SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Quinton. Akuamouah]
MARGATE – 0
With only 3 points at home from a possible 24 so far, you could easily see why for us, spending a Saturday afternoon at GGL this season has been something of a chore.
But, with a hard won point from the visit of Stortford on saturday, tonight’s visit of fellow strugglers Margate could be a good opportunity to open that home account and who knows, maybe even drag our arses out of the bottom three at last!
Our guests tonight are having a hard time of it at the moment. Having been left with no choice but to withdraw their membership of the National division for this season due to the lack of a home ground, but the problem has escalated recently with the club fighting a battle with their local authority over the construction of a new stadium. Coming into tonight’s clash, there’s even serious talk of them possibly not being able to complete their fixtures if the outcome of this battle isn’t positive.
Now, we’re the last people who want to see clubs go under. But it’d be just our fucking luck to turn ‘em over and then lose the points if their record is expunged.
After a cracking bit of scoff in Sutton’s latest eaterie (Finnigans fish n chips in the high street, top stuff!) leaves me a bit stuffed, despite this I stroll down to the Hood for a pint to top it off. Dave & Windy are already there with Mrs Chalmers. Mr C turns up afterwards. Greek bloke is apparently down the gym and will see us at the ground.
Thankfully, after saturday, the rain elects to stay away and we get to spend our first home game out in the open for a while. The side is once more subjected to minor changes, with Craig Watkins still suffering from his knock. Also missing is Andrew Martin. Eddie moves up to partner Haughton in attack. To our delight, his spot in midfield is filled by the man we’ve missed more than most. Paul Honey.
If nothing else, we’ll get to see Ug ploughing his normal trail of destruction in the centre of the park tonight!
Joining us tonight, is a fellow Conference South fan, ‘ThurrockBoy’. Obviously a supporter of that big Essex team from the hotel place. By his own admission, the only time he’s ever seen us win is when playing his own side. This is backed up by his recent record, having seen us lose at both Hayes & Bromley.
Surely another defeat tonight would see his recent flirtation with the U’s come to a close. Not so much to do with our poor football, but the good kicking he’ll get for being a complete jinx!
The lads start the match very brightly and our play has a tempo about it that has been seriously lacking in recent weeks. As early as the second minute, Akumouah has a chance to open the scoring when John Scarborough swings a deep cross in from the right to the far post. But his stooping header skips just wide of the far post. It’s not long before the next chance, after 5 minutes a Boosey corner from the right is cleared only as far as Fear on the edge of the box and his volleyed effort is driven into the ground and only just blocked by a defender on the line.
The visitors, despite having some well known non-league names in their line up tonight are really struggling. And on 10 minutes, Nigel Brake compounds his own bright start by beating his man on the left and delivering a good cross into the box. It reaches Matt Gray just beyond the far post and he volleys it straight back into the 6 yard box where a defender heads clear under pressure from Akuamouah.
Brake takes heart from this and puts in his best display of the season, giving the woeful ‘Gate full-back a torrid evening. Also performing well is Paul Honey, back to his tackle-everything-that-moves-and-occasionally-some-things-that-don’t best, breaking up play and allowing Fear and Boosey to feed Haughton & Akuamouah up front.
We keep pressuring and playing some of our best football so far, the chances keep coming. Gray making progress down the right is held up, but turning out makes some room for himself before clipping in a clever chip to Peter Fear at the near post who tries a flicked backward header on goal, only for the ‘keeper to make a very good 1 handed reaction save to keep the ball from passing over his shoulder and into the net before gathering.
Lewis Gonsalves is the next man to have an effort hacked off the line on 27 minutes following a Boosey corner from the right. The delivery is headed high into the air, dropping to the defender on the left of the 18 yard box. his low strike through a crowd just being blocked.
The tempo slowly tails off as the half draws to it’s conclusion but the last few minutes produce a brief flurry of opportunities. The first falls to Glenn Boosey. A pass in from the right finds him on the edge of the 18 yard box. In typical twinkle toes fashion, he turns and leaves his marker for dead before whipping a lovely curling effort on goal that sadly flashes a fraction wide of the far post.
