FA TROPHY 1st ROUND
HAMPTON & RICHMOND BORO – 1 [Ashe 9.]
SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Watkins 69.]
Having got booted out of the other FA competition this season by lower league oppo, you can probably understand that we were a little nervy about the trip over the Thames to the Beveree.
Especially when this bunch of Dam building, flat tailed rodents haven’t lost at home all season either.
Oh pants. This is going to go all wrong. Really wrong. I can feel it.
With Greek due back in Kingston later that evening for his missus birthday piss up, he decides to save his drinking for later and elects to drive.
GreekCabs for 4 please!
We arrive nice & early in Hampton and grab a space in the car park before ambling back to a nice pub up the road to catch the rest of Villa-Pompey on the box. Chalmers as it happens is strolling down from the station and joins us, instantly complaining about the weight of the big St Georges flag he’s been entrusted to get dry cleaned this week.
Naturally, being ‘flag bloke’ and having to lug the bastard to every away game, his complaints go unheard, nay ignored by your author.
A couple of pints and one embarrassing surrender from Pompey later and it’s back whence we came for our game. Hope we put in a bit more than the lot we’ve just watched on the telly.
Sadly, when we arrive, we discover that it appears the home side no longer employ the poor sod who used to walk around dressed as a Beaver prior to games. We’re not that bothered to be honest, but I’m sure Greek would have found it midly amusing in a ‘Beavis & Butthead’ sort of a way with this being his first visit here. Still, their ‘Beaver Bar’ seems to more than make up for it.
So, another game another slightly different line up for Sutton. Haughton is again absent, apparently suffering with a slight hamstring problem. And with Martin still suspended, the front line remains an Eddie-Joff partnership. Peter Fear returns to midfield after his break midweek against the Bobbins.
Proceedings get underway and for a few minuets, not very much happens as both sides feel each other out. Then with 8 minutes play, Sutton almost strike. A ball from midfield out to the right finds Joff. He brings the ball back infield before placing a nice ball across the 18 yard box and into the path of Glenn Boosey in the centre, he clips the ball over the advancing ‘keeper, but the ball thumps back off the bar and is desperately cleared by a defender.
A minute later and things take a turn for the worse. A free-kick isn’t cleared and the resulting ball in from the right finds a red shirt at the back post and his header loops over the slightly static Wilson and into the far corner.
Fuck fuckety fuck fuck.
Like I said, it’s all going to go wrong….
Sutton raise thier game and look for a quick way back into the tie. Within a few minutes, the home defence is being stretched again. Fear takes a long throw on the left and it’s flicked on into space out by the far post. Matt Gray arrives and crashes in a rasping low drive, but the ‘keeper gets down and manages to block the shot with his legs.
We keep chipping away and on 22 minutes a free-kick from the right is won in the air by Joff. The bal drops loose in the box and is just hacked clear by a defender. As they push out to follow the clearance Boosey hooks it straight back over their heads and just over the crossbar from around 25 yards. A minute later a throw from the right sees Eddie & Matt Gray combine, playing a neat 1-2. Gray drives a low cross into the box and again it’s hastily cleared, falling to Peter Fear 25 or so yards out who drives it straight back with some venom a foot wide of the near post.
Hampton find their feet again and use their direct play down the channels and quick front men to cause our defence problems. Gonsalves makes one good tackle down the left, only to slip and see the ball run loose to another opponent, leaving him a clear run on goal. Thankfully, Paul Honey is covering and makes a well timed tackle on the edge of the 18 yard box.
The U’s continue to have the slightly better of the play as the half progresses and the next chance drops to Boosey. His shot from the edge of the box being well held after Joff has laid a ball into the box for Akuamouah from the right. But the last word of the half goes to the hosts. A throw in on the left is quickly lofted down the left touchline and in behind the defence. The ball is caught & retrieved on the byeline before being fired in low, forcing Wilson to push it out for a corner.
I decide not to visit the ‘Beaver Bar’ just yet and instead head for the far end to find somewhere to put the flags up.
Eventually the second half is off and running. The U’s still looking for that goal and a way back into the game. But it takes almost 15 minutes of play before Gray tests the ‘keeper with a rather soft shot at the near post after a good run down the right. With time passing with little action of note, it’s starting to look like it’s definately not going to be our day. Boosey has another strike narrowly over the target after Scooby has flicked on a long throw from the left.
