Nigel Brake, With The Ball, From The Halfway Line


Att: 1044

SUTTON UNITED – 4  [Vansittart 32. Scarborough 72. Akuamouah 80. Brake 86.]

BOBBINS – 1    [OG 1.]

With the Borough’s Xmas bragging rights all sewn up after Boxing Days 2-1 win at Coldsore to go with that League Cup win at GGL a month ago, the U’s welcome our rivals for the second meeting in under 7 days. A derby grand slam once again within their grasp.

Last season, the Bobbins got away with it, somehow scraping a point in without doubt the most one sided 2-2 draw in the history of Association Football anywhere. Ever.

But this time round, they’re up against it. 2 key players from Boxing Day are suspended. Most importantly, one of them is super-scrote Sam Saunders. Who despite being an annoying little sod, was easily the Scummers best performer on the previous Sunday.

Another snippet of news circulating is that today’s encounter will be the last for the visitors manager, Billy Smith. We’d heard rumours during the week & more at last nights New Years Eve celebrations, but it seems that they’re true and he’ll be off to Bromley in the Summer. Along with this, it seems some players will be heading to Hayes Lane with him as well.

Oh dear. It seems all is not well down in SM5.

Rising surprisingly early considering the exertions in the pub the previous night, I’m preparing to get my arse out the door when Greek calls, enquiring when I’ll be showing my face. For some reason, known only to the crazed Mediterranean fellow, he’s been down there since half 11.


I finally arrive before the normal 2pm meet time & find everyone already nursing drinks and surprisingly mild hangovers. Especially Windy, who was particularly the worse for wear at closing time last night!

A couple of drinks are gingerly sipped before we take an earlier than normal stroll down to the ground so we can all collect our recently produced FA Cup DVD’s from the club shop!

Surprisingly, JR has stuck with the same starting 11 from Sunday, including Scott Corbett in the centre. Considering he tired badly last time out, we’re not so sure about this. The only other changes are to the subs. With Peter Fear added to the bench. Amusingly, they’re being anounced as I chat to a smartly dressed Andy Iga by the tunnel.

Our chit chat of “Nice Xmas?” and “Hows the injury mate?” is overdubbed with the PA announcing Andy as one of our substitutes this afternoon! Erm, I don’t think so somehow…..

We’ve hardly taken our places on the Shoebox when the game kicks off……..and we’re already a goal down.

The Bobbins attack through the centre and reaching the edge of our 18 yard box, a little chipped ball is played onto the space behind the defence. Hemsley reacts to try & cut the ball out, but only succeeds in looping a header over the wrong footed Wilson. There’s nothing the U’s stopper can do as the ball bounces on the line behind him and into the roof of the net.

Fucks sake! Come on lads! We gave ‘em a head start like this last year. And besides, Christmas was last bloody week!

We hit back within a couple of minutes. Forcing a corner on the left. Gray delivers and it’s headed straight up into the air at the near post, before dropping back down into a crowd. But before any U’s man can make anything of the loose ball, Searle has clawed the ball out of a forest of legs.

A couple of minutes later and Brake has his first opportunity for a foray down the left. Facing him is El Planko numero uno. The footballing genius that is Billy Harding. A player of such twattish stature, he makes the legendary Colin Wall look an oustandingly talented and intelligent individual.

The outcome is predictable. Brake knocks the ball past Harding and gets chopped down from behind with the ball already in the next postal code. Unfortunately, the ref isn’t quite as strict as the gentleman from Sunday and only a finger wagging ensues. Twat. The rest of his colleagues seem to take this as a cue to follow suit and a spell where pretty much every challenge from a white shirt is a foul. Elliott ends up with a card for one particularly cynical body check after Gray has left him for dead.

Erm, the ball gentlemen? You’re supposed to try & win it.

Despite having a fair bit of the when they’re not lumping anything in an Amber shirt into the air, the visitors make little of it and it’s Sutton who create the better chances. A quick free-kick down the right finds Akuamouah who lays the ball off for Gray. His cross finds Joff in the centre, but his header is deflected over for a corner.

