Club v Country

CONFERENCE SOUTH

Att: 213



HAYES – 1    [Scott 87.]

SUTTON UNITED – 0

A few weeks before this particular fixture, Chalmers asked me if I was interested in trying to get tickets for the England v Wales World Cup Qualifying clash at Old Trafford. I agreed in principle and checked our fixtures to see which U’s game would possibly sacrificed.

“Excellent, it’s only a trip to Hayes. Fuck that!” I thought. Sadly, our attempts to secure tickets for the international were unsuccessful.

Great. Being a sad fucker, I’ll definately go to Hayes and no doubt the kick-off won’t be moved to avoid clashing with the England match. Still, good news was forthcoming when the hosts graciously agreed to move the kick off………to 1pm.

Great. We can watch the England game too!

But after a bit of mental arithmetic, the reality dawns. Our game would start at 1pm, finishing at 2.45. England start at 3. Meaning that not only will it be a rush afterwards, like it or not, we’re watching the game in Hayes. Which is bad.

If you’ve ever been to Hayes, you’ll know what I mean. The number of pubs in this area is bad enough, but finding one that you’re unlikely to get stabbed/shot/glassed/a good shoeing in, just for looking at someone, is even harder! Unfortunately, this meant we’d be staying in the clubhouse to watch the match and would have to wait 2 hours longer than we’d like to get to the best bit about visiting Hayes.

Which is, without doubt, getting the fuck out of the miserable place.

Couple all this with an important social engagement back at the club that night and a painful train journey through London is the last thing you need.  So, after much thought & discussion we hatch an alternative plan. Get Chalmers to drive!

Surprisingly, the scruffy haired fellow agrees without too much of a fight. Good man.

With all the pick-ups done, a full PCmobile heads out towards west London. The usual abuse that entails such a journey is soon underway along with an increasingly violent game called ‘yellow car’ that ends with Windy getting a punch to the mush from Mrs Chalmers.

Windy’s day continues to get worse, when at a stop for cash at a large supermarket, he engages in a silly race for the ATM’s with Greek. The big fella isn’t prepared to lose and takes out the Scotsman, leaving him sprawling on the concrete. Ooops!

We eventually roll up with a while to spare and hit the bar for a swift beverage. Here we see a little bit of the Barnet-Dagenham game on SKY in which Nicky Bailey is playing a part. Which is good. Lets hope he scores and puts another grand or 2 on his fee for the tribunal on Wednesday!

For the first time this season, the U’s side is basically unchanged with JR keeping faith in the 10 outfield players from last weeks victory at Eastbourne. Only Phil Wilson replacing Chris Vagg as expected in goal.

Bit harsh on the veteran stopper though that.

Things start brightly for the U’s and in the first minute, Watkins finds Martin to the right of the box. Under pressure he drops a lob onto the roof of the Hayes goal, guarded incidentally by ex-U, Kevin Davies. Sadly, from here on in, it’s pretty much downhill all the way as the lads fail miserably to make any sort of impact on proceedings for the remaining 44 minutes.

The warning signs come as early as the 3rd minute, when an attempted cross in from the left swirls in the wind and bounces back off the top of Wilsons crossbar. 4 minutes later a cross from the right is headed back across the edge of the box and a vicious rising volley stings the hands of the U’s ‘keeper.

As usual, a lot of the trouble is self inflicted. Having done the hard work, breaking down an attack on the left, we try and play out of danger rather than clear our lines and immediately lose the ball. The resulting cross is thankfully headed away for a corner by Scarborough with 2 attackers lurking unmarked behind him.

Hayes are trying thier luck from all over and one long raneg free-kick from 30+ yards is narrowly deflected over the bar by our 2 man wall. We’re soon shooting ourselves in the foot again after 17 minutes when a ball over the top is toed back to Wilson. His touch isn’t great an the ball bobbles up. Under pressure from an attacker, he elects to pick the ball up rather than just lump it into touch on the right.

Erm, Phil? That’s not allowed mate.

Sadly, even the incompetent fuckwits we get officiating at this level have enough of a basic grip on reality to work out that this constitutes a back pass.

After an age getting it all sorted out, the U’s defensive wall stands firm and the free-kick cannons back off it. The game then tails off for 20 minutes or so, with little of note worth the bother mentioning to you dear reader.

But on 37 minutes, Phil is making up for his earlier error. A free-kick from the right is played to the edge of the box on the left. Poor marking allows a header back across the box and behind the defence, picking out a striped shirt. Wilson reacts superbly to block the first time effort from close range. The ball rebounds back and again the U’s stopper throws himself in the way to cap an excellent double stop before a defender hoofs clear.

After this scare we manage to see out the rest of the half without incident and wander slowly round the ground, hoping for the umpteenth time so far this campaign for a much much better 2nd half.

JR makes a change for the 2nd 45, withdrawing an ineffective and seemingly injured Peter Fear for Joff Vansittart at the back. This pushes Corbett into midfield.

