Att : 693
SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Mackie 29]
FARNBOROUGH TOWN – 0
If you’d told me in early July that we’d win our first 4 games and be sitting atop the league twice inside that first month, I’d have pissed myself laughing and then demanded a several pints of whatever wonderfully hallucinogenic liquid you’d been drinking.
In fact if there IS any of that brew going…
After some faffing about on my brother’s part, I arrive at the pub a good 20 minutes later than I’d planned and have to rush my pre-match pint. How very uncivilised!
Half an hour later and we’re taking our spots on the terrace. Today would be the first game without Craig Watkins, who has taken an offer to go full-time in the Conference National division with Exeter City. As if losing him wasn’t bad enough, top scorer Luke Cornwall has failed a late fitness test.
JR is thus forced to start with Jamie Mackie, a young forward signed on loan from Exeter as part of the Watkins deal and Ali Chabaan, an ex-Leatherhead man who had a couple of spells with today’s visitors during their Conference stay. Let’s hope they click eh?
Apart from those 2 enforced changes, the rest of the side remains unchanged from the first 3 matches.
Farnborough have striking worries of their own coming in to today. They’ve failed to register a goal in their 3 matches so far!
A sign that the 2 new guys are going to need a little time to settle comes after 4 minutes. Gray & Akuamouah combine from a throw in on the right. Matty gets to the byeline and pulls a good ball back across the box, but no-one has made the killer run to the near post and the ball is eventually cleared after Mackie tries very hard to make amends.
The Exeter man is soon back in action, battling hard around the Boro penalty area to keep possession before feeding Gry on the right. His fast paced cross into the box is met by a defender just before the near post and loops just over the target for a corner.
His partner, Chabaan, on the other hand is finding it hard going. Continually frustrated by a jobsworth lino on the stand side flagging for every little infringement as soon as he goes near an oppo player!
Our guests first sight of goal comes soon after. A raid down the left ends with a dangerous cross into the box which is headed away to just beyond the 18 yard line. It’s returned at pace with an impressive 1st time volley that Emberson holds firmly in front of him just above head height.
The fussy ref’s whistle is starting to annoy all present, with him blowing up for the smallest infringement every 10 seconds. Because of this, the game doesn’t really flow and no real pattern develops.
On 21 mins, Chabaan hassles a defender down in the left hand corner and he tries to play it back to his ‘keeper just inside the 18 yard box. But the pass is underhit and Mackie pops up to steal possession. He then slips the ball back across the box where the arriving Akuamouah looks certain to score, but disappointingly, he barely makes contact with the ball 8 yards out and the chance is gone.
Farnboro are showing signs of promise, hitting on the break quickly when they can and Mr Fussy actually lets them, with their front two showing bags of pace. But they also show why they’ve failed to register a goal yet as there is absolutely no end product from several promising looknig situations.
But, with 29 minutes gone, a rare bit of patient approach leads to the breakthrough.
An attack down the left breaks down and the ball is recycled back down the line before being switched immediately to the right flank. Gray takes a lovely touch and before a defender can close him down, whips a cross into the box at pace. It looks like the ‘keeper will claim a full stretch catch, but the ball squirms from his fingers and drops just beyond the far post. Chabaan does well to recover the situation and hooks the ball back across the face of goal for Mackie to dive in bravely and nod past the ‘keeper from close range.
Bloody hell, what is it this season and debut goals???
Lets hope he can repeat Mr Cornwall’s feat from 2 weeks ago eh?
The match though never really sparks into life, with both sides cancelling each other out fairly well and the ref and his assistants strangling the life out of proceedings with continuous stoppages for, at times, absolutely fuck all.
Boro have a sight of goal with a free-kick from 25 yards out and to the right being swung just over Emberson’s cross bar on 33 minutes and just before the break Gray breaks free on the right, nutmegging his man on the way and puts in an early ball. It causes problems from the defence and the ball eventually drops to Mackie, but his effort is blocked and spins just wide of an upright with the ‘keeper scrambling a little.
The annoying ref brings a less than classic 45 minutes to an end and we head for the bar. Wonder how many the Bobbins are losing by at Carshalton???
