Att : 331
BOGNOR REGIS TOWN – 0
SUTTON UNITED – 0
Ah! At last! Finally, after much waiting and a couple of disappointments, we finally get to go to Bognor for the weekend.
Taking recent events into account, the crew are understandably well up for this one. Having not had much to shout about recently, the opportunity to well & truly let our hair down whatever the result is most welcome.
There are strict protocol governing such trips and the first means the meet at East Croydon is an early one. And for a change, we’re quite mob handed this time out. Mr & Mrs Greek are in attendance, Mr & Mrs C, Belly, Windy, yours truly and DS brings along Mrs DS.
Windy gets the days verbal abuse going nicely with his choice of luggage, a rather fetching little flight bag on wheels with a retractable handle. C’mon Gareth, own up, it’s a girls bag isn’t it??
Strangely enough, he refuses Belly’s request to “Extend the handle and mince for me!”.
The second protocol also states that Greek shall bring along a large tupperware box of his now legendary Vodka Jelly. It’s a special one this time to, as he goes for a ‘3-layered-traffic-light’ effort. And barely 10 minutes into the journey, it’s already being dished up.
DS has also kindly supplied a feckload of assorted booze to keep the mob happy on the journey down. Most of us have seen some of it before, having taken it to the DS’s engagement do at their place last year.
Oh well, waste not want not I say.
The trip down is uneventful, with several games of cards helping to keep everyone amused and no-one even minds the brief stop in Barnham to seperate the train. Then, before we know it, raspberry beer in hand, we’re stumbling off the train in Bognor Regis and a further 10 minute stagger later (livened up by Windy’s effeminate luggage), we’ve located our B&B. It’s a nice place and looks most adequate for the purpose we require.
Ie. For staggering back to and collapsing at some ungodly hour of Sunday morning.
Again, Belly and I are lumped together and we head up to the ‘penthouse’ to dump our bags (Or the ‘room at the top of the stairs’ as the ladlady called it. Bah! No class some people!). Having possession of the key means I’m through the door first and am able to get the crucial first dibs on the beds. I decide the nice double in the corner looks comfier than the single by the door and inform Mr Bell of my choice in the customary manner. By flinging myself onto the pit in question whilst calling “Myyyyy Beeeeed!” as loudly as possible.
Like a true sportsman, he takes his misfortune well.
Well, actually, he doesn’t. And he proceeds to call me several unpleasant names. But then again, I’d have done the same in his position, so there’s no hard feelings. I think.
With the ‘ginger suite’ settled, it’s back downstairs to rondezvous with the others and head off into the fair town of Bognor for a leisurely afternoons beering it up.
First stop is the Unicorn, last visited 2 seasons ago when I was somewhat hampered by Greek and Windy being incredibly hungover from their Xmas do’s the night before. They were so hungover in fact, that they spent much of the first hour engaging in a staring contest with 2 pints of lager top. Today, there is no such hesitation.
The conversation is livened up by the owner of the establishment, who to put it bluntly, looks like he quite happily owns lots of the sort of luggage Windy has brought with him today. He proceeds to tell us of a pub he’s purchased in Pontypool which has a name he is completely unable to pronounce and his idea of changing it to ‘The poofs place’.
Quite how anyone refrains from the blatantly obvious ‘Little Britain’ line at this moment amazes me.
Next up, it’s the ‘Waterloo’ and a friend of Mrs DS, who lives locally, joins the party for a drink or two. Scoff is ordered and a couple of pints later, it’s off to ‘Cheers’ opposite for a bit of nostalgia for ol’ Taz. This being the site of two quite frankly disgraceful pissups back in the early 90’s.
I’m further cheered by the amount of rock stuff on the jukebox and proceed to annoy almost all present with some Ozzy Osbourne tracks. Although the choice of a Slipknot number is a genuine accident that has the pleasing side affect of annoying the fuck out of Greek.
Cabs are then ordered and we head off to Nyewood Lane to ruin our afternoon with some football.
Still, there’s time to have a cheeky half in the bar beforehand while we find out the team news. The only change is predictably the return of Mark Watson. But with Dougas & Cornwall both keeping their places, we have to try & work out just what system we’ll be playing.
Happily for the more thirsty amongst us, we elect towards the open end of the ground in the first half, meaning the bar is never more than 10 seconds walk away.
The match itself starts slowly and it’s not until the 11th minute that I have the ol’ pad out to do some scribbling. The home side winning a corner out on the left. It’s played in to the near post, nodded on and finds a somewhat unmarked Bognor man at the far post. Fortunately, Wilson is alert and blocks the effort, but he still needs the assistance of Palmer to make sure the loose ball doesn’t find it’s way into the net.
A somewhat less than auspicious start methinks.
And so it proves. THe home side are soon completely in control of proceedings, with the U’s failing to really create any forward momentum at all with the attacking trio of Watson, Cornwall and Douglas hardly getting a sniff. Despite dominating, the home side have to wait until the 31st minute to seriously threaten again and once more it’s a left sided corner ot the near post that causes the problem. This time the header flashing just over the crossbar.
A seriously dull first half is livened up though when I pop down to the barrier to attend to one of the flags, which is flapping around in the stiff breeze. As I tie it back in place, a gentleman nearby informs me “You’re a knobend mate”
Why thank you! And if anyone is going to know what constitutes a knobend, I reckon it’d definitely be someone wearing a Crystal Palace hat. What’s that on your head by the way??
