SUTTON UNITED – 0
EASTBOURNE BOROUGH – 0
So, are we having fun yet? Are we bollocks. Tonight we receive the visit of the only side in the Nationwide South yet to get a point on the board. Eastbourne Borough. But don’t you worry retired seaside people, the way we’re playing we’ll have that sorted right out for you in a jiffy.
The usual faces are assembled in the Hood when I finally arrive. Thankfully with a 7.45 kick off nowadays, this means I’m able to squeeze in a couple of pre-match pints. Which really is the bare minimum you want to consume to before embarking on 90 minutes watching the current U’s side. Enthralling we are not.
Sedative taken on board, upon arrival at GGL we soon find out that JR has once again shuffled his pack. Akuamouah returns to the side, but in a central midfield role, Matt Gray goes back to his spot on the right and Andrew Martin comes back in to partner Joff up front.
What is nice to see is the number of visiting fans who’ve made their way up from the south coast midweek. In fact, it’s just as many as K’s usually bring on a Saturday! What isn’t nice is the fact that a couple of them have drums with them. Which means they’ll be noisy bastards. And besides, we fucking hate drums.
Being the home side, we give it a go early on and after just a couple of minutes a cross in from the right is aimed at Vansittart by the back post. He manages to connect & tries to direct a header back accross goal, but the ball clearly strikes a defender stood in front of him with his arms in the air.
No, of course he doesn’t give the penalty. Don’t be so silly. In fact I’m surprised he didn’t book Joff for using his head or something….
On 11 minutes a Peter Fear corner is swung in to the back post and looks to be sneaking in, but the ref finds the attentions of a U’s player a little too close on the ‘keeper and blows for a free kick as a defender manages to nod the ball away. The visitors are having a bit of possession, but aren’t doing much with it and amazingly are actually looking a bit more toothless than us up front! Which is saying something.
Around 20 minutes played a rare interchange of passes at ground level rather than head level following a throw in sees Fear swing the ball into the box which Joff manages to meet. But so does a defender and a corner is won. Gray whips in the resulting kick in from the left, which Gonsalves dives in to head just wide of the far post.
The visitors finally get a sight of goal on 26 minutes, but it’s more through persistance and rubbish defending than anything else. We fail to clear a ball to the edge of the box, which is nodded back into the danger area, before being flicked on again. An Eastbourne attacker hooking the ball well over the target with Wilson in his face. The rest of the half is uninspiring, with the only event of note for us being Martin’s rather pointless booking for gobbing off at the ref. Eastbourne do have another chance of note on 37 minutes though after a another ball to the edge of the 18 yard box is nodded on. The red shirted striker pulling his shot across the face of goal from a narrowish angle.
We amble into the bar, with another 45 minutes of uninspiring football fast coming to a close. Once again, the ball has spent most of the time in the air and as we’re not very good at that style of play, also with the ball bouncing around like a kangaroo on acid when it does eventually come back to earth, it makes controlling the bastard 10 times harder.
The second half starts with a big wake up call. A cross in from the left with a couple of minutes gone is headed in at the far post, but the ref instantly disallows the effort for an abvious push on Thomas. Even so, it’s a good couple of minuets before pulse rates return to normal on the Shoebox.
In the Collingwood terrace to our right, the Eastbourne lot are making an almighty racket with their drums and also now a bell. It’s not a tune we recognise and it does sound like making noise for the sake of it, but I guess we’re ok with it as it’s almost certainly getting on the tits of some of the miserable buggers who occupy that side of the ground. We’re sure the neighbours are delighted with this soundtrack to Eastenders as well.
10 minutes in and we have another reasonable opportunity to break the deadlock. A Matt Gray corner once again finds Gonsalves in the box, his downward header beats the keeper, bounces up and not only looks suspiciously over the line but appears to be blocked by a defender using his arm/hand. Mass appeals for a spot kick are made by one and all, but it seems the only 2 people at that end who DON’T think it’s a penalty are the ref & linesman. The lino’s position on the byeline makes his ignorance all the more galling. Naturally he gets bawled out by any U’s fan nearby, including the normally placid Greek bloke!
Shame we didn’t have that blind fucker running the line at Maidenhead. We’d have 4 points now. Not just the one. Arsehole. The abuse sent his way seems to distract the assistant official and he makes a string of further rank decisions over the next few minutes.
Whilst we’re not quite having a ‘purple patch’ as such, we’re certainly looking a tad livelier around now. But Eastbourne cause the shaky U’s defence a problem around the hour mark. Gonsalves trying to defend a ball into the box after a poor clearance only succeeds in having his ‘keeper scrambling across his goal to make sure it doesn’t creep inside the post.
A rare bit of progress down the left on 70 minutes produces a ball in to the near post. Martin gets a touch towards goal, but a defender gets another touch and it creeps into the side netting for a corner. Five minutes on, another chance goes awry. A corner from the left isn’t cleared and falls to Brake, he puts the ball back into the box. Vansittart stretches and manages to hook it towards goal. The ‘keeper gets a hand to it, but it looks like it’s going to drop in under the bar when a last ditch leap by a defender manages to head the ball out from under the bar.
From this moment, we seem to tire and the game slips away from us a little, with the visitors looking the stronger. They spend the last 10 minutes pushing hard, but again lacking that extra something to break through. Although their best opportunity comes with 10 minutes to play. A corner from the left finding a man unmarked at the far post, but from close range he heads wide of the mark when it seems easier to have scored.
With the late pressure and string of corners at our end, we’re just glad to be strolling down Collingwood Road back to the pub with our second point. But still, we’re four games in and the performances still aren’t overly encouraging.
And it’s Hornchurch on Saturday. You know, Horn-spentafuckingfortuneinthesummer-church?
Oh goody goody.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Eddie Akuamouah. All action performance. Ran himself silly
ENTERTAINMENT – 3. Two very poor sides that wouldn’t have scored if playing ‘til christmas….
TEAM : Wilson, Gray, Corbett, Thomas, Gonsalves, Akuamouah, Fear, Honey, Brake, Vansittart, Martin SUBS : Kennedy, Olusesi, Booth, Boosey, Howard
THE REFEREE’S………average at best. Few annoying decisions and the usual inconsistencies. but the vitriol tonight must be aimed at the linesman on our side who not only missed Gonsalves header looking properly over the line, but also the fact it was prevented from travelling any further by the hand of the defender on the line. Fucking useless.