Happily, our neighbours are already 2 down. Meaning that if things stay the way they are, we’ll already be 10 points ahead of ’em. Nothing unusual in that normally. But it’s only the 3rd week of bloody August for crying out loud.
The second half starts with the visitors pressurising for an equaliser from the off, but like the first half, despite some reasonable approach play, there is zero cutting edge up front and Emberson is untroubled with Scarborough & Elliot standing strong in front of him.
It takes until just after the hour mark for either side to register a serious effort on goal. Chabaan finds himself some space down the left and he feeds Mackie. The Exeter man can’t hold onto the ball though and it finds it’s way back to the Lebanese man. This time, he swings a nice ball across the edge of the box for Quinton, overlapping on the right. His touch is good, but a defender does enough to force him away and his angled drive is too high to trouble the ‘keeper.
Still the ref continues to annoy all present with his continual whistle blowing every time the game remotely threatens to spark into life. His young assistant on our side is also continuing to flag for some baffling ‘incidents’ only he has seen and deservedly cops some flack from the Shoebox.
Castledine replaces the tiring Chabaan, but the change does little and we have to wait until the 80th minute for anything remotely interesting to happen.
A good ball forward sends a tiring Mackie away down the left. With his weary legs not able to get his away from his marker, he does well to turn out & find Quinton arriving on the edge of the box. But the midfielder fires well high and wide of the target.
The visitors then proceed to have their best chances of the match. First a cross into the box, just inside the 18 yard lines sees an attacker try an overhead kick. It drops weakly and looks to be going wide, but Emberson decides to play safe and pushes it round the post for a corner. With time running out, good play down the left ends with a super cross played into the danger area, flying across the face of goal just under the crossbar, with neither Emberson, Scarborough or an arriving Farnborough man managing to get any sort of telling touch.
Almost immediately after, a man is allowed to run from right to left along the edge of the penatly area before turning inside and hitting a curling drive that thumps back off the far upright with Embo well beaten.
There’s still time for us to have what looks a decent penalty shout turned down when Mackie is seemingly bundled over in the area when going for the ball from a throw in. Admittedly my view isn’t great, but the load shout going up from that end would seem to indicate everyone over there was pretty convinced!!
Still though, we manage to hold out and for the first time this afternoon the ref blows his whistle for something we actually agree with. The end of the 90 minutes!
We head back into the bar having not exactly seen a classic, but with another 3 points safely tucked away. In the bar, it comes to light that the Bobbins have crashed 4-0 at ‘Muff, but more importantly Cambridge have gone down 2-1 at home to Dorchester (bloody typical considering thats where we’re going on monday!).
And combined with Lewes shock 3-0 drubbing at home to Histon, that means we’re top again!!
What the hell???
Slightly shocked, we stand around pondering this matter over a pint. After a while, at the request of the Chairman, I pop upstairs into the rarified & cigar smoke filled air of the club office to try & get their PC working.
After about an hour, I return to the bar where I find the rest of the crew partaking in a game of ‘Golden Tee 99’. Which Gareth has tried his hardest to break in my absence. Hitting one drive a little too hard, his hand has smashed into the plexiglass at the bottom of the screen and produced a sodding great crack and a cut on his hand.
Naturally, he’s whimpering miserably about his arcade game induced injury like a big baby.
Before long, we notice the familiar faces of the arsey pigeoneers from last week appearing in the bar brandishing their little boxy clock wotsits. And Greek is still here.
Right, drink up people, we’re going. Before the fat bloke has a chance to spark another skyrat flavoured near riot!
Safely back in the Hood, it’s a hardcore night of beer and shoot pontoon for matches. And Bob cleans us all out.
MAN OF THE MATCH – John Scarborough. Won everything in the air.
ENTERTAINMENT – 5. Game never really got going. Thanks for that ref…
TEAM : Emberson,Palmer, Scarborough, Elliot, Gray, Quinton, Honey, Akuamouah, Gonsalves, Chabaan, Mackie. SUBS : Blackwell, Wilson.
THE REFEREE’S………a pedantic whistle happy arsehole. Never once let the game flow, blowing up for even the slightest phyical contact between players. His linesman with the yellow flag was a complete cock as well.