Shortly after, lunch arrives in the form of Bognor’s infamous ‘Premier’ burger. And it doesn’t disappoint. I could drink 100% proof Vodka solidly for the next week and this bad boy would soak the lot up. In fact, I can feel my arteries hardening with every bite.
Halfway through this monster bit of junk food, our first sight of goal comes & goes. A rare bit of good build up down the centre of the field eventually ends with a ball up to Douglas in the left hand channel. He steps round a challenge, but snatches at the shot from just inside the box and it flies just over the bar.
We only have to wait a couple more minutes for another moment in front of goal, but again, it’s off target. This time the build up is down the right before Gray plays a pass infield to the edge of the box for Conroy. But his low effort skids away from the near post.
But it’s a brief respite as the home side are soon in charge again and it’s only down to Phil Wilson that we go into the break level. With half-time upon us, a pass out to our left finds a Rocks man in a bit of space. He tries his luck from around 25 yards, hitting a fierce drive that seems to swerve all over the place in the wind and it takes a superb change of direction from the Sutton stopper to prevent a goal. His work isn’t done though and he has to be back on his feet immediately to beat away the follow up effort from inside the box.
We hold out though and despite another left sided corner being headed over right on the whistle, we manage to head in goalless at the break.
Despite the cold, I decide to head round to the far end and get the flags up. Besides, someone will no doubt bring me a beverage out at the start of the second half!
Sutton start the second 45 in slightly brighter fashion and 10 minutes in, a throw in from the left finds it’s way to Paul Honey. But he drives his shot over the target from 20 yards out. Bognor’s response follows soon after, again Wilson has to block an effort at his far post after a sweeping ball from right to left has opened up the U’s defence.
The match though still fails to inspire, especially from our point of view. Although we do manage to be more involved in the second half, we fail miserably to seriously test the home ‘keeper. A good chance comes our way when a rare mistake at the back lets Eddie in down the left and he pulls the ball back from the byeline. Ug arrives near post, but his shot is blocked and the defence manage to clear before Watson or Cornwall can make anything of the loose ball.
Our hosts come a lot closer a couple of minutes later with a raid down the right. The cross in finding a man at the near post, but his strike comes off the outside of the upright and out for a goalkick.
Jay Conroy is again one of our busier players and displays little too much commitment on 68 mins, chasing down an almost certain lost cause, he manages to pull the ball back from the byeline, only to slide into the perimeter railings with both his legs going somehow going between the bars. Needless to say, it looks pretty painful and it takes him a minute or so to extract himself.
To make matters worse, Cornwall is unble to convert the chance at the back post and diverts the ball wide of the target under pressure from a defender.
Slowly, the game drifts towards the inevitable bore draw, but if anyone’s going to nick it, it’s the hosts. Their play is just that bit more certain and far more decisive. And on 78 minutes a quick break down the right results in a ball into the box, but the Rocks man hooks his shot inches over the target. And to be honest, thats about it for the 90 minutes. Or should I say 89, as while we stand awaiting the last couple of minutes of injury time, the ref blows up for time!
Hang on mate, I make that 3 minutes short! And even the scoreboard above our heads reads 89 minutes.
So, back to the bar and the warm we start the evenings festivities at a nice lesuirely pace, spending some time over a few drinks chatting to the locals and half watching the football on one tv and the Rugby on another. To Windy’s delight, England have their customary catastrophe against the Jocks at Murrayfield, but he soon shuts up when luggage is mentioned. But eventually it’s time to head out and hit he bright lights of Bognor Regis.
After some scoff in possibly the most expensive chippy in the world, the local Wetherspoons provides a cheap start to the evening, before we head off back to the Waterloo and once again meet up with Mrs DS’s local mates. A few drinks and some cheesy rubbish on the jukebox gets everyone in the mood for more of the same over the road at the club on the pier.
Fast forward to after 3 and we stagger out into the cold night air to be greeted by what seems like half of Sussex constabulary!
Erm, I’m not in the slightest bit drunk officer and I will be walking, not staggering, back to the B&B fortwith. Hic.
With that, Greek and his missus see one of the locals off home and in search of Windy who’s disappeared with the other! We meanwhile head off home to bed and on the way, I hatch my own plan for a cup of tea when I get there.
The following morning, Belly and I manage to stumble down just in time for breakfast. I find myself sat opposite a clearly still rather pissed Windy, who is having great difficulty managing the dual tasks of staying in his seat and eating a bowl of Weetabix. Greek seems marginally more ‘with it’ but not by much. He regales us with the story of some beef & onion pie throwing the night before.
Needless to say, neither are much competition in the mini-golf as they proceed to either cock about on each hole or moan about how cold and hungover they are.
I dunno, youngsters these days…….
MAN OF THE MATCH : Phil Wilson. Kept us in a game. AGAIN!
ENTERTAINMENT : 4. Pretty poor really. We were never really in it to be honest……
TEAM : Wilson, Scarborough, Palmer, Conroy, Gonsalves, Honey, Akuamouah, Douglas, Gray, Cornwall, Watson SUBS : Gordon, Adams, Carew, Boosey, Emberson
THE REFEREE’S………once more, warranted no abuse from our good selves. Although everyone seemed pretty certain he’d blown up a coupld of minutes early at the end. Then again, he could’ve added on a couple of weeks, let alone a couple of minutes and we’d never have scored.