Att : 562
SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Pitcher 89]
WESTON SUPER MARE – 2 [Hogg 21. 24]
Bloody early kick offs. What twat at the FA decided it was a good idea for internationals to be played at 3pm on a Saturday anyway? That’s it, fuck over all the teams NOT involved (ie 99.9% of us) by staging a game on telly when we’re supposed to be playing, so everyone goes down the pub instead.
And what about my lie in you bastards??
Oh well, back to our little unbeaten run…..it had to end sometime!
And it’s probably for the best if we’re honest. Simply because we’re still trying to work out just HOW we’ve managed to win the first five games. Winning a sixth would have just complicated matters!
Our visitors from the South West are also building themselves up into something of a bogey team for us. 3 meetings, all finishing 2-1 to the Seagulls, with the match at GGL last season being quite possibly one of the most dreadful 90 minutes I think I’ve ever experienced watching Sutton.
Hopefully today will be mildly more entertaining.
With the silly KO time, I spend the morning dashing about doing far more boring things than sitting in the pub drinking beer and eventually stroll through the turnstiles with about 10 minutes to spare.
The management have been forced into a change today, with Paul Honey having broken his wrist at Dorchester, new signing Geoff “Used to play for K’s and was told to fuck off by the whole Securicor Terrace once” Pitcher goes into midfield in his place.
Having seen his ample frame at Havant a couple of weeks ago, I somehow doubt he’ll be taking over Ug’s ‘tackle-everything-that-moves’ role….
I find the rest of the herberts already on the Shoebox and settle down for the ‘action’.
The match starts at a brisk pace with the Visitors getting in an early sighter. Good movement down our right produces a cross in from that flank, but their man meeting it with a header at the near post guides the ball wide of the mark.
A couple of minutes later, our first chance arrives. Gray plays a super ball over the Weston defence down the right and Mackie races off after it. Having outpaced his marker, the on loan Exeter lad hits it first time across goal from about 10 yards, only to see it rebound off the far post and hit a startled Steve Douglas following up. Sadly he can do little with his ‘chance’ and the ball dribbles wide.
Mr Pitcher is soon involved and gives a glimpse of the ability we know he has. A scything ball through the defence sends Douglas away, but a defender does well to get back and block, just as Steve pulls the trigger.
Weston hit back swiftly and another raid down the right produces results. A low cross in finds an attacker in a bit more space than we’d like, but his turn & shot from close range is blocked out at the expense of a corner.
Our own bright start continues on 12 minutes, when Mackie chases down a ball forwards, forcing first a defender to knock it back to the ‘keeper, then hurrying the stopper to make his clearance. The ball drops to Pitcher some 20 yards out and he tries his luck, but the effortis half blocked and deflected out for a corner. Gray takes it from the left and obviously a bit cocky after scoring from one at Dorch last week, tries his luck again! Only a desperate header away from under the bar at the far post prevents a repeat.
Our guests continue to exert some pressure themselves, but it’s still a slight surprise when they take the lead with a well taken goal just after 20 minutes. For once, they get some joy down the left and their no8 showing good skill to get down the line and slip a pass inside for a colleague who makes no mistake from 10 yards and rifles a low shot under Emberson and into the far corner.
Hmmm, behind for the first time this season. Wonder how we’ll react??
“Not very well” is the answer, as within 5 minutes, the Seagulls have doubled their advantage.
Whereas the first was good play, the second is down to poor defending. An attack of our own breaks down on the right and we’re not quick enough to close people down. The no8 moves upfield with the ball and with the defence backpedalling rapidly, plays a pass infield to the centre. Unfortunately, both Scooby & Patsy move to cut out the pass and are left stranded when the no9 gets there first and prods it back out to the right for the now totally unmarked no8.
He makes the most of his free run on goal and despite Emberson trying to give him as little a target to aim at as possible, the Weston man squeezes the ball past the ‘keeper at the near post to make it 2-0.
Ok, so now we’ve found out how we’d react to going a goal down, I wonder how we;ll react to going two down??
The visitors cause all sorts of problems for a few minutes following the goal as our previously solid defence (fuck me, when was the last time I got to write THAT in a match report???) tries to regroup. Thankfully, they manage to limit the damage to just those two goals.
Mackie keeps going up front and he’s a little unlucky not to pull one back on 38 minutes, a long Matt Gray throw from the right is strangely allowed to drop in the penalty area by the rather large gentleman who make up the Weston defence. Scarborough manages to react first and prod it towards goal, but the ‘keeper is off his line quickly to smother Jamie’s effort from about 2 yards out.
