SUTTON UNITED – 0
CAMBRIDGE CITY – 3 [Robinson 12.p71. Stone 46.]
We always knew this little sequence of 2 games would be tough, but with Gray, Akuamouah and Hemsley out for differing reasons just made it even tougher. Thankfully Hemsley will be one man returning tonight as his absence on Saturday was just down to Crawley not wanting him ‘cup tied’ in the FA Trophy.
Just after 6 and it’s into the Hood for the customary Tuesday night home game beverage. Windy, Dave & Mrs C are already inside and playing the quiz machine. Chalmers and Oscar aren’t far behind, with Greek arriving last of all.
One surprise spectator tonight is Ken the Hood landlord. Having only been twice before and that was because he was sponsoring the match ball, this is a bit out of the blue. Bloody hell mate, you must be REALLY bored, that’s all I can say.
Thankfully we don’t have to brave the cold on the short stroll to the ground as Chalmers & the Greek fella are both mobile tonight. Call it lazy if you like, but it was 10 minutes less in the bloody cold!
On arrival we’re greeted with the pleasing news that Matt Gray has passed a fitness test this evening and will start on the bench. Not so pleasing is the fact Akuamouah has also declared himself fit, but only after we’ve turned in our team sheet which means that even if he could run a marathon right now in under an hour, he’ll be watching just like the rest of us.
As already mentioned, Hemsley returns and in another change, Chris Nurse gets a start in midfield ahead of Peter Fear. The bench is packed with gyus from the reserves with Tydeman, Dray & Douglas all getting the call.
With the stiff and very cold breeze at our backs it takes only 3 minutes for the first half chance arrives. A ball into the right channel stretches Watkins and he’s unable to cleanly take the ball. A defender intervenes and helps it away & out to the left where it runs to Nigel Brake. His fierce effort is deflected off a defender for a corner.
Nowt much else happens until about 12 minutes or so when a U’s defensive cock up leasd to the first goal. Hemsley tries to bring a ball down around 20 or so yards out from goal and play it, but he only succeeds in givnig away possession. And before we know it, a pass through the defence has found the City no10 nipping in on the left and he makes no mistake drilling a low shot under Wilson from the angle.
The pitch and wind are making playing football a little difficult, so incidents are few and far between. It’s not until after the 20 minute mark anything else happens. A Cambridge man is allowed to run a good 40 yards with the ball at his feet, going past 3 very half hearted tackles before the ball eventually finds it’s way to the right corner of the box. Again the attacker has a little too much room, but this time Wilson is equal to the shot and blocks with his legs at the expense of a corner.
Sutton’s best chance of drawing level follows swiftly. A ball from the centre of midfield puts Nurse on a run, but on the edge of the box he loses his footing and the ball. It runs out to the left of goal where Corbett retrieves it and lays it back into the path of Brake. But he wastes a very good position, curling his effort just over the bar.
Most of the remainder of the half is of no real interest of quality, with both sides failing to really take charge or carve any decent openings. Although you do get the impression that of the 2 sides, the visitors seem more likely to create that something. In the meantime, we’re treated to a highly amusing display of kicking from the visiting ‘keeper.
No less than 9 times he takes goal kicks from the right side, which with the wind blowing into his face isn’t a great idea. Every one swings wildly out to the right touchline either for a throw in or desperately headed back infield by a Cambridge midfielder who is no doubt mightily pissed off by his stoppers persistence with this particular endeavour.
Naturally every kick is greeted with hoots of derision from behind the goal.
Hey, when the games are this good, you gotta take your entertainment where you can find it!!!
And as we wait to dive into the warm confines of the bar at half time, the visitors almost double their lead. A high ball holds up in the wind and drops back to earth allowing a Cambridge man to nod it down on the edge of the box. Disappointingly, the defensive challenge is little less than crap, with Hemsley failing to get airborne at all. The nod down finds it’s man who then turns and hits a bobbling shot across Wilson’s goal and wide of the far post.
Right, can we get inside now please? I’m fucking freezing.
Getting some heat back into my bones, I spend the half time break catching up with Moler, a friendly Leatherhead fan who obviously fancied a laugh & popped down to watch us lot get turned over!
But all too soon, it’s back out into the cold. And before I’ve even got halfway to the shoebox, the defence goes missing again and it’s 2-0.
