FA CUP 3rd QUALIFYING ROUND
SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Scarborough 3. Martin 23.]
BROMLEY – 2 [OG 43. Luckett 48.]
Admittedly, when this draw was made, we weren’t that impressed. Having been spoiled with a trip to Eastbourne in the last round and a cracking cup tie on top of a good ol’ piss up, playing Bromley at home is something of a let down.
When you add the fact that the Bromley fans appear to have an almost insane dislike of the U’s, which always makes their visits somewhat ‘special’ occasions.
Us? We couldn’t give a flying fuck! We just want the win, the 5 grand that goes with it and a place in the next round ta.
The one teeny weeny obstacle apart from the opposition?
We’re not particularly good at home are we!
In an attempt to try & change this, we decide to try & replicate some of our performances on the terraces away from GGL, at home. See if it can lift the lads at home as well as it has on the road.
Now, making an atmosphere needs a couple of things. A big gob and beer. Plenty of beer. So it’s with some resignation we pile into the hood for 12 to sink a few before the game starts. Through the window, we can see that todays decision to abandon our usual positions in the ground is a sound one as it’s pissing down. Eventually, we manage to tear ourselves away from the bar and head down the road in the rain for the game.
JR fields a familiar line up, but with just one change. Vansittart coming in up front with Watkins in place of Martin, no doubt to try & battle the big Bromley centre-backs.
With us camped under the unfamilar surroundings of the covering down the side, the lads get us off to a flier. Gray’s first run down the right is halted rather uncerimoniously and John Scarborough heads the resulting free-kick in from Peter Fear down & past the ‘keeper at the near post.
Bloody hell! Not bad!
The goal usettles the visitors slightly and a couple of minutes later their first yellow card is dished out for a clumsy foul on Gray. On 10 minutes, Vansittart wins his first useful header of the day, sending Watkins in on goal. Struggling to hold off the defender he toes the ball towards goal with the ‘keeper coming out, but the Bromley stopper reacts and sticks out a foot to make the stop.
It takes the visitors nearly 20 minutes to make an impression on the game. Brake is dispossessed on the left and a quick deep ball into the box just evades the forward nipping between 2 defenders ans skips off the wet turf for a goal-kick.
Vansittart then limps off with an ankle injury he’d picked up moments before the first goal and Taff Martin replaces him.
The Welshman’s introduction has an immediate impact as on 23 minutes, he scores the U’s second goal. Gray puts a cross in from by the right byeline that finds Akuamouah in the centre. He Can’t control and the ball squirms away from him and his marker, finding Martin just beyond the far post. For some reason, the defender doesn’t close him down and with all the time in the world, he controls and lifts the ball over the advancing ‘keeper and into the roof of the net from around 8 yards.
It’s just the start we really needed. Two up and the visitors are now really in trouble. 2 minutes later, Watkins has the chance to virtually kill off the tie. A cracking ball through the defence from Gray sends the young striker scampering through on goal, but the ‘keeper stands up to the threat and blocks the shot with his legs.
Bromley seem to take heart from the let off and start to compete a little more. Denying us the space we’d had before, we lose control of midfield and the next 20 minutes are pretty uneventful with the visitors having a load of the ball, but never really looking like doing much with it.
Then, with the break approaching, Gray tracking back conceeds a corner. It’s swung in from the right and Quinton rises to head clear, only for the ball to go the opposite direction, loop in, flick off the underside of the bar, off the inside of the post and behind a rather surprised Nigel Brake guarding that upright and Bromley are suddenly, from nothing, back in the tie.
Body language says it all and the U’s trudge off at the break looking more like the team 2-1 down that the visitors. We mooch round to the far end, with the main topic of discussion being “Has any football team in human history conceeded as many 2 bob, utterly gash goals as ours?”.
We think you know the answer….
Unbelievably, The second half starts as badly as the first one ended. Corbett conceeds a free-kick on the left about 25 yards out from goal. Ex-K’s man Colin Luckett steps up and curls a the ball over the wall and inside Wilsons near post.