With half time approaching, we’re finding it hard to carve out a goal that would get us back into the game and we’re denied a good chance to do so by some obligatory useless Conference South officiating. Eddie holds the ball up well in the final 3rd and feeds Gray, his pass into the channel is seized on by Mackie who bursts past one defender into the box before being clumsily felled from behind by a second.
I know it’s a pen, you know it’s a pen, but sadly the ref and his perfectly-placed-with-a-clear-line-of-sight-not- 10-yards-away linesman don’t.
Still, wouldn’t be a Connie South game without some fucking terrible decision or other would it.
So we amble into the bar at the break for a drink 2 down. Still, I get to meet a couple of the Weston lads who we exchange banter with on the message boards and fora that cover this league of ours. And they manage to cheer us up slightly with the fact that they haven’t kept a clean sheet since something like December 2004 and that they’re a bit prone to late goals.
So there’s hope for us yet!
Sutton start the second half in determined mood and within a minute of the restart, a great chance comes our way. Mackie somehow wins a flick on against one of the massive Weston defenders which falls to Douglas. His shot on goal is blocked, but runs perfectly to the Exeter man following up, but he somehow drags his shot across goal and a gnats chuff wide of the far stick.
Oh arse. It’s going to be one of those days isn’t it?
A few minutes later, it’s Douglas’ turn to spurn a good opportunity when Akuamouah breaks forward with the ball and feeds the young striker. But again, the effort is dragged across the target and wide from a very good position. Gray follows this up with a free-kick from the left 3 minutes later that is curled just a fraction too high of the far corner.
Weston get going again and respond with a very good chance of their own not long after from left sided cross. Their man wasting his far-too-free header at the far post, aiming it straight at our man between the sticks. Just a few minutes further down the line, just over the hour mark, they’re very unlucky not to add to their lead.
A U’s attack breaks down and again, our midfield is woefully slow to react. Before we know it 2 passes have sent their no10 clear. It looks like Patsy has done enough and forced him wide of the target, but matey has a pop anyway and is unlucky to see his effort come back off the crossbar with Embo stranded.
Scarborough wastes a rare headed chance in the Weston box not long after, powering a right sided Matt Gray corner just inches over the target from 8 yards out right in front of goal. Weston then have another effort off our cross bar with a little over 15 to play when a deep, over-hit cross from the left drifts in and bounces off the top of Emberson’s goal.
Things briefly get a little bit nasty before the end, with Gray very lucky to escape a card of either colour for lashing out at their No3 Mckeever down in our own right-corner. Matt delivering a solid thump to their man’s back in retaliation for some niggling from behind.
Staggeringly, the ref only chooses to have words with McKeever!
This obviously has some say in events barely 2 minutes later at the other end when Gray goes down the line only to have his run ended by a challenge that can only be described as “fucking dreadful”. Quite how such an obviously deliberate attempt to injure an opponent only warrants a yellow card is a question only Mr Buck the refferee can answer.
The game kind of peters out after this and with the bench only electing to make changes with a little under 10 minutes remaining when Castledine replaces Gonsalves (nope, we couldn’t work that one out either!), it seems a rather poor 2-0 defeat is looming.
Still, the Weston lads clean sheet/late goal prophecy comes true when with a minute or so remaining, the tireless Mackie wriggles through the visitors defence on the right and pulls the ball back to the waiting Pitcher on the 18 yard line. It seems the chance has gone as a defender closes down quickly, but the ex-Brighton man still manages to get a bullet like shot off that crashes into the top corner with the ‘keeper a mere spectator.
Cracking strike Geoff. Shame about the other 70 minutes eh?
Still, it’s too little too late and the visitors comfortably hold on for the 3 points.
We return to the bar to get a seat and settle down for the England game on the box to find that Cambridge have failed to beat Eastbourne today. And with Histon not playing until tomorrow, our tenure at the top of the table will last at least another 24 hours. Oh and the Bobbins got beat as well.
Sadly, the England ‘performance’ fails to raise spirits (ie. It was bastard dull!) and it’s not until I return home (skint!) for dinner that my day gets better.
Damn I make a cracking Bolognese!
MAN OF THE MATCH – Jamie Mackie. Ran his arse off all day & unlucky not to score.
ENTERTAINMENT – 5. Very disjointed. Oh boy did we miss Honey today………
TEAM : Emberson, Gray, Palmer, Scarborough, Elliot, Gonsalves, Akuamouah, Pitcher, Quinton, Mackie, Douglas. SUBS : Wilson, Rivers, Castledine, Adams
THE REFEREE’S………so so. Had a reasonable game, yet was strangely loathe to award us free-kicks in the final third.