On The Subject Of A ‘New Defence’…


HORLEY TOWN – 0    |   SUTTON UNITED – 3    [Gauci 29. Gray p75. Watkins 90.]

Lets face it. It’s been a shit summer. After the highs at the end of last season, we’ve had to put up with the loss of 3 important members of an excellent squad with possibly another 2 on their way out. And when you add another disappointing exit from an international tournament from our national team, you’ll get what I mean.

Ironically, we open our pre-season program at Horley Town, whose nice new ground is known as ‘The New Defence’. Funny, ‘cos if Patsy & Tobi join Tony Quinton in the Conference, that’s exactly what we’ll be needing.

Belly, myself & Gareth make the trip and it’s not long before we’re enjoying a leisurely pint in the Horley bar, which gives an excellent view over the pitch through some huge plate glass windows. Our favourite pre-season game of “who the fuck is that?” is shortly underway as the U’s squad for the day inspect the playing surface.

A swift head count between the three of us has soon worked out that there are only 6 of last years squad on duty today out of a total squad of 15. So that’s 9 new possibles to find out about then. Of those 6 we recognise, 5 start the match in their usual positions. The first 20 minutes or so are pretty boring and not a great deal happens apart from discovering that forward Dominic Gauci looks a bit like Sammy Winston, Gareth amusingly confuses trialist Lee Richardson with Jasper and Paul Honey almost knocks a female U’s fan sparko with a very wayward shot.

It’s not until around 30 minutes in that we create a really good chance, the steady looking Richardson (with Molesey last season apparently) played in the pacy Kenny David behind the Horley defence. The young striker, from the same stable as the all but departed Jinadu, drew the ‘keeper but finished with a weak shot that looked easy for the Horley stopper to gather. But, he fumbles and the lurking Winsto….erm…..Gauci has the simple task of sweeping the ball into the empty net.

Of the trialists, David looks useful with his pace and clever runs, but an erratic touch lets him down all too often. Gauci is hard working but makes little impact other than the tap in, Richardson stands out as solid & unfussy and at the back Omar Rahim looks composed against admittedly low key oppo. But it’s still Matt Gray causing basically all the problems with his forays down the right.

JR makes some changes for the second half, introducing Aaron Cole-Bolt, ex-K’s forward Ronnie Green and the brilliantly named Omar Congo. Fantastic old moniker that. Classic. Give the guy a contract now! Don’t care if he’s shit or not.

The second half is again fairly low key and Lewis Gonsalves blazes over from close range after a good cross in from Matt Gray before the best chance for the home side goes begging. A ball in from the right is called for by sub ‘keeper Wilson, but he fails to gather and an oppo forward nips in ahead of him, but having steadied himself, shoots agonisingly across the face of goal and wide when he really should score.

With around 15 minutes to play, Cole-Bolt is bundled over on the box jumping to reach a corner. Gray stepping up to despatch the spot kick smartly to the ‘keepers right and effectively ends the contest. JR brings Honey off at this point and re-introduces Chris Nurse but this does little to raise the tempo above mildly boring.

With time almost up, Gray provides another good ball through the Horley defence for another sub, Craig Watkins (An 18 year old who was Epsom’s top scorer last season apparently) to show great composure and skip round the ‘keeper before slotting the ball into the empty net from close range.

Wondering slightly just how many of the new faces we’ve seen today will still be around come next Saturdays trip to Horsham. As we ponder this further, we find ourselves engaged in a very interesting conversation with Tobi Jinadu’s agent….oooops….sorry, I mean ‘Representative’.

But that’s another story entirely.

So, anyone got a ‘New Defence’ we could have??

TEAM : John Odlum, Matt Gray, Eddie Akuamouah, Jesper Neilsen, Omar Rahim, Lewis Gonsalves, Lee Richardson, Paul Honey, Dominic Gauci, Chris Nurse, Kenny David

SUBS : Phil Wilson (GK), Aaron Cole-Bolt, Ronnie Green, Omar Congo, Craig Watkins

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