SURREY SENIOR CUP 3rd ROUND
SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Vansittart 23. Brake 83.]
WOKING – 1 [Loius 89.]
Having suffered the recent miserable run at home, culminating in saturdays gubbing at the hands of Grays, we expected the outcome of tonights clash with Woking to be little different.
Especially with players such as Gray, Corbett and Gonsalves out injured. It looked like JR would have to blood some reserves against the full timers from down the A3 who’d come away with a relatively simple 3-0 win just 7 days ago.
The customary pre-match pint is once again taken in a slightly subdued atmosphere, still, it’s a game of footy. Better than sitting indoors being bored.
On arrival at GGL we head for the team sheet pinned to the club shop door to see just who JR has decided to use tonight! Going with a 4-4-2, the backline looks worryingly inexperienced. John Scarborough is the only recognised regular, joined by Craig Howard, Danny Dray and making his debut, Richard Blackwell. Wilson serves his one match suspension tonight, so a fit again Andy Iga returns in goal.
Oh well, may as well get it over with I s’pose.
To our surprise though, the makeshift back 4 stands firm and allows the visitors little in the way of opportunities. The rest of the U’s line up is also performing well, showing flashes of some decent football. It takes nearly 20 minutes for the first real chance to materialise. A move down our left by the visitors ends with a pass into the channel behind the defence and a shot across goal, but despite an audible ‘Ooooh!” from the few travelling fans on Collingwood side, the effort is well wide of the mark.
Tee next event of note comes 3-4 minutes later. Growing in confidence from a solid start, Sutton make the first breakthrough. Akuamouah collects the ball on the right touchlilne and holding off his marker, turns inside and plays a pass to Vansittart inside the box. His touch takes him away from his man and he turns to sweep a low shot beyond the ‘keeper and into the bottom far corner.
COME ON!!! Bloody hell, we’ve scored a goal at home at last!
It’s no less than the lads efforts so far deserve and you can see the confidence increase in their play.
Iga is finally tested after about half an hour. A deep cross from the left is flicked on at the near post and drops to a white shirt just beyond the far post. But his volley thumps into the big ‘keepers midriff. The U’s respond quickly, Akuamouah winning the ball in the centre circle. He runs at the retreating defence before feeding Brake in space down the left. He delivers a good cross in, but it’s just cut out in front of Joff. A couple of minutes further on and more problems for the visitors defence.
Akuamouah’s persistance pays off again. Winning a free-kick out on the left by the byeline after holding off two defenders. The ball is driven into the box and finds a defender at the back post. His attempt to clear is messy and the ball loops up into the air. It takes an alert colleague to nip in and nod the ball out for a corner with Nurse lurking.
On 38 minutes, another free-kick is flicked on by Vansittart and hits a startled defender in the chest. Fortunately for the visitors, the ‘keeper leaps onto the loose ball before Brake can get there. A similar event occurs within a minute, with Brake’s whipped in cross from the left just missing Nurse in the centre only to hit a defender. Again, Jalal in the Woking goal gathers.
As we make our way towards the tunnel, Iga is again in action. Pushing away a fierce 25 yard drive after pressure down the left results in time & space to shoot around the edge of the box. On the whistle, a fast paced attack down our right, a feature of the league cup match a week ago but fortunately missing tonight, opens up the defence. The ball into the near post is deftly flicked on, but flies wide of the upright.
The general feeling is one of optimism in the bar at Half time, but we’re still wary that the Woking lads will get a kick up the arse at the break and step up a gear in the second half. Still, we’ve got that lead to hang onto….
As expected, the visitors start the second half at a brisk pace, but only have one opportunity to show for it as the Sutton midfield & defence dig in. An attack down the left ends with a fierce, low driven cross into the box. It zips across the face of goal evading everyone and most importantly the white shirt sliding in at the back post.
Exchanges remain even and chances are at a premium for both sides. We keep expecting the visitors to just go up a gear and start playing as we’d seen last week. But it never really happens and the lads continue to compete for every ball all over the park.
Brake has a dipping 20 yard drive straight at the ‘keeper in the 70th miute. 5 minutes later, a flick on from a long ball forward creates a rare opening on the Sutton defence. The attacker gets clear and goes past Blackwell, but he does enough to check his progress and this allows Scarborough to make a desperate, if somewhat illegal challenge right on the edge of the 18 yard box. Thankfully, the ref decides the free-kick and a caution for Scoobs are adequate punishment. The free-kick it buried into the Sutton wall and cleared.
Both sides continue to pretty much cancel each other out, but as time wears on, the superior fitness of the visitors seems to be starting to make the difference. The cause isn’t helped when the so far impressive Blackwell is forced off with a cut over his eye after a clash of heads. Tony Quinton makes his return from injury as his replacement.
With about 5 minutes left, it looks like we’re in for a tough final slog, but Paul Honey wins a ball down in the far left corner, breaking up a Woking attack. He turns between two opponents and sweeps a pass into the path of Akuamouah bursting into midfield. He tears up the centre of the field before slipping a perfectly timed pass into the path of Brake ahead of him. Nige doesn’t mess about and holding off his man, cracks a low skidding drive beyond the keeper and into the bottom near corner.
GET IN THERE!!
Thank christ for that! A bit of breathing space and just what we need.
The lads dig in and look to protect that lead for the last few minuets and with the 90 minutes up by our reckoning, the visitors give us something to think about. A ball forwards is flicked on, allowing late substitute Jefferson Loius to run into the space behind the defence and drive a shot under Iga from the edge of the box. But despite some late pressure and a few late nervy corners in 5 long minutes of added time, we hang on for a bloody hard fought and admittedly very unexpected win.
Rather happy, we head back into the bar for a celebratory pint or two. With the bar staff busy serving, muggins here ends up answering the phone and informing several people, including one caller from our opponents in the next round, Egham.
Then, to top off a rather pleasing evening, the chairman appears and buys me the pint won in Saturdays wager. Windy & Oscar being the freeloading pikey ponces they are somehow get in on the round as well.
Mr Chairman, I have NO idea who these riff-raff are. Please have them removed from the premises.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Richard Blackwell. Solid as a rock on his debut
ENTERTAINMENT : 8. Super team effort from the lads. 2 good goals too. Excellent!!
TEAM : Iga, Howard, Scarborough, Blackwell, Dray, Nurse, Fear, Honey, Brake, Vansittart, Akuamouah. SUBS : Watkins, Quinton, Tydeman.
THE REFEREE’S………a Surrey official. Basically rubbish. But not as bad as the balding lino on the stand side for the 90 minutes. My nan could’ve done better. One throw in just before half time was laughable, being a good couple of feet out of play, yet no flag………..muppet