Another raid down the right ends with another cross that again finds Vansittart, this time at the back post. But despite a clean contact, he directs his header straight at Searle.

Despite all this, it’s the Scummers who come closest to scoring. Scott Corbett, who’s again having a bit of trouble in the centre, misses a bread & butter challenge on the no5, he skips through and cracks an effort from 25 yards that thumps back off the crossbar. Thankfully, the loose ball is well cleared.

The chance doesn’t shake us particularly badly, but 10 minutes later, another close shave. A corner from the right draws Wilson off his line. A bit too far in fact! He manages to get a hand to it, but only succeeds in diverting it towards his own goal. Fortunately, a U’s defender is there to head it over the bar for another corner.

This comes to nothing and inside a minute, we’re level. Gray teases 2 defenders on the right before whipping in a super cross right under the Bobbins crossbar, but there’s no one there to take advantage. A defender tries to clear up, but the ball only finds Brake on the left. He feeds a pass to Akuamouah ahead of him, who takes on his man and goes to the byeline before pulling the ball back to the near post. Vansittart is there to meet it with a deft flick between Searle and the upright.


Sadly, the U’s fail to take advatage of getting themselves back into the game and a rather dull 10 or so minutes follows to take us into the break. Only half chances for Gonsalves, who has a rather fancy effort blocked and Watkins, who blazes over when the ball is retrieved on the left & delivered back into the danger area.

Still, we get a feeling the momentum seems to have swung our way before half time. And we all know what happened in the second half when this lot were here last Christmas don’t we!

That momentum appears to have been retained over the break and the lads come out of the blocks quickly at the start of the second half. Within 60 seconds of the restart, Gray has put a free-kick into the box that Vansittart just fails to connect with at the expense of a corner. That corner is delivered again by Gray, this time low into the box. It picks out Scott Corbett around 10 yards but, but with a good sight of goal, he shins his shot well well over the target.


Still, it’s the home side who threaten the most, with Wilson having to deal with little other than long range efforts hit straight at him. On 50 minutes, Gray pops up on the left and whips in a great ball from deep, but it’s a bit too high for the not-quite-as-tall-as-Joff Craig Watkins beyond the far post. It’s not until just past the hour mark that Searle is really tested, Brake running onto a ball into space down the left. He cuts in and hits a rising drive that stings the hands of the well-fed stopper in the Bobbins goal.

A minute or so later, Akuamouah robs a defender 20 yards out, to the left of the box. He scrambles through 2 challenges, only for his shot to be blocked. The ball runs across goal where both Vansittart and Watkins are stood all alone. The big striker decides to take the chance, only for a superb one handed instinctive block from Searle on the line. Our frustration at this missed ‘chance’ is eased somewhat when we notice that the lino has signalled that at least one, if not both of Joff and Watkins were offside.

Another minute or so elapses before a Watkins ball in from the right is headed out, but finding Gray following up. He thrashes a drive the fizzes inches wide of the near upright.

We approach the last 20 minutes and I’m starting to get the feeling that, as at Easter, the mob from the more undesirable half of the Borough are once again going to get away with a point after having had their goal kindly scored for them. But, in the 72nd minute, my fears are banished.

Gray chases down an loose ball down the right. He manages to catch it on the byeline and having steadied himself, whips the ball in towards goal. It’s path is altered somewhat by a defender jumping in front of him, the ball deflecting high up into the air off his back. The change in both pace & flight seems to throw the Scummers defence slightly and they fail to pick up the big figure of Scooby who nips in, gets under the ball and rams it first time through the legs of a scrambling Searle and into the back of the net from close range.


Naturally, we’re rather delighted at this breakthrough and celebrate rather vigorously. As does the seemingly very pleased Mr Scarborough, a player we’d commented to only on the Thursday “Scoobs, when the fuck are you going to score?”.

Nice one fella.

As we’ve seen before with our neighbours, conceding a goal after having faced a good period of pressure is enough to bring the whole filthy garden bird shebang crashing down around their Scummer ears.

With 10 minutes remaining and JR warming up Mr Fear on the touchline, a third and killer goal arrives. Gray & Honey combine with a flurry of little passes, exchanged down in the right corner, making two Bobbins defenders chase back & forth (oh how we laughed!). Eventually, they tire of such easy pickings and Matty works a bit of room to drive in a fierce low ball from near the corner of the 18 yard box.

