Att : 1053
BOBBINS – 0
SUTTON UNITED – 0
My doesn’t time fly. It only seems like a couple of weeks ago the season got underway and yet here we are, at Xmas already, with virtually half the games played. And Xmas means only one thing.
No no, not turkey. Or that fat bloke with a beard in a red suit. It’s derby time!
Usually, the matches are pretty eagerly anticipated by at least one side of the Borough. Although this year seems a little different. We’ve had our well documented dreadful couple of months, capped with those utterly miserable cup exits to Uxbridge & Chipstead and the Bobbins have had, well, a somewhat even less than enjoyable campaign so far. In that they only picked up their first league win at the 17th attempt a fortnight ago.
Still, despite this triggering a sudden mini-run of form with 4 wins in 5 and new striker Luke Fontana knocking ‘em in for fun, you don’t get the impression that the Bobbins really believe that they can end a dreadful run of derby results. And nor do we if we’re honest.
Still, a short stroll to the Windsor Castle with Chalmers & Mrs C finds Greek already attacking a pint when we arrive. Millsy & Windy arrive soon after and the Scots fellow is not so keen as the fat bloke, as having stumbled in at 4am this morning, his lack of enthusiasm for that first measure of Carling is somewhat understandable.
Others arrive and everyone passes on seasons greetings and catches up with activities over the festive period as well as swapping the usual bollocks chatter. But, all too soon, it’s time to sup up and head for the Bobbins nearby hovel.
JR’s line up is exactly the same as the one that faced and beat Hayes a couple of weeks back, with the only change coming on the bench, with Quinton replacing Chabaan. It’s surprising as it’s probably the first time we’ve named an unchanged starting line up since the end of August.
From the off, neither side really seems to get going and play is a little disjointed. The home side have the first opening, getting the ball down the left where their man holds off Gonsalves and cross low into the box, but it’s wasted as there’s no-one there to connect with the pass.
Sutton take a while to build up any sort of momentum, the 2 weeks off unsurprisingly having left the lads a bit rusty. On 14 minutes though, Gray stretches the Scummers defence latching onto a ball through out on the left. His low early ball across is just a touch ahead for Douglas and the stretching forward can’t quite make contact in the middle.
The U’s pattern is upset after about 20 mins when Gonsaves limps off to be replaced by Elliott, who joins the ever growing list of players to have participated in this contest for both sides and incidentally scored for the Bobbins in the corresponding fixture last season. One the other way would be very nice thank you Gary. Both sides are making plenty of mistakes, with misplaced passes all over the pitch. One such pass from Hughes in the oppo half sets up a quick break down the left, but the low cross is eventually cut out by Elliott. Danger averted.
Our first decent sight of goal comes with a few minutes left in the half. A short corner on the left sees Hughes hold the ball, before stepping outside his man and delivering a teasing cross to the back post. Gray gets up highest, but his header hits the back of the floundering ‘keeper and goes out for a corner. Although the linesman on this side decides it’s a goal kick, earning himself an Xmas earful from the U’s fans along the touchline.
Despite the disjointed nature of proceedings, it’s the home side who get the best chance of the half right at the end of the half, another poor pass in midfield gives away possession, Fear being the culprit this time and sets up another counterattack, again down the left. This time the low centre picks out it’s target, the no8. But his effort isn’t cleanly struck and Wilson makes a comfortable save to his right.
So, an uninspiring 1st 45 minutes ends. It’s a little disappointing to be honest. We’ve had games in the past where the fare on the pitch wasn’t exactly good, but today just seems, well, a little flat all round. There’s a few less bodies in here than normal and even our efforts to get some atmosphere going are in vain and not once in the first half do we hear any raised voices in response from the Bobbins end. Very strange.
The second half starts more positively, with the U’s on the offensive from the off. Gray driving forward into space from the left & testing the ‘keeper from 25 yards with a dipping effort that he has to push over the bar. The resulting corner is delivered low to the near post, where Scarborough stretches to hook it onto the target, forcing a scrambling save from the ‘keeper and another corner.
