Att : 628
SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Gonsalves 87]
LEWES – 5 [Sigere 1. 8. 17. 53. Kennet 40]
Look, it’s no use trying to rub some imaginary sleep from your eyes like it was some sort of bad dream or horrible nightmare. I know, ‘cos I’ve tried! It really did happen like that and yes, We really were that bad.
The evening started in an unassuming enough manner. The usual pre-match pint in the Hood with Bob, Mrs C & Chalmers and then the quick journey to the ground. In fact, it was big smiley faces for some lucky buggers as we finally got our grubby mitts on the long awaited new shirts form Kitz.
Little did we suspect that handing over the best part of 40 quid would be about as enjoyable as the evening would get for some of us.
Changes to the side are minimal for tonight. JR brings Pitcher back into midfield and elects to restore the early season strike partnership of Watkins & Cornwall. Strangely, having signed on for a second months loan from Crawley, Danny Ekoku is nowhere to be seen.
The U’s elect to shoot towards the Collingwood Rec end for the first half and we begin the not uncommon stroll from the Shoebox. By the time we reach the corner by the turnstiles, I look up to see at the far end of the field, the somewhat distressing sight of the ball trickling into the far corner of our net.
Erm, anyone care to elaborate on what the fuck just happened there??
Sadly, it seems everyone I ask has seen just as much of this opening minute disaster as myself and it’s not until I get to speak to Millsy at half time I discover the full story.
Knowing our record this season of coming from behind isn’t that good (IE. We haven’t managed it yet), it’s understandable that confidence in a recovery on the terraces isn’t exactly sky high! Still, if there’s one thing about going 1 down in the first minute, you’ve got 89 minutes to get it back!
The problem is, the visitors have their tails up. And we’re in utter disarray.
Seven minutes gone and things go from bad to worse. A ball forwards to the edge of our 18 yard box is sliced straight into the path of the unmarked no10 on the left and he does well to suspend his shock at this absolute gift and crash a shot past Wilson into the roof of the net from 10 yards out.
Frustratingly, the pace of Watkins goes on to expose a couple of frailties in the visitors defence. Namely they’re very slow. And er…….very slow! As twice he tears away down the flanks, easily outstripping his man for pace. But sadly, either the support is slow to arrive and he has to hold play up, or the final ball is poor.
All the while, Lewes are quite frankly ripping our clueless defence to shreds almost at will. And on 18 minutes it’s no surprise that they add to their lead and effectively end the game as a contest.
Watkins does well to get onto a hoof forwards, but the midfield is lacking and his header infield, like almost everything else we’ve tried so far, goes straight to a red shirt. 2 passes later, the ball is being drilled across the 6 yard box by a completely unmarked player on the right. It’s tucked away in the centre by the no10 for probably the easiest hat-trick anyone anywhere will score. Ever.
By this point, it has to be reported that the excitement of having my nice new home shirt has faded somewhat.
Watkins draws a cynical foul from the Lewes no5 out on the left after mudering him for pace, earning the big centre back a yellow card and 2 minuets later, Gray departs after taking a knock and pretty much all our attacking option disappears with him as Elliot comes on at the back, Eddie goes up front and Watkins drops to the right.
On 34 minutes, our first real effort on goal finally arrives. Akuamouah’s corner from the right is met at the near post by Quinton, but his deft header is a little too high and zips just over the bar. Normally, a miss like that would bring an audible “Ooooooooh!” from the crowd. Not this time. Everyone is just too shell shocked at the pure awfulness of the performance.
Four minutes later, the visitors really should be entering ‘complete rout’ territory. A Sutton free-kick is poorly delivered and easily cleared. Lewes pace in attack once again exposes an already woefully performing defence and a whipped cross from the left is met with a diving header 8 yards out by an utterly unmarked attacker. This time Wilson manages to get down and make a good stop, pushing the effort away. Thankfully, Plamer manages to hold off his man enough to thump the ball to safety out to the right.
Still, it’s a brief respite and the fourth goal inevitably follows. A corner is defended, for once, well and Scarborough chases the ball out to the right with an opponent. He wins out, but instead of taking a touch and getting rid, he weakly prods at the ball, giving it straight back to a red shirt. The ball is instantly played across the edge of the box where it’s fired low back through the crowd. The shot beats Wilson, comes back off the inside of the post, rebounds back off the grounded ‘keeper and presents an easy tap in for the waiting Lewes man.
