Att : 1703
WEYMOUTH – 3 [Elam 2. Jackson 42. Bounder 90]
SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Watkins 46]
It’s the end of October. So that must mean a weekend in Weymouth! Almost exactly 12 months to the day since we last travelled to Dorset for a match at the Wessex, we’re off down there again. And my, how things have changed. The main difference being that neither side could currently be described as ‘crap’.
Ok, maybe that’s no surprise with ‘Muff having gone billy big bollocks full time and recruited a fair few big names to help them finally make the Conference National. But we’ve not done too badly ourselves since then either.
One thing is for definite. When the fixtures came out, we certainly expected this fixture to include the side sitting atop the division. We just didn’t expect that side to be us.
As per normal, it’s a B&B and a weekend on the piss for the Shoebox crew. Although we’re blooding 2 new members this time out. Greek has dragged along his good lady and Gareth has sold the experience to another U’s fan Jeff. Which is good, ‘cos if nothing else, it boosts the ginger quota around here and that’s never a bad thing. No, you fuck off.
This means it’s the usual early start on the road and manage to time it reasonably well as we roll into town at about 11. The B&B is located on the front (with a lovely view of the bay no less!), bags are swiftly dumped and it’s straight off to the pub to kick off the day. And with only the 30 minutes drinking time lost as well! We’re soon joined in the first pub by DS & his good lady, who have made a proper holiday of it and spent the Friday night down here as well.
Several pints and a couple of pubs later it’s off to the bridge to catch the ‘Football Special’ bus, a little hopper type affair that trundles from the town centre out to the ground. Which is something of a novelty for those of us more used to either piling into cabs to the ground or making the drunken stumble from the Hood. Still, we make the most of it by interrogating the locals on board about the best places to visit later that night. The bus gets us to the ground in plenty of time, enough in fact for a quick snifter in the clubhouse before heading out for the game.
Our line up is somewhat surprising. JR has elected to give the home side something to think about and picked Cornwall, Ekoku AND the returning Watkins in a very adventurous (for us anyway!) 5-3-1-2 formation. Ooooh! Should be pacy if nowt else.
Sadly, we don’t get a chance to see how many problems such a line up could cause our hosts early doors. As we’ve barely got the flags up before a deep throw in from our left drops in the box to a paid-a-lot-more-than-we-can-afford-and-in-slightly-more-space-than-we’d-like Lee Elam. He turns and of course pops his shot neatly inside Wilson’s far post. 2 minutes on the clock.
Bollocks. Now, what was it we said about keeping things tight early on lads?
The early lead gives ‘Muff the initiative and they apply the pressure, looking to kill us off nice and early. Wilson is called upon after about 10 mins when a quick free-kick is dinked to the edge of the box. A U’s man wins the header, but the ball drops to a Claret shirt, again in too much space, about 20-odd yards out. The curling shot through the crowd is solidly pushed away by the Sutton stopper though.
Sutton finally find their feet shortly after and a break forwards from Cornwall on the left takes him past 1 man. But with his options rapidly running out, he tests the ‘keeper at his near post with a curling shot, but it’s a straightforward save. On 14 minutes, Gonsalves drives an effort just over the target from the centre after a free-kick from the right is laid into his path.
Our best chance comes on 19 minutes though. A pass out right finds Gray and he whips a teasing early low ball across the Weymouth box. It evades both Cornwall and Ekoku in the centre, but comes to Watkins at the far post, but it comes at him at pace and he’s stretching a bit, resulting in the effort being agonisingly flashed over the bar from 6 yards.
Weymouth are by no means out of proceedings and time after time their forwards are frustrated by the linesman’s flag at the far end. Wilson produces an excellent save just after the half hour, acrobatically tipping a looping header over from virtually under his own crossbar following a corner played in from the right.
Cornwall tests the ‘keeper with another effort on 38 mins, cutting in from the right and evading the attentions of a couple of defenders, before his shot from the 18yard line is deflected safely into the arms of the waiting custodian.
Typically, with half time approaching, thoughts turn to keeping things tight until the break and going in only the one goal down and regrouping. These thoughts are soon abandoned though when the ref ignores an obvious foul on Ekoku on the left. Despite the strikers protests, the ball is swiftly fired up the touchline and swung across for an attacker to outpace Scarborough and find the net. Despite the efforts of Wilson, who manages to get a hand to the ball, but not enough to stop it trickling in. What is it with us and conceding right before half time for fucks sake?
At this point, our attention turns to the local kindergarten that’s gathered in front of us. Christ, don’t they have fucking youth centres or anything down this way?
Annoying little shits. They should be in a park or on a street corner somewhere, smoking, spitting and necking diamond white at their age, not annoying the fuck out of me with their high pitched squeaking and that mindless Soccer AM “Easy Easy” chant. I blame the parents personally.
Oh and Tim Lovejoy. Twat. Only a product of SKY tv could take a rarely used chant and not only get every braindead dickhead chanting it after EVERY SINGLE SODDING GOAL, but also clapping like some retarded seal to boot.
Thankfully, the half time whistle ends the experience and we toddle off to the far end to await the second half. The second half starts with MR Annoying PA man not only playing music RIGHT up to the resumption of the action, but then hollering “Gaaaaame ON!” just as the ref blows his whistle.
Yes, we’d noticed. What do you think this is mate? Fucking ice hockey?