We get a brief sight of an improved performance soon after the restart when Gray heads on a free-kick to the near post. Watkins gets just in front of his marker, but despite a decent sight of goal, can’t guid his first time shot onto the target. We then discover our support is bolstered by the appearance of a Thurrock fan (yes the DO exist!) who lives local and his lot had played the night before.

Hayes hit back and should be in front after 52 minutes. A long ball over the top really should be dealt with by Joff, but he seems to dither and is brushed aside by the Hayes no8. As he goes to shoot, he collides with his colleague in the no11 shirt and the ball runs harmlessly to Wilson. Another good chance comes and goes shortly after. The no 8 gets down the right and pulls a low ball back across the box. It’s met at the far post, but is wildly blazed high and very wide of the mark.

It takes until just past the hour for us to muster another threat. Scooby humps a huge ball forward that drops behind the Hayes defence. Watkins scampers after it and having got past the hulking lump that is the hosts no5, challenges the ‘keeper for the ball in the box, but he again can’t direct his effort onto the mark.

The home side hit back shortly after, a free kick on the left is played in and nodded back across goal. It drops for an attacker who looks to be well offside. Just to be sure, Wilson plays to the whistle and spreads himself well to block the resulting effort with his legs.

A rare free-kick of our own in the oppo half is taken by Corbett from out on the left touchline. Trying to make the most of the blustery conditions, he swings the ball in towards the near post, hoping to catch Davies off guard, but the young ‘keeper is alert enough and makes a good save. He’s under pressure soon after when Gray swings a super cross in from the right, right under the crossbar. But the ‘keeper gets a hand to it and manages to push it away for a corner with opponents lurking.

With the game seemingly heading more & more towards a draw, Hayes continue to try & make a breakthrough. One long throw causing problems before being scuffed across goal and touched wide for a corner by Wilson and then inside the last 10 minutes when another of our problems, getting caught badly on the break following a corner, rears it’s head. A lightning surge down the right ends with an angled shot across goal and just wide.

John Scarborough is the next to test the Hayes stopper, making a very good run to meet Corbetts deep free-kick from the left with a deft header, but Davies gets down and manages to hustle it round the post for a corner.

The resulting corner comes to little and eventually the ball comes to Corbett some 25 yards or so out towards the left, where he’s dispossessed by a somewhat clumsy lunge. Of course, the ref see’s nothing wrong with 2 footed lunges as long as you make contact with the ball after clattering your man and waves play on. The break down the left seems to have come to nothing as Brake tries to shepherd the ball out of play for a goal kick.

His efforts are somewhat hampered by the opposition player pretty much hanging off his back and unbalanced by this, both crash to the ground in a heap. The result? A fucking free-kick against Brake for obstruction.

Where DO they find these arseholes? More to the point, just exactly what total moron is tutoring these people in the laws of the game in the first place?

Of course, the free-kick is played to the edge of the box where the no8 arrives to drive a shot through the crowd and a slight deflection is enough to deceive Wilson and see the effort sneak between him and his post. Bastard.

We press forwards for an equaliser, but despite putting some pressure on the Hayes goal, the closest we get is Matt Gray skinning the hosts goalscorer for the umpteenth time that afternoon and driving a fierce shot at the near post that Davies reacts to and beats out.

So, with another defeat to another rather average opponent chalked up, we mooch round to the bar in the vain hope that England will perform better. What does cheer us up is news that Nicky has indeed scored for Barnet in a 5-0 romp. And it’s an absolute belter apparently.

Nice one Nick!

Thankfully, England do the biz and cheer us up a bit. Sadly, it’s a shit afternoon all round for Andrew ‘Taff’ Martin and a U’s fan of Welsh decendancy. Greek endears himself to our new friend from Thurrock before we leave. Mentioning that he hopes to see us down at Ship Lane later in the season, the large Mediterranean fellow enquires with a perfectly straight face “How will we recognise you in the crowd?”

It’s then back into the PCmobile and a journey back to Sutton with the singular aim of getting completely and absoultely destroyed at Millsy’s 30th.

9 hours later, it’s 4am. Windy and I decide this is as good a time as any to leave. Mainly as anything vaguely drinkable has long since been consumed. A cab later and I’m home chucking out Z’s at a fierce rate.

Sunday? Don’t even go there.

MAN OF THE MATCH – Phil Wilson. Excellent 1st half performance kept us in it.

ENTERTAINMENT – 5. Awful first half display. Better 2nd, but not enough……

TEAM : Wilson, Gray, Brake, Scarborough, Gonsalves, Fear, Corbett, Akuamouah, Watkins, Martin

SUBS : Vansittart, Honey, Booth

THE REFEREE’S………pretty crap. Another ‘homer’ bastard who seemed to think it’s against the fucking laws of the game to give the visiting side a free-kick in their opponents half.

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