Down Down, Deeper & Down

CONFERENCE SOUTH

Att : 482



SUTTON UNITED – 0

EASTLEIGH – 3    [S.Forbes 7. A.Forbes 26. Town 72]

After the less than stunning performance from the U’s at Histon to herald the arrival of our new management team, we were hoping that 7 more days and 2 more training sessions would help towards getting something from their first home game in charge.

The guys were obviously as impressed as us with the showing in Cambridgeshire and on the Thursday, news filters through that we’ve brought in 3 new faces to try & inject a bit of life into proceedings.

Neil Lampton, a right sided midfielder, comes to us from Walton & Hersham and at first glance, looks a pretty good acquisition. He’s the Swans 1st team skipper and info from other Ryman Premier fans seem to indicate he’s one of the more highly rated players in that league. Also coming in is Simieon Howell, another midfielder, released by Reading in January having held a first team squad number for much of the campaign. Research on him seems to indicate a promising youngster who has come up from the ranks, but not quite broken through.

Finally, the trio is completed by Wes Harrison from Leatherhead. A forward mainly, he’s also played out wide for the Tanners.

In the end, due to much faffing about on many parts, the pre-match drink is had in the club for a change. Hopefully the break in routine will bring a change in luck.

Fat chance!

Unsurprisingly, Hazel gives 2 of the 3 new faces a start this afternoon. Putting Howell in the centre next to Honey and playing Lampton out on the right, pushing Gray up front. There’s no Boosey, Watson or Elliot. Although, whether this is due to injury or that they’re out of favour isn’t clear.The visitors have yo-yo’d a bit this season, starting strongly before dropping to the fringe of the relegation spots, before once again climbing into the top half and they come to GGL in 8th.

Things are quite quiet to begin with, with Sutton taking a few minutes to find their feet and Eastleigh having a bt of the ball, but not really doing much wth it. Then with 7 minutes gone, they try the ploy that gets us every single time.

They attack. The cunning bastards.

A set piece comes in from the right and is half cleared out away to the left around 25-30 yards out. The ball is immediately returned with great accurracy to the far post where the unmarked no8 has the simple task of directing a downward headerpast Emberson and into the net.

Now, generally, leaving a striker unmarked in your box is a bit silly, but leaving Steve Forbes, one of the leagues leading goalscorers competely unmarked in your box really is fucking daft. Everyone around me shakes their head. They, like I, know full well that the game is probably already lost. And again, it’s down to the simple fucking basics of the game not being adhered to.

I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if IH & PH have coached Under-13’s at Fulham’s academy with more bloody footballing nous than this shower…..

A rare foray into the oppositions half follows only 2minutes later though. A ball forward is chased, somewhat unconvincingly may I add, by Howell. He does enough though to distract the defender so that Gray can nip in and put the ball across the box to the far post. But a defender intervenes and pokes the ball out for a corner with Lampton arriving just behind him.

The game slips back into a rather uneventful spell for a while, with the U’s acting out their now customary floundering about like a giraffe in quicksand act and the visitors keeping and moving the ball pretty well, but wthout ever really doing a lot with it.

A rare showing of what we CAN actually do when we put our minds to it comes after 23 minutes. Palmer moves up the right touchline before delivering a lovely ball to the heart of the Eastleigh penalty box. But Gray’s first touch is terrible and the ball pings away from him in a somewhat Watsonesque fashion.

3 minutes later and it’s about time for the oppo to attack and naturally, score again.

Of course, they kindly oblige.

Another goalkick is thumped upfield before being weakly surrendered on halfway. Two or three simple passes to feet later and the ball is worked across goal to an attacker in acres of space in the box out to the left. His low strike on goal is half stopped by Embo, but Gonsalves following up behind makes a complete pigs ear of his touch andonly tee’s it up for another attacker to bundle the ball over the line.

Well, if the game wasn’t already lost, it certainly is now!

Later when talking to Millsy, the howler is compounded by the fact that Lewis needn’t have touched it at all as it was running across goal and heading wide. That figures.

