Att : 495
SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Akuamouah 16. Cornwall 28]
EASTBOURNE BOROUGH – 0
Strange. Can anyone tell me quite why all of a sudden, after weeks of sitting about & doing fuck all on Tuesday nights, we’ve suddenly out of the blue been given a midweek game? Admittedly, it’s been nice to come in, relax and more importantly catch the CSI double bill on Channel 5 the last few weeks, but why couldn’t we have played this one in early-ish September?
Seems a bit daft to me really. Then again, after the way we played in September, I’m sure playing as few times as possible that month would’ve was actually preferable thinking about it.
Attendance at the pub is sparse. Gareth decides to head straight to the club after work and Greek is somewhere on the A3 following a visit to his gym. Resigned to the best part of an hour in the boozer on my jack jones, DS strolls in. Aha! Company!
Chalmers & Mrs C arrive with enough time to spare to allow them to chuck a short down their necks and we head for the ground. Surprisingly for a Tuesday night, the car park is chocka and there’s actually a queue of people at the turnstiles! Bloody hell. And on a Chumpions League night as well. Oh, hang on. Chelsea are playing on SKY tomorrow aren’t they? That’ll be it then.
PC has trouble parking legitimately and instead chooses to ‘create’ a spot himself, lobbing his motor into the first PC motor sized gap he sees, which allows us to make it through the gate just before kick off.
The side remains unchanged from Saturday’s impressive win and naturally, we’re hoping this brings us another 3 very welcome points. Another nice point is the fact the visitors fans have been firmly told that their drumkit isn’t welcome due to the club not wanting to piss our neighbours off at the GGL end. Still, considering they only know one actual note, it’s no big loss. Their playing style is more slumber than samba if you ask me.
But, even without the banging to back ‘em, the visitors make a brisk start to the evenings proceedings, testing the U’s defence in the 2nd minute. A free-kick is played into the box from deep on the left and is knocked back across goal where it’s met with a fierce drive and zips just wide of the target with the help of a deflection it seems as the ref signals for a corner. Boro are obviously out to test us early and Sutton struggle to find their feet in the face of the early onslaught, with the visitors moving the ball forwards at pace. On 7 mins, a huge goalkick bounces just outside the box to the left and when the 2 U’s defenders lose sight of it momentarily, it drops invitingly for the red shirted forward lurking near them. But his first time effort dips over the target.
Soon after, a sweeping move down our left ends with a very dangerous low ball across the 18 yard box, but Gonsalves is on hand to slide in and cut the ball out, preventing it from 2 waiting red shirts behind him. A minute later, Sutton finally find their feet and their first real chance arrives. Eddie breaks down the left, but finds his path blocked. He lays off to Ekoku who turns into the box before slipping the ball to the left for Pitcher up in support. But the midfielder can’t quite get a clean crack at the ball and clips his effort over the target from 10 yards. Soon after, Gonsalves departs injured and is replaced by Alexis Charalmbous with Quinton dropping into defence.
Pitcher’s chance seems to be the foot in the door we need and on our next serious foray forwards we take the lead, albeit somewhat against the run of play.
A ball down the right finds Gray. There then follows a mesmerisingly quick exchange of passes back & forth over only several yards between him, Ekoku and Charalambous which ends with a defender allowing the ball to run between his legs. It’s all the cue Gray needs to nip in and drill a low ball to the near post for Akuamouah to apply the most delicate of touches and the ball clips off the diving ‘keeper, dropping into the far corner of the net.
Not bad! That’ll do for starters.
Undeterred, Boro almost hit back immediately. A free-kick within 60 seconds is swung in from the left and picks out the unmarked and diving no3. But his powerful header from around 8 yards out is superbly saved by Wilson diving to his left. From here on, the U’s start to assume control of the match and slowly start to wear down the oppo. Gray fires a warning shot on 25 mins, cutting in after a pass from Pitcher and firing narrowly wide of the near post. But a couple of minutes later, it’s his corner that leads to the U’s doubling their advantage.
A brilliant ball from midfield picks out the surging run of Pitcher and his quality first touch gives him the opportunity to skip round the ‘keeper and slip the ball goalwards from a very narrow angle, but a defender rescues the situation by getting back in time to prod the ball off the line and out for a corner.
That corner that Gray swings in from the left is touched on at the near post and drops at the feet of Cornwall 8 yards out. He turns smartly and slips the ball into the corner of the net to make it 2-0. His celebration takes him towards the fans on the Collingwood Terrace, but our celebrations are curtailed slightly as Luke goes to remove his shirt again…
“YEAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Keep it on!!!! Baaaaad! Get boooooking!”
Thankfully, the U’s top scorer seems to get the message and settles for briefly pulling it over his head instead! With the U’s 2 up, a pretty dull period follows. Neither side really doing anything noteworthy, let alone create any chances until just before the half time break.
With 5 minutes to play, the pacy Odubade misses a god opportunity when a cross in from the left is helped on and finds him at the back post, but he shins his first time effort weakly across the face of Wilson’s goal from a very good position. Then a couple of minutes later, a clever flick inside by Pitcher on the left touchline from a deep pass finds Cornwall free between 2 defenders. But he snatches at the effort and hits his shot straight at the ‘keeper, when he had a bit more time to steady himself and pick his spot. The second half starts in a much more subdued fashion than the first and it takes until just before the hour mark for anything worth noting comes along!
Gray plays a wonderful 50 yard ‘hollywood’ pass (have we still not confiscated that Beckham video??) from right to left. A defender can’t quite reach to cut it out and Cornwall is away. But his first touch isn’t the best and takes him a little wide, which makes the ‘keeper’s job in blocking his shot a bit easier. But it still takes a defender sweeping up the loose ball to prevent it from squirming over the line.
Eastbourne come back into the match more after the hour, Odubade getting through onto a pass into the left channel, but while his shot has in pure power, it lacks in direction and flashes across Wilson’s goal and out for a throw in on the far side. Another chance comes their way on 71 minutes and again it’s from a free-kick. Once more swung in deep from the right, it’s headed back across goal. But the free red shirted player in the centre directs his own header straight into the arms of Wilson on his goal-line.
Ekoku, still looking for his first goal in a U’s shirt is presented with a great chance with about 6 minutes to play when he sprints clear onto a long ball nodded on by Cornwall. But his final touch is far too heavy and allows the ‘keeper a relatively simple save at his feet in the box.
But Sutton see out the last few minutes comfortably and collect another 3 points to go with their 7th clean sheet of the season. Fuck me! Us? 7 matches from 11 without conceeding a goal? Naaaaaaaaaah!
Confused, we get back into Chalmers motor and return to the Hood for a celebratory nightcap and try to work out what exactly is going on.
Good job we’ve got a week off next Saturday. I think I need a lie down.
MAN OF THE MATCH – John Scarborough. Won everything in the air. Immense performance.
ENTERTAINMENT – 7. Solid at the back and took the chances that came our way. 3 more points!
TEAM : Wilson, Gray, Scarborough, Palmer, Gonsalves, Akuamouah, Pitcher, Quinton, Cornwall, Ekoku SUBS : Adams, Charalambous
THE REFEREE’S………again, another fairly quiet performance from the man in the middle. Only complaint I can think of is his finger wagging for a couple of naughty challenges in the first half. Then he books Ekoku for kicking the ball away. Ho hum, could be worse I s’pose……….