And Breathe…

CONFERENCE SOUTH

Att: 602



SUTTON UNITED – 1     [Vansittart 87.]

WELLING UNITED – 0

Jesus christ. Thank god thats out of the way. Still, if you’d told me a couple of months back that we’d get 2 home wins to help secure our status for next season, I’d have wanted a pint of whatever you were drinking. Especially after that fucking AFC Wimbledon game.

The game itself will, I’m sure, not live long in the memory of those who witnessed it. A truly dreadful 90 minutes between two sides largely haunted by relegation for much of the season and only brightened up (well, from our point of view anyway!) by Joff’s late winner.

Still, it’s an excuse to get pissed innit.

After the defeat at Stortford on tuesday, we’d basically spent much of the rest of the week shitting ourselves. Today’s visitors Welling have a home record worse than ours (is that possible?), yet are even better than us away from home.

Yeah, exactly what we were thinking too…

Still, at least we could comfort ourselves with the fact that going into today, Welling were all but assured of safety themselves barring some rather strange results from Newport, the Bobbins and Maidenhead. In fact, we were hoping that a draw would be enough if the Bobbins lost.

I find Greek & Windy already in the Hood when I arrive. Heavily engrossed in a game of ‘Word Up’ on the quiz machine. Chalmers & Mrs C arrive not long after, having been out shopping for curtains to go in their new place. We nearly all choke on our beer when they tell us how much they paid.

TWO HUNDRED QUID!!! Jesus christ. Mine were under a score from Wilkinsons.

Whats that? They’re being made to order?? I should bloody well think so too! If you’d paid that for off the shelf ones, you’d need shooting.

Who’s making ‘em anyway, the fucking Queen?

Bob and our esteemed Programme editior also join us for a swift half and before we know it, it’s time to depart for the ground. Oh god, here we go…

We discover on arrival, that JR has largely stuck with tuesdays formation & team. The only changes being Iga replaces Wilson in goal (Phil apparently has a small ankle problem) and Brake returns out on the left. Blackwell is not selected, meaning Lewis drops into the centre-backs along with Joff & Patsy.

Fingers crossed everyone!

The first ten minutes or so are pretty dull. In fact, very very dull! We manage to achieve precisely zero in the way of coherent play, let alone attacking intent and the visitors just look plain bored. Then with 12 minutes gone, Iga has his first alamring moment of the day. A corner from the right is just punched clear by the U’s ‘keeper. It’s immediately headed straight back in on goal from the edge of the area. Thankfully a replay of the opening goal from tuesday is narrowly averted as Joff just manages to nod the ball from under the bar and to everyones relief, it drops into the arms of Andy below him.

Phew.

A couple of minutes later, our first ‘chance’ pops up. A rather hasty backpass puts the Welling ‘keeper in a bit of a tight spot. The ball is hit back with such pace that he has no time to come off his line to deal with it comfortably. And a horrible bobble in front of him doesn’t help has he has to take it on his chest and just lump it anywhere with Hunter bearing down on him. His hurried kick unfortunately flies between Corbett and Watkins arriving in the box and a defender finally clears his lines.

The remaining half hour or so is just as unexciting. Three reasonable opportunites come & go, all for the visitors, who lets be honest here, aren’t exactly breaking sweat.

This tmie, Gonsalves is called upon to clear off the line around the 20 minute mark when a free-kick into the box is called for by Iga, but headed away by Joff, obviously not hearing the shout. The ball is immediately scuffed back into the box and finds a red shirt unmarked and with a reasonable sight of goal on the left, but despite his low effort sneaking under Iga, Lewis tidies up behind him.

The next two come just before half time. One a fierce volley from the edge of the box straight at Andy after a throw in from the left has been flicked on and the other a big pass forwards, that has our defence backing off. A pass into the left channel presents the shooting opportunity, but Andy is equal to it and gets enough of a hand on the shot to deflect it just over the crossbar.

With no news from Coldsore yet, we nervously head for the bar. We’re feeling a lot better very quickly though when Sky Sports vidiprinter announces the Bobbins are trailing 1-0 at home to Cambridge.