Fucks sake, here we go.
Tails up, Bromley are now definately on top, whilst we stumble around in a bit of a mess. 6 minutes after drawing level, a feeble U’s attack is broken up and the visitors break out down the left. Nigel Brake, who’s having a bit of a shocker is completely skinned. Wilson has seen this coming and races out to meet the oncoming forward. He never makes it and a low, but weak shot is knocked past him and is heading for goal until Matt Gray intervenes and intercepts. But, following the pattern so far, he makes a complete mess of the clearance, giving it straight to another white shirt. But seemingly shocked at the gift presented to him, he scuffs his shot over the target.
The ref has been naturally compounding an afternoon going rapidly to ratshit by acting like a complete arsehole. Foul after foul goes unpunished and it all comes to a head just after the hour. It all starts with Gray chasing an overhit cross out on the right. He toes the ball away from the oncoming defender before being dumped on the turf in a rather clumsy challenge. The result? A fucking throw in to Bromley. Moments later, Watkins receives the ball and runs at the defence, he cuts infield along the edge of the box and is virtually rugby tackled to the ground.
Once more, the guy allegedly masquerading as our matchday official deems this a fair & legal challenge. A brief melee ensues as Watkins tries to get from under the defender, the defender tries to revent him and Martin with another defender tussle to try and extract the ball. Creating more confusion, the lino eventually flags for what we all assume is a U’s free-kick. The ref confuses us by seemingly first awarding it against, then for us. As we prepaer to take what we assume to be our set piece, the lino & ref have a chat before Martin is summoned and shown a stright red card.
What for, we can only guess. My money would be either stamping on the grounded player of kicking the other guy. But judging by some of the decisions given so far this afternoon, I wouldn’t rule out something equally naughty. Like breathing. Or perhaps not having his shirt tucked in.
The man advantage doesn’t tell for a short while and Tony Quinton almost atones for his earlier error, diving in to meet a Peter Fear free-kick swung in from the right at the far post, but the header flashes agonisingly wide of the opposite upright.
The game is then largely one way traffic with the visitors pressing for a winner. And their inability to take a couple of absolute gilt edged sitters is the only bright spot for us in the closing stages.
With 10 minutes left, a clearance rebounds off a white shirt and drops to the Bromley no3. Despite this being only very slightly offside, there is no flag. Thankfully Wilson is out and makes a great stop. Then inside the last 5 minutes, ex-U Mark Watson heads down for the no12 in space, but with a good sight of goal, he screws his shot horribly wide across goal.
Next up are the worst misses of this little spell. Twice Bromley attackers are put through into the box, first off, another one time ex-Sutton man, Gary Drewitt, goes round Wilson and with the goal at his mercy proceeds to fall over the ball. Next in injury time, another attacker goes round Wilson, but this time the impressive John Scarborough is on hand with a brilliant tackle that has the Bromley fans & bench screaming for a penalty, but it’s more in hope than anything else.
Eventually the whistle goes and we head for the bar to drown our sorrows in the new Ale the club have installed. On reaching the bar, we’re told the amusing tale of the ref getting some deserved earache about his less than stunning performance, only to snap back something along the lines “Well, you’ve got me wednesday as well!”.
Ooooooooh, get her.
A few beers later and we retire back to the Hood to contemplate a trip to not-so-sunny Bromley on Wednesday night. Still, at least it’s away from home.
We’ve got a chance now.
MAN OF THE MATCH – John Scarborough. First goal for the U’s and a big solid display.
ENTERTAINMENT – 7. Interesting game, started well, but tailed off badly for us!
TEAM : Wilson, Gray, Scarborough, Brake, Corbett, Gonsalves, Fear, Quinton, Akuamouah, Watkins, Vansittart SUBS : Honey, Martin, Arkali, Booth
THE REFEREE’S………a complete prick.Another of those fucking idiots we get who seems quite happy to let several heavy challenges against us slide, yet our first one brings a card.