Same Old Story

CONFERENCE SOUTH

Att : 460



SUTTON UNITED – 0

BASINGSTOKE TOWN – 1    [McKay 26]

Is anyone else really really fucking bored of this crap yet???

No, I’m not talking about the match reports on here, I’m referring to our teams utter inability to er…..well, to even remotely resemble a football team.

Sure, they wear the shirts and stuff. But they’ve not quite got the hang of what to do with the round white thing yet. And as for the other 11 blokes out there with ’em, well, that’s just confusing the poor loves.

Once again, last weeks ‘improved’ performance at Farnborough proved to be the umpteenth false dawn of what is rapidly becoming a less than satisfactory season.

Not for the first time did we seem to have ‘turned the corner’ (or in this case, at least look like we knew where the fucking corner was) only to turn in an utterly abysmal 90 minutes 7 days later.

As you may be aware, watching the U’s sober isn’t exactly a bundle of laughs normally, but when they’re playing like this, you really shouldn’t be allowed in the ground unless under the influence of alcohol. If only to preserve your sanity.

Well, thanks to some important little errands that morning, I eventually roll into the hood at gone half 2. And have just missed the rest of the crew departing for the ground.  Oh well, pint please!

Beverage necked, I decide to head on down to the ground.

My arrival at 10 to 3 brings a bit of a shock. Walking through the turnstiles, it’s painfully obvious that the number of people currently populating the terraces of Gander Green Lane wouldn’t look out of place at your average Yeading or Thurrock home game. If there’s more than 150 in here at the moment, then I’m the next England manager.

Only adding to the depressing air is the 30-40 Basingstoke fans stood on the corner terrace on the stand side. That means at the mo, there’s a shade over 100 U’s fans in the ground with 10 minutes to kick off.

Belly walks past and we stroll round to the Shoebox. Typically, Patsy chooses to shoot the other way and we end up walking back whence we came to the Rec end.

The side is fairly unchanged from last week. In fact the only change is Fear dropping to the bench (obviously still not 100% after his hamstring injury) and he’s replaced by new man Jones AWuah who partners Steve Douglas in attack.

Our guests start the brighter, but both sides struggle to get to grips with the frankly dreadful surface, finding it hard to control passes. Considering we’ve not had any rain recently, would it not have been a good idea to run a roller over the frigging thing??? At least it’d be level for the first 20 minutes or so…..

Basingstoke make the most of the terrible opening period and after 11 minutes, create their first chance. A run through the centre leads to a shot from the edge of the box to the left. It’s deflected by a U’s defender trying to block the effort and loops up & over Wilson, just dropping over the crossbar at the expense of a corner.

After a few minutes, we manage to carve out an opening of our own. Conroy again shows good heart out on the right and battles to win the ball back. His pass inside finds Awuah, who smartly turns his man. But a defender covers and gets in ahead of him to prevent a shot.

The resulting corner is poorly cleared, and is headed back into the danger area. It looks a comfortable take for ex-Bobbin Stuart Searle in the visitors box, but true to form he drops the catch under pressure and a defender has to come to his rescue, clearing the loose ball.

From here on in, the visitors pretty much take over proceedings. Our cause isn’t helped with Douglas limping off, to be replaced with Cornwall.

On 20 mins, a deep cross from the left picks out a man at the far post, who’s got away from Conroy. But his diving header, zips just a fraction wide of the upright.

26 minutes gone and a nice reverse pass into the right channel sends an attacker clear of our leaden footed defence. But despite the good position, he fires a rising drive over the target. We can see from the far end that Wilson hasn’t got a touch, yet the ref awards a corner.

Hmmmm……

That set piece comes to nothing, but a couple of minutes later, the moment we’ve been dreading arrives. A crap fre-kick is conceeded 20 yards out and in a carbon copy of last week, the ball is swung effortlessly up and over the wall and beyond Wilson into the top corner.

Hands up who thinks we’ll get that back then???

Ooooh, no-one.

