PRE SEASON FRIENDLY
HORSHAM – 3 [Carney 44. Kirby 87. Soutar 90.]
SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Gray 12.]
As touched upon in last weeks report of our first friendly, the one overriding worry for us this summer is getting a defence to replace the one we seem to have lost to sides further up the pyramid. With Qunicy already gone, Tobi & Patsy still unlikely to return, JR has his work cut out trying to find replacements in the 3 weeks before the season itself really gets underway.
Being a bit stupid, we head down for the game anyway and enjoy a pleasant few beers in a nice pub before heading to the ground. An almost full party is in attendance as well, which is unusual for a PSF.
As expected, most of the triallists from the Horley game don’t resurface today and of those remaining only Lee Richardson starts with Watkins, Green & Wilson all starting on the bench.
JR elects to try out a back 3 of Nielsen, Martin Dunn & another wonderfully monikered triallist by the name of Hubert Noah! Out left, we have a guy named Lee Fieldwick who is looking for a club after being released by Brentford. Carl Emberson in goal is a familar name having played professionally for Southend & Colchester. Up front is Andrew Martin, a forward released by Honrchurch at the end of last season and strongly rumoured to be our first summer signing.
Things start slowly and Emberson has to acrobatically tip a close range header over the bar inside the first couple of minutes. But we slowly get into the game and on 12 minutes, Matt Gray steps up to curl a nice free-kick low around the wall and into the bottom corner.
Despite playing some fairly reasonable football with so many new faces, our main concern is still at the back, with Hubert Noah (Instantly nicknamed ‘bertie’ by the members of the crew present) struggling a little. He’s not bad with the ball at his feet, but is getting caught out of position far too much and isn’t very convincing in dealing with the ball when it has to be disposed off rapidly.
Emberson also has this problem, with one sliced clearance putting Dunne in trouble. But the stopper redeems himself by tipping the resulting shot over his crossbar.
Boosey has our best moments, one with another of those amazing solo runs we know so well forcing the ‘keeper to save at his feet and a shot across the box being the closest he gets. As we retire towards the food bar, a long ball out of midfield finds Carney in absolutely acres of room on the right. He takes the opportunity and fires low past Emberson.
Still, things are soon looking up again. The half-time burgers are mighty fine and are unanimously voted an early front runner for the coveted Gandermonium/Chalmers ‘Grub of the season’ award!
Lewes Gonsalves replaces Neilsen for the second 45 and is soon followed by Green & Watkins up front. Despite a lot of huffing & puffing, neither side really does much to raise the pulse. THe main highlight comes from Ronnie Green whose wayward drive from around 20 yards flies well wide & has the U’s fans behind the goal ducking for cover. The ball clears the fence behind us and immediately rebounds straight back over.
Intruiged by what had caused the ball to return in such rapid fashion, most of the previously ducking fans peer over the fence to investigate. Most soon notice the Green Montego estate with a rather cracked back window! Ooops.
Don’t worry Ron, we won’t grass you up mate.
Horsham look fairly useful in getting the ball wide and take advantage of our ropey looking defence. The U’s main outlet is once again young Craig Watkins, who looks a decent find. His movement off the ball is very good and he makes some good runs. These presenting him with 3 very good chances late in the half, but all are straight at the keeper. The last one coming with just a few minutes remaining.
The home side make us pay for this wastefulness straight after. A cross from the left and really should be dealt with, especially with no-one really in the box to threaten. But Noah fails to cut it out and it ‘s collected beyond the back post by an opponent. Trying to atone for his error, Noah closes him down leaving his man totally unmarked behind him. The Horsham attacker calmly sucks in the frenchman, slips the ball inside and the huge no10 has all the time he wants to pick his spot before thumping a shot past the exposed Wilson.
With time almost up, more poor marking is exposed by another cross from the left that picks out an unchallenged Soutar in the centre of the box around 8 yards out and he guides a simple header past the helpless Wilson and inside the far post.
We head into the bar and are soon cheered up slightly by news that both Andrew Martin and Paul Honey have just scribbled on their names to 1 year contracts. So at least we’ve got some inward movement as opposed to outwards.
After a couple of drinks we mosey on back to the station and we’re soon back in the Hood for a good few pints to wash away the customary diappointment.
Aaaaah, it’s good to be home!
TEAM : Carl Emberson, Matt Gray, Lee Fieldwick, Jesper Neilsen, Martin Dunne, Hubert Noah, Lee Richardson, Paul Honey, Andrew Martin, Eddie Akuamouah, Glenn Boosey
SUBS : Phil Wilson (GK), Aaron Cole-Bolt, Ronnie Green, Lewes Gonsalves, Craig Watkins