SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Gray 69. Corbett 76]
HAYES – 4 [Dyer 37.51.67. Dean 89]
With our recent run of injuries depleting an already thin squad, everyone at the club was pretty relieved to get 10 days off after the Surrey Cup win over Woking to rest and recuperate.
The only problem with this is, we’re notoriously bad after a break. And this occasion proves to be no exception.
We’d expected to return to action and turn over a Hayes side with an injury list representing the local A&E on a Friday night. Added to this 3 players serving suspensions following recent sending offs, you can understand our sadly misplaced confidence.
Already suffering from a destructive Friday evenings drinking for Oscars birthday, I’m summonsed to deal with an emergency at the parents house. Whilst this means I’m forced to leave my pit far earlier than I’d have liked, I don’t return home until just before 2 and this rules out a pre-match visit to the pub. Not such a bad thing today.
Still, I’m struggling to make GGL in time for kick off and as I’m about to call a cab, a fellow U comes past, hollers some abuse & offers a lift. Top man!
Arriving at the ground, Chalmers, his missus, Greek, Oscar and Windy appear soon after. All are feeling worse for wear after the festivities of the night before. Hmmm, should be a lively afternoon on the Shoebox then….
JR has stuck with the 4-4-2 system that got us the win over Woking, with new man Boudaji returning to the defence along with Quinton. Gonsalves though is still missing, so Danny Dray keeps his spot at left back. Vansittart misses his first game of a 2 match ban.
The wind is barrelling down the pitch and the surface looks the worst it has all season. A classic is almost certainly not in the offing.
Sutton are the first to make any impact on the game, Honey’s persistance in midfield winning possession. The ball is instantly switched to the rigth flank for Gray and he flings a cross in which just evades Watkins at the near post and finds it’s way to Brake at the far post. But the ball arriving at his feet seems to be something of a surprise to him and he hooks a hurried shot over the bar.
The visitors hit back a few minutes later with a free-kick from the right that swerves in front of Wilson. He manages to block the effort but not hold on, thankfully the defence is aware and the danger is cleared. The defence is called into action again after 15 minutes when a ball forwards is flicked on sending an attacker clear. But he’s denied a shooting opportunity by Boudaji who does well to chase back and get a foot in.
Conditions aren’t making for a particularly entertaining game of football and chances are thin on the ground. Almost half an hour is goen before Sutton create something. A corner from the left is headed up into the air before Scarborough hooks it on goal from 8 yards or so, only to be denied by a super save from the Hayes ‘keeper who claws the effort out for a corner.
The next event of any note in a largely dull first half see’s the visitors take the lead. A poor goalkick finds a blue shirt and he easily evades Fear’s weak challenge before slipping the ball into the right channel for the no7. Wilson does well to react & save his angled shot, but the defence fails to react to the loose ball this time and a man is allowed an awful amount of time to turn and put his side ahead from close range.
It takes us until right before the half time break to challenge that lead. Akuamouah makes a break on the left and having gone past 1 defender drags his shot wide of the near post when well placed. Definitely a chance missed.
Still hungover & now more than a bit cold, we’re quite happy to find our way into the bar.
Having not got going in the first half, we’re hoping having the wind at our backs for the second will help improve matters. It doesn’t.
Within 6 minutes of the restart, Hayes have doubled their lead. And once again, it’s our defence who fails to cover itself in glory. A ball into the box finds a blue shirt completely unmarked, once more Wilson does well to keep out the close range effort, but his defence stands & watches as another attacker turns the loose ball in.
Fuckety fuck fuck.
Sutton try to respond, but find the going hard. Akuamouah is presented with another good chance just prior to the hour though after a nice little exchange of passes around the edge of the box plays him in, but with the goal at his mercy he scuffs his shot across the target & wide of the far post.
On 67 minutes though, things go from bad to worse. I’m sending a text from my phone when Hayes win a corner on our left. “I bet they score while I’m sending this…..” I think to myself.
Naturally, they do. The corner finds their man totally unmarked in the 6 yard box and he has the easiest of tasks to sidefoot a volley in for 3-0 and to complete his hat-trick.
Erm, lads, is there ANY chance of looking interested today d’you reckon?
JR decides he’s seen enough and withdraws Danny Dray for Scott Corbett to try & boost the midfield and give us a bit more option going forwards.
Two minutes later, Matt Gray throws us a lifeline when his corner from the left is carried straight in by the wind and despite the efforts of a defender on the line, the linesman signals it has crossed the line. Our defence though is still looking as impressive as a 9ct gold chain from Elizabeth Duke and are still being caused problems by what is essentially a scratch side.
Wilson keeps us within sight with a super save after 74 minutes. A quick break from our corner has the back line trailing. The attack drives straight down the middle and our man has to be at his best to block the shot.
Another couple of minuets down the line and we’ve pulled another one back. A big throw from the left by Fear is allowed to drop in the area by the Hayes defence and Corbett siezes on their hesitation to lash the loose ball into the top near corner of the net.
Bloody hell! We might actually get something out of this.
But with it looking like we’re going to launch an all out assault on the visitors goal for the equaliser, the visitors step up a gear and manage to restrain our attacking intentions rather well. Then with around a minute or so to go, they make sure of their 3 points. Quinton tries to play too much 25 or so yards out from goal and loses possession. The play is quickly switched to the left and an attacker is played into the space behind our defence. Once again, Wilson does very well to react and block his fierce effort but the defence fail to react as well and the ball runs loose to the right side of the box for a totally unmarked Hayes man to drill his shot under our ‘keepers desperate dive.
Well, thats us bollocksed then.
Solemnly, we head back into the bar to get some scores and start drowning our sorrows. Next weeks visit to Margate is really starting to look like a must win.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Paul Honey. Kept us from being totally overrun in midfield.
ENTERTAINMENT : 5. Another poor poor performance coupled with a rough pitch
TEAM : Wilson, Dray, Scarborough, Quinton, Boudaji, Gray, Honey, Fear, Brake, Akuamouah, Watkins SUBS : Corbett, Tydeman, Nurse, Howard, Iga
THE REFEREE’S………a frustratingly inconsistent prat. Another of those blokes who awards free-kick after free-kick against you for little or nothing, yet ignores pretty much every offence against you.