It seems the lads are just as irritated by this as we are, as within 60 seconds of the restart, we’re right back in the game. A good ball out left finds Akuamouah in quite a bit of space and he makes the most of it, advancing towards the byeline before pulling it back across goal. Ekoku misses out at the near post but Watkins in the centre makes no mistake, spectacularly ‘kneeing’ an effort past the ‘keeper and into the corner of the net.
Naturally, as is traditional in these circumstances, we jump about a bit. Let’s get at ’em now lads!!
The goal gives the boys confidence and seems to cause the home side to sit a little bit deeper. This allows us to start playing a bit more and getting our runners going off the ball. And on 52 minutes, a glorious opportunity for a quickfire equaliser arrives.
A ball down the left is received by Ekoku out on the touchline. Faced with 2 defenders, he simply dinks the ball between them and ghosts past as if they weren’t there. With loads of time, space and men tearing up in support, all he has to do is square the ball and a goal should be the result. Unfortunately, no one’s told Danny the plan and with a sight of goal, he lashes a wild effort across the face of goal and out for a throw in on the far side. Bollocks.
Composure sunshine, composure.
Still, we manage to retain control of proceedings, keeping the home side mostly pinned back. And it’s not until the 64th minute, they again threaten. A rare foray forwards brings a free-kick out on the right. It’s swung in towards the near post and is met with a very deft header, but big Phil is down quickly to smother the danger.
Despite tons of possession, we’re not really creating much in the way of chances and it’s not until the first home fans start heading for the FA Cup tickets queue with around 15 to go, do we really threaten again.
Again, Eddie gets himself free on the left and plays a ball into the channel for Watkins. He leaves his marker, the no2, completely for dead and cuts infield. Unfortunately, like Ekoku a bit earlier, with 2 men unmarked 12 yards out in the centre, he instead elects for glory and hits a wild effort miles over the target.
Fucks sake lads. Head up, have a look and make it count eh? You’re playing 6th tier football for a fucking reason. What makes it all the worse is that this is exactly how we’ve scored the one goal we currently have. It clearly works, so how about repeating it??
Still, we keep plugging away, although it’s looking more & more like the home side are going to hang on for the win as we begin to tire a little.
The left continues to be our most productive outlet and Ed once more causes problems down that side on 78 mins, skipping past his man and playing a low cross in, but it’s cut out by a defender before it can reach the waiting Watkins.
Still, we retain most of the possession right to the end, but despite it, there’s not many opportunities being created and most of us have accepted that an equaliser probably won’t come, half accepting a narrow defeat, until the final minute, when the ref spoils an otherwise solid performance when he awards a free-kick right on the edge of the box for a ‘Muff man falling over his own feet as Patsy goes to make a challenge.
Naturally, the big lump no5 thumps it through a crowded box, getting a deflection off the end of the U’s wall and squirming past a wrong footed Wilson.
Now, 2-1 they just about deserved. But 3? Bit of a piss take that.
It’s all but the last action of the game and we give the lads a deserved ovation, before having to put up with more local kiddywinks and their Soccer AM fixation on the way round to the bar. Still, with the game over, now we can turn our attention to the real purpose of these trips.
We enjoy a good chat with some of the locals and inspect their tickets for the FA Cup tie up at Notts Forest with mild envy, some of us recalling our own little adventure up there some 11 years ago on the other side of the river Trent at County’s Meadow Park.
Once again, we’re all but the last people left in the bar come 7 and we decide now would be a good time to head back to the B&B for a quick change and head out onto the town. By 8.30, we’re changed, fed and starting on the ‘watered’ bit. The night starts slowly, as we head over the bridge to a recommended ‘hot-spot’, Hope Square.
Sadly, it’s about as busy as Colston Avenue at 3pm on a Saturday. And about as lively. So after almost an hour and Jeff and I have demolished all comers at table football, we head back to more familiar territory back over the bridge.
Many many venues come and go before we settle for a while in a place called ‘Dusk’. It’s ok, but not great. Thankfully, a pissed Windy provides plenty of entertainment by trying to emulate Jeff’s strange bendy arm behind his neck drinking trick. Naturally, more of the drink ends up down Windy’s shirt than in his mouth. Which is funny for us, less so for Windy.
The evening eventually ends in a place called ‘Harrys’, which looks at first glance to be a complete reconstruction of our own ‘Alley Cats’ back home, albeit full of Devon accents. But, after a few more drinks on top of the barrel full already imbibed, it’s not so bad. And the music is certainly miles better than Alley Cats too.
As is customary with a trip to these parts, the beach has to be visited on the way back to the B&B. And a couple of daft photos are added to the already large collection of daft photos of us lot away on the piss.
Right, I’m off to bed. Got a mini-golf tournament to win in the morning!
Breakfast is the usual affair, with everyone staggering down at the last moment and looking like poo whilst devouring toast and whatever else we can get our hands on. Chalmers adds a slightly surreal moment to the first meal of the day, by sheepishly admitting to the landlady that he’d kindly put a couple of her clocks back for her when we’d rolled in the wee small hours.
Bollocks. That’s another B&B off the list for next year then!
Can we go and play mini golf now please?
MAN OF THE MATCH – Craig Watkins. Good to see him back with a goal. More please!
ENTERTAINMENT – 8. Very good game. Deserved more from it than we got………..
TEAM : Wilson, Gray, Scarborough, Palmer, Gonsalves, Akuamouah, Quinton, Cornwall, Ekoku, Watkins SUBS : Elliot, Rivers, Adams