Round 3, Our Stop…

FA TROPHY 3RD ROUND

Att: 544



SUTTON UNITED – 0

GRAYS ATHLETIC – 2    [Oli 56. Griffiths 72.]

Our further participation was always in the balance once this draw was made. Oppo looking destined to walk the league in the wake of Hornchurch’s problems and on a very good run of form coming into the game. Couple that with our 5-1 tonking at the Rec earlier this season and things don’t look good.

Fears that are increased on the thursday evening when we discover that Matt Gray’s injury from Saturdays win at Redbridge will be keeping him out for a couple of weeks.

Arse.

Still, should make the line up interesting.

Beer in the Hood, then down to the club for a cheeky half before kick off. There’s no sign of our lucky charm and sometime Thurrock supporter Tony. Uh oh! We’re bound to lose now!

Thankfully, we find him outside near the Shoebox just before kick-off.

Naturally, the visitors come out guns blazing from the off and the U’s have to withstand an early bombardment.

The first worrying moment comes around 3 minutes from the start. The defence fails to clear a corner from our left adequately and the Grays midfield work a shooting opportunity from the edge of the box that zips just wide of the right hand upright.

A couple of minutes later, Fear rushes into a challenge on the right touchline and is subsequently left for dead. The ball is then whipped in from the right and volleyed back across goal from beyond the far post. But the ball strikes a colleague of the attacker in the 6 yard box and allows the defence to clear. Their best chance so far comes after just 7 minutes when a ball over the top of the Sutton backline sends the no9 racing clear, but with most of the goal to aim at and only Wilson to beat, he aims a weak shot at the U’s ‘keeper.

10 minutes gone and a pass down the left sends a man into space. His low driven centre along the edge of the 6 yard box just evades a Grays attacker sliding in with Gonsalves at the near post.

Thankfully, we weather this opening 10 minutes and escape unscathed. This gives the lads a bit of heart and we start to build up some attacking pressure ourselves. A Fear throw in from the right finds Vanisttart after 14 mins and he turns to hook a decent ball into the danger area, but theres sadly no Sutton man behind him to take advantage. 4 minutes later and we look to have a reasonable shout for a penalty. Another throw from the right by Fear is again aimed at Joff, but this time he’s unable to do much with it as the Grays no4 clambers all over his back to win the header. Despite being in plain sight if both lino & ref, neither seem to have noticed.

I comment that the lino is obviously another of these “Offside & throw ins only” merchants. Then 5 minutes later, he proves more to be of the “throw ins only variety” when a Vansittart flick on finds Watkins behind the Grays defence, well offside. No flag, so our man sprints for goal. But as he’s about to shoot, the ball appears to bobble in front of him and rather than the shot causing the net to billow with the first goal, it crashes back off the crossbar.

Hmmm, I get the feeling we could come to regret that sometime in the near future. Specifically the next 70 minutes I’d reckon….

The U’s exert some pressure on the visitors and make some ground. But they’d be making a hell of a lot more if the clueless fucking ref clamped down on the constant battering Joff is receiving every time he goes for a header. At least 3 times he’s floored before clambering to his feet, rubbing the back of his bonce. Each time the ref approaches & no doubt enquires if the big man is “ok”.

Erm, well he’s clearly not you fucking penis! ‘Cos every time he jumps, he’s got that poxy no4 smashing through him from behind!! Dickhead.

A good 10 minutes elapse after the miss before the U’s go close again. Fear delivering a corner from the left. It’s cleared straight back to him and he wastes no time in returning it back into the danger area, where Vansittart connects, but Bayes in the visitors goal dives sharply to the right and tips away the big strikers header for another corner. The resulting flag kick is swung in and Chris Nurse powers a close range header straight at Bayes.

Grays response doesn’t take long. A raid on our left finishes with a snap shot from 20 yards out. Wilson does well to get down having seen the ball late and push the effort away. Booth follows up to try & clear, but only succeeds in finding a purple shirt on the edge of the box. Fortunately, his effort is right at Wilson and this time, the Sutton man holds onto the ball.

With the half coming towards it’s conclusion, the last meaningful threat is mustered by the home side.

A long ball down the right is aimed for the corner, where a defender jumps but misses his header, allowing Fear to nip into the space behind. He hooks a clever ball over his shoulder & into the box where Vansittart outjumps Bayes, but sadly drops his header narrowly over the crossbar.

Naturally, for his less than sterling first half performance, the referee has his ability (and no doubt his parentage as well!) questioned by the assembled fans by the tunnel.

Hope you slip and break something you idiot. Nothing serious of course. Just enough to prevent you from doing the second half. Like your neck perhaps.

But we’re not that lucky are we…

Sadly we’re not and our favourite person emerges for the second period.

Shame.

Unlike the first half, the second doesn’t really come to life until approaching the hour mark. 56 minutes played and Grays win a corner. The U’s defence are caught napping a little and the flag kick is played short, before being swung beyond the back post. It finds a Grays man in a bit too much space and he clips a ball across the face of goal and the no8 jumps highest to nod his side ahead from a couple of yards out.

Joff’s frustration at the battering he’s getting going pretty much unpunished boils over and he clatters his man on the hour and naturally collects a yellow card.

Sutton dig in and try to muster a response. But it takes until the 63rd minute before it arrives. Joff nodding down a ball forward that drops to Chris Nurse and his drive from 20 yards just flies inches over the bar. 5minutes later and we’re again calling loudly for a penalty.

A pass into the box causes a bit of confusion and bobbles around for a moment before Vansittart attempts to make something of the loose ball. With his back to goal, he takes a touch and is then seemingly tripped from behind.

Yet again though, the ref sees differently. Well, either that or he’s got shit in his eyes and we’re left disappointed.

Naturally, within a few minutes, the game is all but put beyond us. A swift attack down the left opens up the U’s defence and we fail to cut out the telling pass. A low ball in finds Griffiths nipping in at the near post and despite the attentions of a defender, squeezes a shot between Wilson & the upright.

Looks like it’ll be the Surrey Cup for us again this year then!

Despite the defecit, the lads dig in and keep up the workrate. But despite their efforts, only a half chance is created before the end. A throw from the right is nodded on and drops in the box. Grays don’t really get much purchase on the clearance and the ball is put back into the box, low and at pace. But both Vansittart and Watkins go for the same ball and the big striker hooks wide of the far post.

The game pretty much dies a death from here on and there’s really nothing much else worth mentioning!

We head back into the bar for a couple of post match pints and to catch the other results. A couple of passing  Scummers are naturally delighted with the result.

Have a nice Christmas did you gentlemen? HAHA!

More than a couple of beers later, I finally find the will to prise myself away to head home for some grub and a change of clothes before hitting the town for Chalmers birthday.

This will be messy, very messy.

MAN OF THE MATCH – No one really stood out. Battling team performance.

ENTERTAINMENT – 7. Worked hard, but missed chances did for us in the end. No lack of effort though.

TEAM : Wilson, Booth, Scarborough, Gonsalves, Quinton, Gray, Fear, Honey, Brake, Akuamouah, Vansittart  SUBS : Boosey, Douglas, Martin, Tydeman

THE REFEREE’S………rubbish. Absolute rubbish. Gave us nothing all bloody day. Nice to see that we’re back to the usual standard after a reasonable recent crop of officials. Twat.

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