Almost on cue, it starts pissing down with rain. Not, the usual slow build up of droplets you get that then develops into a shower. Oh no. It just suddenly starts like some Hollywood special effects bloke has turned on some bloody great shower head.
Which pretty much rounds off a fucking dandy old first half.
Mumbling in disgust, I really can’t be arsed to go into the bar, so amble round to the shoebox, discussing the….er…….. ‘events’ we’ve just witnessed.
One theory is that the players are a bit ‘rusty’ after the 2 saturdays off either side of the Weymouth game. Hmmm, maybe. But to me, being a bit ‘rusty’ would cover the 1st goal.
Now, if we could just explain the other bloody three. In the end, I decide to shelter from the rain in the Securicor, where I get Millsy’s run down of that opening goal.
Apparently a big hoof is played forwards into dead space behind the defence. It should be a perfectly simple task for Wilson to leave his goal and claim the loose ball. But, despite urging to that effect from his defence, Phil decides to stay put until it’s far too late.
When he does come out, he’s just beaten to the ball by the opportunist no10 who prods the ball into the unguarded net.
Having heard the details, I’m now not sure I really wanted too.
The second half carries on pretty much where the first left off. Our defence is a bit of a mess and the visitors look like scoring every time they get into our half of the field. Just 5 mins in, the no10 (already with a hat-trick under his belt remember) runs onto a ball played into the left channel. He does well to hold off the attentions of Palmer and with 5-0 looking a formality, drags his effort scruffily wide of the near post.
It’s a brief respite though and just before the hour, he gets his fourth.
Again, we fail miserably to pick up our men or even close down and a pass down the left is in turn played across the edge of the box. Matey has time for a fag and a cuppa before anyone thinks about closing down and his low shot is saved by Wilson. But he can only parry the effort and as the defence stands and watches, the no10 tucks away the fifth.
Anyone got a towel on ‘em?? No? Arse. Erm, any chance of the ref stopping it to save us from more punishment?
No? Ah. Well I’m all out of ideas then! Anyone else got any suggestions?
The Lewes bench come up with a great one and decide to substitute their no10. Thank fuck.
Although one gets the impression this is to give him a rest rather than to save us any further embarrassment. Well, it’s either that or the club have told ‘em we can’t afford to give him TWO match balls…….
Before our chief tormentor departs though, Watkins provides a brief flicker of resistance. A pretty aimless ball forwards on the left drops between a defender and his ‘keeper. In the comfort zone, they hesitate for a second and the U’s man uses his electric pace to zip between ‘em and pinch the ball. But having rounded the ‘keeper an alert defender makes a super last ditch block to prevent a certain goal.
Just about sums up the evening really.
From here on in, the match understandably dies a death. The U’s defence finds the Lewes subs somewhat easier to handle than their first choicers and manage to see out the evening without looking like coneeding another. Which is nice.
Watkins continues to be the only real threat the visitors have to deal with and after one solo run down the right, he superbly turns inside his man, leaving his man for dead. But once again, the support is slow in arriving and the perfectly tee’d up square ball evades Pitcher in the centre.
With time running out, all the game really needs is the customary pointless late consolation………..
And with under 5 to go, Quinton perseveres down on the right and manages to get a cross in. It’s flicked on by Watkins at the near post, looping it over the ‘keeper and leaving another Lewis, Sutton’s Gonsalves to nod into an empty net from under the crossbar.
The ref finally ends the pathetically one-sided affair and we immediately head for the exit and a beer back at the Hood to help drown our sorrows.
Fuck me, that was really really bad…..
MAN OF THE MATCH – Craig Watkins. Only player who looked remotely interested.
ENTERTAINMENT – 2. An unmitigated fucking shambles……..
TEAM : Wilson, Gray,Scarborough, Palmer, Gonsalves, Akuamouah, Pitcher, Quinton, Honey, Watkins, Cornwall SUBS : Castledine, Rivers, Elliot
THE REFEREE’S……….To be perfectly honest, we were THAT bad, I hardly noticed him. Mainly as I was too busy with my head in my hands, trying to avoid watching our ’performance’.