Things get worse as now Awuah hobbles off, taking with him our only real hope of getting close to a bloody goal. Sean Rivers comes into midfield, with Ed pushing up front.

On the half-hour mark, quite how Basingstoke fail to double the advantage is a mystery. The defence backs off a opponent, allowing him to travel deep into our half with the ball. His cross from the right picks out a team-mate at the far post and his free-header flashes across the goal. It looks pretty bloody close to us from the far end of the ground, but judging from the anguished reaction of another Basingstoke man (again, unmarked), it’s even closer than we thought.

The remainder of the half is a depressing mess, with the U’s failing to even register a half reasonable attempt on the visitors goal and Basingstoke cruise into the break virtually untroubled.

So, another utterly dire 45 minutes gone, we head for the bar. Although I doubt they serve anything quite strong enough to dull the utter shite we’re bound to witness in the next 45.

Surprisingly, we actually come out and show a bit at the start of the second half. But then again, after the first, that’s really not that hard.

3 minutes after the restart though, it’s the visitors who less surprisingly, create the first chance.

The U’s midfield goes AWOL and the visitors spread the ball out right, finding their man in just a tad too much space for our liking. He cuts in and hits a shot goalwards that is deflected and loops up into the air. It looks for all the world like the arriving ‘Stoke man in the middle will nod in, but Wilson arches his back and manages to tip the ball away to the far side.

Our first shot on target arrives on 53 minutes. A free-kick is won around 20-25 yards out. Despite the non-existant efforts of the ref to ensure the wall has retreated more than 5 yards despite vehement protests from U’s players, it’s laid off the left and Boosey drills a shot in, straight at Searle between the posts.

Another free-kick follows a minute later, this time Paul Honey lines it up, seemingly pissed off with all the usual fannying about. His effort is charged down by the wall, but eventually comes back out to Scarborough. But his low shot through the crowd lacks the sufficient oomph to beat Searle and he smothers the shot on his line.

From here on in, the visitors have a very comfortable ride to the final whistle as we fail to threaten even once for the last 25 minutes or so.

Naturally, the only other moments of action are in and around our penalty area. One just after the hour mark with a ball up to the edge of the 18 yard box, is cheekily backheeled along the edge and the shot through a crowd of players is well held by Wilson.

Then with about 10 to play, another poor ball into the ‘Stoke box is easily cleared, setting up a counter-attack. Palmer hesitates and neither closes down the man with the ball or calls for the pacy Gordon to do it and suddenly a 3 on 2 situation develops. Thankfully, the final effort driven in from the left is straight at Wilson and he holds onto the ball.

Quite frankly relieved to hear the final whistle, we head into the bar for a concillatory pint or 10.

Naturally, the talk turns to the almighty fucking great mess we’re in. And basically everyone we speak to is of the same mind.

Time for a change.

One win in 15 league games is frankly, just not good enough. We’ve currently ‘amassed’ 10 points from 46. Add in the 3 crap cup games and it’s 1 win in 18.

To be honest, the clubs loyalty to it’s manager, who has been such a servant to the club is indeed admirable. But the last time we stuck doggedly with a manager to the bitter end, we went down. And it took us 10 years to come back from that.

In that case though, it just returned us to ‘familiar’ surroundings. Managing to fill one of the 2 relegation spots in this years Conference South (and trust me, we ARE that bad at the moment), we’d not only find ourselves playing at our lowest level for god knows how many years (30? 40?) but in front of crowds that quite frankly make Carshalton’s look positively healthy.

Fucking sort it out and sort it out quick.

MAN OF THE MATCH : No one. Not a single player stood out.

ENTERTAINMENT : 3. Another in a long line of frankly non-existant showings.

TEAM : Wilson, Scarborough, Palmer, Conroy, Elliott, Gonsalves, Honey, Akuamouah, Boosey, Awuah, Douglas   SUBS : Fear, Rivers, Cornwall, Gordon

THE REFEREE’S………couple of frustrating moments, but by and large, we were so fucking awful, he really can’t be blamed for anything. Which is a shame as it might have brightened up another miserable bloody report.

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