It finds Vansittart about 10 yards out and seemingly surprised to have controlled such a fast moving ball, he struggles to get it out from amongst his feet and get a shot off. Finding himself closed down and now with his back to goal, he tries a clever backheel. And fails. Falling flat on his arse. The ball is desperately toed out back to the right corner of the box by a defender where it runs into Eddie Akuamouah. He returns it with interest, smashing a low skidding drive between Searle and his near post.

Game over! HAHA! Excuse me Stuart dear boy, but what was that saying about ‘keepers and their near posts?? It seems to have slipped my mind momentarily.

But, as the celebrations die down slightly, we realise something’s just not quite right here.

I got it! There’s still Scummers in the ground. Whats wrong ladies & gents? You’ve normally all trudged out of the exit with your tails between your legs by now. Oooh, I see. You want some more do you? Right, we’ll see about that.

With under 5 minutes left and the game easily safe, we’re treated to a breathtaking example of that incredibly rare, yet delightful derby match gem. The flukey hoof.

Despite being faced by an opponent with the turning circle and agility of a sinking oil tanker in Mr Harding, Nigel Brake has found it hard to make the major impression we’d have liked when faced with a complete donkey, down left flank. So, either bored of trying to think of a way round Harding or just not prepared to be sweated on or kicked by him again, he tries a more……..ahem………’direct’ approach.

Receiving the ball out on the left touchline and the time ticking away, Nigel comes to the conclusion that getting the ball as far away from our goal as possible is a good idea. Admittedly, we can’t fault the technical merits of this. So, looking up, Nige decides he’ll punt the bastard thing as far downfield as possible. Let someone else deal with it.

This he does and the ball sails high into the air, heading in the general direction of the visitors goal. It initially looks to us like we’re the intended recipients of the this ‘pass’ and Searle probably thinks much the same. Unfortunately, his judgement is as shit as ours at this precise moment and alarm bells start ringing when the ball suddenly starts a rapid descent earthwards.

He backtracks as fast as his portly frame will allow, but it’s not enough and Nigel’s attempted satellite launch ends up dropping over his outstretched hand, under the bar and into the back of the net.

Some celebrate madly. Others, like me, just stand there roaring with laughter. Brakey meanwhile is stood 40 yards from goal, out on that left touch line, with his arms outstretched in a sort of “so what do I do now?” manner.

Flukey as fuck? Definately! A thing of utter beauty? Without a doubt!

Naturally, this proves to be the trigger for the mass exodus of Scummers towards the exits, leaving only a hardy, masochistic bunch stood on the Securicor terrace. The U’s take pity on the visitors and see out the last couple of remaining minutes comfortably and without further incident.

Then the ref blows for full time and brings to a close another Sutton derby win. And more importantly, signals yet another Bobbins league defeat at GGL.

Christ, if it carries on like this much longer, we won’t need to quote the actual date of thiri last league victory here to taunt ‘em anymore. We’ll just be able to use the phrase “not in living memory”.

Happy as only supporters of a team with 6 points obtained from their local rivals within a week safely in the bag can be, we saunter round into the bar for a celebratory drink or ten. We’re greeted with the result being confirmed by SKY sports as we step into view of the tv. Nice.

The team thoroughly congratulated and ourselves more than well lubricated, we head back down to the Hood and settle in for the evening.

Barman, a round of drinks if you please.


MAN OF THE MATCH : Nigel Brake. Not a great game, but fuck me that goal was funny!

ENTERTAINMENT : 8. Worse standard than last sunday, but turning that lot over 4-1? Marvellous!

TEAM : Wilson, Gray, Scarborough, Hemsley, Gonsalves, Honey, Corbett, Brake, Akuamouah, Vansittart, Watkins SUBS : Boosey, Fear, Iga(?), C.Nurse, Booth

THE REFEREE’S A………Again fairly competent. Probably let their shoddy tackling go too lightly in the first half, but apart from that, he had little to do really. No complaints.

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