With our lot failing to really take the game to the home side, we’re slowly starting to resign ourselves to another early exit. Especially when Honey hobbles leaves the field with a neck problem to be replaced with Watkins. Thankfully, the change injects a bit of life briefly into our play and it;s enough to finally force that bloody equaliser with about 20 minutes to go.
A free-kick is won to the centre/right of the field, just inside the Hampton half. Matt Gray stands over it and as the players set themselves in the box, Watkins darts from a position out on the left into a space between 2 defenders on the 18 yard line. Calling to Matty, he points into the open space between him and the goal. Gray realises whats required and obliges the young striker with a perfect ball into the dead ground allowing Watkins to nip in and flash a deft header beyond the dive of the ‘keeper and into the bottom far corner.
About sodding time as well!
Right, time to go on, take control of the tie and win it eh?
Having got level, all it serves to do is piss off our hosts. Who, with some woful finishing really should put the tie beyond us well before the end. The most glaring miss amusingly drops to Ex-Scummer and K’s carthorse, Matt Elverson after 73 minutes. A ball in from the left is deflected into the path of the big defender just a few yards out and with a clear sight of goal, but he blows it big style. Launching his shot into the roof of the stand behind the goal. The ‘clang’ sound of the ball connecting with corrugated roof panels echoes mockingly around the ground.
Things get really silly a few minutes later when Wilson has to race off his line to deal with a poor back pass from the left. He just makes it to the ball before an attacker and hurridley hoofs it clear. Only to see it fall to a red shirt just inside our half. He can only stand as watch as the first time shot from miles out drops over him and just wide of his far post.
Inside the last 10 minutes, theres a flurry of activity. First Brake goes down the left and sees his cross apparently deflected out for a corner. Laughably awarding a goal-kick, the ball is quickly played down our right where an attacker cuts in and fires a shot across Wilson and wide of the far post.
There’s then a strange incident when Boosey scampers onto a little pass through the defence, challenging the ‘keeper a few yards out. The Hampton man makes a block and conceeds the corner before somewhat overreacting to Glenn’s perfectly fair tackle. 3 Red shirts then steam in, forcing Boosey to retreat a number of yards up the bye line, with the Hampton no3 in particular behaving like a little prick.
When order is restored, the ref staggeringly books Boosey and the ‘keeper, with the no3 escaping any sort of punishment for raising his hands not once, but 3 times.
Within moments though, he’d in the book, cynically scything Boosey down around 30 yards out on the right. Now if someone had done their job properly, the little fuck would have been walking about now.
With time running out, both sides have chances to snatch the tie with Wilson punching clear a high ball into the box, only to see it once again hooked back just over his cross bar and Matt Gray runs onto a through ball at the other end only to see his low piledriver beaten away by the ‘keeper.
Still, we’re pretty relieved to still be in the competition and head for the bar to grab some scores and a drink. Greek heads off for his night out and after an hour, we jump on a bus back to Kingston for munchies and more beer.
Soon, just myself and Windy remain when Mr & Mrs Chalmers head off for an evening of Irish folk and ‘diddly diddly’ music (don’t ask!). We’re not alone for too long though when some familiar faces are spotted at the bar. Scooby, Gray, Boosey & Paul Honey having a pint before heading off to a club. We remind them to behave themselves and not bring disgrace on the name of our club, mainly as that’s our responsibility.
Then it’s time to do the off ourselves, back to the Hood to get some proper boozing done.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Matt Gray. Our most effective attacking force.
ENTERTAINMENT – 6. Little to write home about to be honest.
TEAM : Wilson, Gray, Quinton, Scarborough, Gonsalves, Brake, Fear, Honey, Boosey, Akuamouah, Vansittart.
SUBS : Arkali, Booth, Watkins
THE REFEREE’S………did ok. Although naturally had to have one utterly bemusing and farcical moment near the end, booking Glen Boosey for being virtually attacked by four opponents and struck in the face twice by the no3, following a perfectly good & legal 50-50 tackle with the ‘keeper. Strange. Very strange.