nurse tries to follow in the rebound, but a defender gets a foot in and the ball then runs to Gray. But his shot from a tight angle only succeeds in thumping Nursey between the shoulder blades.
The usual half time trip to the bar proves useful as I note that Oldham are surprisingly 3-0 up against Plymouth. But I decide not to hang around and head back outside, bumping into Dave coming the other way on his usual half-time pilgrimage from the pub.
The second half starts much the same as the first, with both sides trying to come to terms with our rather dodgy surface. Again, the U’s are first to make an impression on the half when a ball forwards finds Eddie just inside the visitors half. He hooks the ball on over his shoulder and on for Nicky Bailey racing in behind him. Nick charges for the box with a defender just behind and as he seems ready to strike, is felled by what looks to be a rather dodgy challenge.
Of course, the ref awards a goal kick.
So, let me get this straight. A guy challenges from behind, inside the box our man goes down and a goalkick is awarded? Hmmmm. So if the ball went out of play off Nick, chances are, Mr Defender didn’t win the ball.
But you’d be a fool to suggest such a thing obviously.
Hendon hit back with a move down the right and a low ball into the box. An attackers touch lets him down by the near post and Quinton nips in to tidy up. The pitch is soon causing a curse or two on the shoebox after Eddie plays in Nurse. Clear of the defence and with the goal at his mercy, the ball bobbles horribly as he pulls the trigger and instead of nestling snugly in the back of the net, it skews off JN’s shin and wide of the target.
Hendon introduce a couple of subs and this seems to lift them somewhat, leading to their most threatening spell of the game. Within a couple of minutes of the changes, a through ball sends the no12 clear behind our defence, with only Iga to beat he picks his spot just inside the far post, but Andy spreads himself well and gets a hand to the ball thats enough to diver the ball onto the post rather than inside it. The danger isn’t over as the rebound runs out wide and is immediately sent back into the box. The Hendon no9 makes a good leap and heads down to the near post, but again Iga is on his toes and dives to grasp the ball.
Not long afterwards, a ball is played out left for an overlapping attacker, but again he finds Iga blocking the way and the big U’s ‘keeper beats out his fierce drive.
Sutton make the visitors pay for their missed opportunities and on 65 minutes a ball down the right flank finds Nurse. He turns quickly and sweeps a ball into the centre for Boosey who hits the box and skips round the advancing ‘keeper. He rolls the ball towards the empty net only to see it bobble back off the far post before being lumped into touch in front of us. The throw in is taken quickly and again Nurse plays a ball in, this time Boosey doesn’t miss, bundling the ball over the line at the back post.
The second goal seems to kill off Hendon and the match dies off somewhat. Then suddenly, the last 10 minutes come to life….
The U’s introduce young Aaron Cole-Bolt to the fray, recently released by Charlton. He’s soon involved in the action when Nurse dispossesses a defender, he quickly plays the ball inside for ACB in the centre. He takes the ball to the edge of the box and with the goal at his mercy, blazes well over.
Hendon reply with a ball over the top that picks out the no9 in a good position inside the box. A clever little flick takes him seemingly round Iga and leaves a simple tap in. But it seems Iga is in no mood to conceed his clean sheet now and somehow manages to react and make a stunning block.
The last few minutes then all belong to Sutton as they press for a third. Bailey puts in a free-kick from the left that Quinton just nods over the target at the back post. Nurse then wins a ball in midfield before sending Bailey clear, but the midfielders arrogant little flick across goal beats the ‘keeper and the far post.
Frustrated, the visitors defence get a bit arsey towards the end. Gray is felled on the byeline by the huge no6 by what appears to be an arm to the face. Despite the close attention of both the ref and linesman, only a corner is awarded.
The corner is played short and the huge 6 and the no11 come racing in, a little too eagerly on Bailey. His little flick inside leaves them for dead and Boosey a sight of goal. His angled drive forcing a desperate save out of the ‘keeper at the expense of another corner. The next corner is also played short, with Bailey once more finding himself facing the 6 & 11. Clearly not happy with being made to look like twats, it’s obvious whats coming next. Turning away from the 6 he runs into the 11 who chops him down with a very crude lunge, earning himself a somewhat deserved yellow card.
The resulting free-kick once again makes fools of the two trolls as they charge in, as Bailey once again flicks the ball between them to give Gray an angled strike at goal. But the ‘keeper manages to make a block with his feet at the near post.
In the final minute, Boosey wins another battle in midfield and plays in Nurse out on the left hand side, but the ‘keeper again proves too big an obstacle and manages to push the ball away from another corner. It comes to nothing and we head back to the Hood happy that our season still has a little bit of life in it. Kev joins us, as having done his bribery bit, then buys a genuine round.
Such a nice chap!
MAN OF THE MATCH : Eddie Akuamouah. Led from the front. Well deserved goal too.
ENTERTAINMENT : 6. Not great entertainment, but got the result.
TEAM : Iga, Gray, Akuamoah, Palmer, Jinadu, Bailey, Quinton, Honey, Gonsalves, Boosey, J Nurse.
SUBS: Neilsen, Howard, Cole-Bolt
THE REFEREE’S………so-so. Pissed off both sets of fans with some odd decisions, but by and large, slightly better than most of the idiots we’ve had.