Hemsley slides in and concedes a silly free-kick on the left edge of the U’s penalty area. The resutling set piece is flicked on at the near post and finds a blue shirt utterly unmarked beyond the far one. His hooked shot hits the ground and skips up into the far corner of the goal.
And just like Saturday, you again just get the feeling that two is going to be too much of a deficit to recover. Still, with Joff having limped off on half time, his replacement Steve Douglas certainly gives us a useful partner for Craig Watkins.
As with the first half, weather & surface contribute to a largely awful game, but again it’s always Cambridge who looked the more likely to register again as our weak attacking efforts fall short on the well organised blues defence. It’s not until the 56th minute the next event of note arrives and unsurprisingly, it’s our guests providing it.
A U’s attack breaks down and the blue shirts swiftly hit back on the break. A ball down the right opens up the Sutton defence and a low first time ball is played inside across the edge of the box, being whipped on the run beyond Wilson and narrowly wide of the far post.
Our own best chance is also provided by the visitors when Booth swings in a good ball deep from the right. It’s flicked on at the near post before being powered across the 6 yard box and wide of the upright by a defenders diving header. 3 minutes later and the match is ended as a contest.
Another silly free-kick is conceded and flung towards the edge of the 18 yard box. Once more the defense fails to meet the threat and it’s flicked on behind our back line, leaving Wilson 1 on 1 with a blue shirted attacker. He and the U’s keeper collide with the ball heading out of play to the left of the goal.
Naturally, it’s a penalty. The ref then decides he really needs to be an officious tosser and harshly displays a red card for Wilson denying a goalscoring oppo. Yeah, cheers mate. All I can say is, the next fucking major decision you make tonight better follow the letter of the law as well or you’re getting it…
Bizarrely, Lewis Gonsalves takes over Wilson’s duties between the sticks. Strange considering he’s probably the shortest player in the U’s side.
The Cambridge no10 makes no mistake and drills the spot kick down the centre to make the score 3-0. At this point, JR decides that the best way to help protect our stand in ‘keeper is to give the visitors a little something to think about and so Matt Gray is introduced as a sub.
A couple of minutes later, Mr Ref shows that he is the complete wankeyed fuckpig we knew he was. Watkins challenges the Cambridge no2 for a bouncing ball on the right corner of their box. He manages to wriggle in front of him and is away, only to be cynically pulled back from behind. The result? A finger wagging.
How fucking predictable. Next time mate, just don’t bother ok??
In the main, Grays introduction seems to work quite well, although Lewis is called into action twice at the death. With a minute to go a ball down the right is whipped into the box and headed back across goal from beyond the far post. Gonsalves parries and then recovers to make a super second block on the line from point blank range.
A minute or two later a cutting move down the centre ends with a pass through the defence to the left. Again Gonsalves proves equal, beating away a fierce angled drive for a corner. His actions deservedly earn him a chorus of “Englands Number 1”
Finally though we’re put out of our misery and rapidly head for the car park and the dash back to the Hood.
Still, it’s not all bad tonight. News reaches us that the Bobbins Surrey Senior tie at Merstham has been abandoned due to floodlight failure with the Scummers 2-0 up. Oh dear! Plus we find that our attempt to cash in on the collapse of poor old Cheshunt has paid off and we’re all a few quid better off.
Marvellous. That’s my Havant beer tokens sorted then!
Lets hope the performance is much improved to get us back on track. Although with Ed & Matty hopefully back in the line up, things can only improve.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Lewis Gonsalves. Two great saves as stand in keeper
ENTERTAINMENT : 4. Dreadful game. Poor surface & swirling wind didn’t help the quality.
TEAM : Wilson, Booth, Scarborough, Hemsley, Gonsalves, Honey, Corbett, Nurse, Brake, Vansittart, Watkins SUBS : Gray, Douglas, Tydeman, Boosey, Dray
THE REFEREE’S A………Chris ‘Bromley FA Cup’ Salt. IE- A twat. To be fair, he had a reasonable 1st half, no complaints there, but again, it was his pissy letter of the law bollocks that earns him criticsm. Fine if he chooses to dismiss Wilson after the penalty incident, that’s his call. But when you make calls like that, you’ve got to be consistent. He’s not. Simply talking to a Cambridge defender at the other end for an equally ‘professional’ foul on Watkins in an advanced position is the sort of thing that drives people (fans AND players) nuts. Fuck. Off.