Yet another corner comes a few minutes later and Fear plays it in. It’s cleared only a few yards outside the box and played back to Fear on the right. He again plays it into the box, this time a high hanging cross towards the back post. It looks a simple catch for the ‘keeper but at a crucial moment, he slips and ends up on his arse. Only for the ball to drop straight into his arms with Eddie stood over him waiting to seize up any opportunity.
You lucky lucky bastard!
On the hour, another piece of direct running brings another free-kick out of the under pressure Scummers defence on the edge of their 18 yard box. Fear lays the ball off to Gray and his goalbound effort is deflected, allowing the defence to momentarily clear their lines. But the ball is put straight back into the danger area, finding Fear all alone behind the backline pushing up for offside. His turn & shot from close range brings another good save from the ‘keeper.
Sutton are by now on top, but without really ever exerting any sort of complete control over proceedings. Still, we press on. On 63 minutes, Gray holds a ball up well on the edge of the box to the left, before laying it off to Fear. His pass into the left channel picks out the run of Douglas, but he tries to hit it with his favoured right foot from the angle and puts the shot just into the side netting.
A couple of minutes later, another chance comes Douglas’ way. Again he gets into the channel on the left behind the defence. But once more, hits his effort wide of the near post.
Probably our best chance comes with a little under 15 minutes to play, when a clever piece of play sends Hughes clear on the left. But as he bears down on goal inside the box, a dreadful touch takes the ball away from him and the chance is gone.
The Bobbins introduce a couple of subs and start to claw their way back into the contest. For the final 10 mins, they press hard to try & snatch a result. But despite plenty of possession in the final third and a number of corners & free-kicks in good positions, the U’s defence holds firm and the only nervy moment is when a shot from the left is deflected and spins across goal.
Sutton have the last shout though and with a bit of better luck could have nicked all 3 points themselves. With time almost up, Hughes takes a free-kick quickly and sends Gray away on the right. He hits an early low drive from just inside the box that looks a comfortable save for the ‘keeper, but he spills the ball and watches it squirm under him before rebounding off the foot of the post and back into his arms and not to the lurking Cornwall next to him.
You’ve ridden your luck a touch today haven’t you, you jammy fucker?!
Disappointingly, it’s the last chance of the match and we have to settle with a point. The cheers from the home fans at the final whistle says it all really. Still 0-0 is probably an apt scoreline for one of the flattest derbies I think we’ve seen in years.
We head back to the Windsor for a couple of beers before they close. Flicking through the programme, we come across a couple of delightful little cheap shots. One being a ‘quiz’, of which the first question asks how many cup competitions we remain in. Then there’s the Xmas ‘messages’ section. Which in itself isn’t that bad a way to use up a couple of pages. Sadly, a couple of Scummers have decided to use it to have a pop at us rather than for what it was intended.
Naturally, we’re delighted they’re still quite caught up in what’s going on down at GGL recently. ‘Cos there’s certainly fuck all happened at Coldsore this year. Happy Centenary losers.
The highlight of the day comes when strolling home. Deciding I can’t be arsed to cook, I pop into a reputable pizza establishment for some scoff. The bloke behind the counter screws up my order and proceeds to do me a large instead of the required medium pizza. Still, he lets me have it for the same price and I trot off home happily to scoff the lot.
A large Meat Feast pizza for the price of a medium. Certainly better and more rewarding than an afternoon at Colston Avenue, that’s for sure.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Matt Gray. Probably our best option up front.
ENTERTAINMENT : 5. Poor game. Very flat for a derby clash
TEAM : Wilson, Conroy, Scarborough, Palmer, Gonsalves, Gray, Honey, Douglas, Hughes, Fear, Akuamouah. SUBS : Quinton, Castledine, Gordon, Elliott, Cornwall
THE REFEREE’S A………largely ok, but typically fussy. First card was naturally for dissent after several silly challenges had gone unpunished. Much the same in the second half. Not great, but we’ve had a lot lot worse.