COME ON!! Thats all we need!

Personally, I’ve seen enough and I exit the bar rapidly, leaving the others to their half time snifter.

For the second half, JR has decided to try & get us going forwards more and replaces Tydeman, who has looked more than a little bit lost in that right sided position, with Steve Douglas. Craig Watkins drops to the right and the youth man goes up front with Hunter.

It takes a little while for us to adjust but after 54 minutes the front two combine well. A ball to the edge of the box is taken under control and slipped in behind the defence by Douglas for Hunter to nip onto. His low strike zips across goal and is just out of reach of Watkins arriving at the far post. 5 minutes later and again Hunter is causing problems. A twisting little run gets him into the box and to the byeline, where he pulls the ball back to the near post. The ‘keeper doesn’t deal with it and fumbles, but the ball springs up at the lurking Paul Honey and it’s cleared before he can make anything of the half chance.

Our visitors seem to have gone to sleep with the sheer excitement of the occasion and it’s not until after the hour they remind us they’re still out there. Iga’s clearance finds the midfield devoid of any Amber shirts and the ball is immediately played through our defence. Thankfully the attacker has been forced a little wide and his shot from just inside the box goes high into the side netting.

From this point on, there’s absolutely zero of any note to really report, except the text that Windy gets with around 10 to play informing us that the Bobbins are now 2-0 down at home to Cambridge! Both sides seem to have settled for the draw and despite this, as the minutes tick away, we still can’t help but feel rather nervous.

A bloody goal would be nice. But it’s hardly on the cards is it?

Then with 2 minutes left, a corner. Scott Corbett wanders over to the lef tto take it. We’re not expecting much as his previous dead ball attempts have all miserably failed to beat the first man, but this one swings in dangerously. The ‘keeper flaps a little at it with Hunter jumping in front of him and only manages to help it onto Joffs head and he forces the ball over the line from a couple of yards out.

Cue wild celebrations behind the goal.

COME ON!!!! Now, if we can just hang onto that, we’re DEFINITELY fucking safe!!!!!

Welling come alive for the last minute or two and exert some pressure with a couple of corners, but Iga deals with them. Then their day is compounded with about a minute to go. A ball forward is flicked on by Hunter to Douglas behind him. The young striker manages to ride the challenge of the no3, digs the ball out and looks certain to have a virtually clear run on goal until the defender hauls him down.

It’s a long way out and despite there being a question mark about it being a clear goal scoring opportunity, the ref decides it’s worthy of a red card and presents matey first dibs on the shower gel.

This seems to convince the remaining Welling players that trying to get the goal back now is a bit of a lost cause and the few minutes of injury time are played out without any incident whatsoever. At the final whistle, another big relieved cheer goes up from the home fans.

Thank. fuck. for. that.

Right, can we pack up and go and get drunk now please?

We head into the bar and start the celebrations. Even despite the rubbish game and the result, even the Welling lot seem fairly relieved all the ‘excitement’ of the season is over and they can see out their last game in a relaxed mood. Sportingly, they join us in a good few beers before the quiz planned for that night. By the time the 8pm start comes round, we’ve persuaded ‘em to enter a team.

A little under 3 hours and 2 pics of some of their team members asleep at their table later, they finally retire as the final rounds marks are being calculated.

Personally, we just want the scores done so we can catch last orders at the Hood’s St Georges day shindig! C’mon, hurry up.

We shouldn’t have worried as we easily make it and hit the pub with plenty of time for a couple of beers and a hearty rendition of ‘Land of hope & glory’ or two.

“We’re staying up, we’re staying up, we’re staying, Suttons staying up!”

MAN OF THE MATCH : Andy Iga. Erm, only one who had to really do anything!

ENTERTAINMENT : 3. Absolutely terrible game, but we’re safe!!!

TEAM : Iga, Vansittart, Palmer, Gonsalves, Tydeman, Honey, Corbett, Akuamouah, Brake, Watkins, Hunter.   SUBS : Douglas, Clayton, Hewitt, Wilson

THE REFEREE’S………so so. Did his job adequately. Lino on our side was a bit crap though.

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