Boosey is again close to opening the scoring on 40 minutes. Akaumouah is sent clear down the right and cuts into the box. He steps inside a defender and places a pass to the near post a couple of yards out. Glenn arrives, but his touch on the ball isn’t very clean, seeming to come off his shin. The ‘keeper does well and somehow manages to not only block the ball, but smuggle it around the post for a corner.
A minute later and our frustration at not being comfortably ahead is compounded when a ball over the top picks out Matt Gray’s run through the centre. But clear of a chasing defender, his first touch takes him away from goal slightly and allows the ‘keeper to narrow the angle and block his shot on goal.
As we stroll round to the tunnel, the visitors finally make some sort of impression around our box with a couple of uneasy moments that need Wilson and his defenders to be alert. But ultimately, we toddle off into the bar happy with the performance, if a little uneasy we’ve not taken advantage of basically 45 minutes of domination.
After their rather non-existent showing in the first half, it seems the visitors have understandably had a serious bollocking and after a couple of minutes they finally create a serious chance. A cross coming in from the left is headed on goal from a central position, but drifts wide of Wilsons far post.
The U’s response is immediate. A ball down the right finds Haughton who slips a pass onto Gray infield. He centres for Boosey, but he’s unable to work a shooting opportunity and the ball breaks loose. Akumouah regains possession right by the post and lays the ball back into the box, but Gray blazes the ball over from around 8 yards out. From here on, the visitors make more of a contest of the match, but without ever really causing any problems.
Frustration is growing and we’re begging to think that this could be another case of 2 points dropped. But then, with 20 minutes left, the goal our overall play deserves arrives. A ball in from the left is cleared back out to that flank and Brake immediately whips it back into the danger area for Quinton to steer a header inside the near post. Much to the huge relief of the crowd.
About sodding time!! Now, any chance of opening the floodgates boys?
But, taking the lead means one thing. We’ve got to spend a good few minutes now trying to fuck up what we’ve taken so long to achieve…
On 73 minutes a silly free-kick is conceeded just inside our half. The ball is dropped into the box and finds a blue shirt with a little too much room. Fortunately his smart turn and first time strike on the volley flashes over Wilsons goal. A couple of minutes later a sweeping move opens up the visitors again. A sweeping pass out to the left finds Brake. He advances before switching the play back inside to Warren Haughton and he immediately finds Gray out on the right. Matt attacks the full back and whips a low cross into the 6 yard box, but the ‘keeper manages to spring onto the ball before Akuamouah can connect.
With 5 minutes left, Margate remind us (like that’s required!) that one goal isn’t quite enough and all it takes is one moment to chuck 2 points. A ball forward is held up on the edge of our 18 yard box, with Quinton trying to shepherd ex-Gravesend hitman Che Stadhart. But the experienced striker holds him off and turns to whip in a vicious strike. Wilson sees it late and reacts instinctively, throwing an arm out to block the ball and send it spinning away, just wide of the post.
A minute after this scare, it’s game over as the U’s finally make the 3 points safe. Again Brake is involved, gaining possession out on the left, he’s allowed to ponder his next move for a few moments before playing a pass to Haughton on the edge of the 18 yard box who slips a perfect little ball through the defence for Akuamouah and he drills a low shot across the ‘keeper and in off the far post.
Hallefuckinglujah! Three points at home and about bloody time as well!
Windy is the first to work out the last time that happened. Precisely 6 months and two days ago.
Right, lets get down the battle cruiser. I’ve got a feeling the beer is going to taste mighty fine tonight.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Lewis Gonsalves. Several superb tackles preventing some dodgy moments.
ENTERTAINMENT – 8. Some very good football. Top performance……at home as well!!
TEAM : Wilson, Gray, Brake, Scarborough, Gonsalves, Honey, Fear, Boosey, Akuamouah, Haughton
SUBS : Tydeman, Booth, Arkali,
THE REFEREE’S………Can’t really recall anything seriously bad about him. The one thing we definately couldn’t label him though is a ‘wanker’ as his little write up in the programme revealed he was a father of SEVEN! Fucking hell mate, no television up your way then?