Again the visitors slip into their quiet businessmanlike approach, seemingly already sure that they’ve got this one all but in the bag.

The U’s meanwhile stumble around looking very very shit.

Eastleigh almost seal the win shortly before half-time, when more dreadful defending, this time on the left once more gives the ball away in an advanced area of the field. A simple ball is popped over our now shambolic backline finding he no8 once more with the freedom of the Borough Sports Ground. Thankfully for us, he elects to hit his chance frst time on the volley rather than take advantage of the nearest Sutton defender being in Worcester Park high street and the shot fizzes narrowly wide of the left hand post, bringing an audible ‘Oooooooh!’ from the reasonably sized group of visiting fans on the Securicor terrace.

Ok, fair play, you won that half fair and square. Shall we just call it half time now eh???

No??

Bugger…..

Fortunately we avoid further damage to our goal difference and head down the tunnel just the 2 goals behind. I can’t be arsed wth a half time beverage, mainly as I’ve seen the half times elsewhere. Newport are 1 up in their game (uh oh!) and the Bobbins are level at almost-as-bad-as-Sutton-recently-but-not-quite Hayes (double uh oh!). If things stay the way they are, we are most definitely in the shite.

Instead I head out back into the fresh air to await the no doubt miserable 45 minutes to follow.

Hazel has withdrawn the anonymous Howell at the break and replaced him with Peter Fear. And the equally ineffective Douglas makes way for Harrison.

This at least seems to give us a bit of a lift and from the restart, there’s certainly a bit more life about the side. Although thats not saying much! A couple of minutes in, a ball out right finds Lampton. He gets a good low cross in which the defence gets away, but only as far as Fearo 20 yards out. But his return shot is wide of the far post.

A couple of minutes later, Harrison is making himself busy, chasing down a defender 25 yards out from goal. He tries to play the ball back to his ‘keeper, but it’s woefully underhit and Gray nips in. But, rather than clip the ball first time over the stranded ‘keeper, he holds the ball, cuts inside and the chance is gone.

Still, in a reasonably bright spell, Lampton is becoming more involved. His challenge wins the ball out on the rght and he feeds Gray into the channel. Matt gets to the byeline and pulls the ball back across, but straight into the arms of the ‘keeper at his near post.

Eastleigh seem quite happy to sit and soak up our somewhat weak attempts at attacking and hit on the break. Naturally, their first set piece almost brings a goal. A corner from our left is played deep beyond the far post, where it finds a typically unmarked Eastleigh man. His smart volley on goal brings a good block out of Emberson at that post.

Any lingering hope of getting back into the game is being slowly eroded not only by our stuttering play, but by some rather bizarre decisions from the ref. One such moment comes just after the hour, Harrison collecting the ball out on the right before laying off to Palmer. He hoiks a huge high ball into the box that the ‘keeper flaps at and misses under little pressure. Naturally, the whistle goes for a free-kick.

A couple of minutes later, A deep free-kick is headed away and Gray recovers the ball out on the left and at the second attempt, gets a cross in towards the near post that Fear nods over from close range.

Of course, the visitors ultimately get bored and head up the other end to seal a routine 3 points. A ball into the right channel is closed down by Palmer, but his clearance is woeful and drops to an opponent supporting the attack behind. He immediately slips a pass across the edge of the box where another unmarked white shirt fires past Emberson from 18 yards with the aid of a slight deflection. At around this point, a somewhat jaded Windy waves the white flag and heads for the bar.

“I can’t watch any more of this shit” he declares and heads towards the tunnel.

Well, if you’re going, at least get a fucking round in then!!

Resigned to defeat, the last 20 minutes or so are played out in a rather uninteresting fashion. And with 5 minutes to play, our season is summed up quite nicely. After a reasonable bit of play down the right, Fear nods a bouncing ball through to the edge of the box where Gray can’t control the loose ball, as it bounces around, it’s clearly knocked away by the hand of a white shirted defender in the box. Naturally, the ref only a couple of yards away sees nothing.

Ho hum. I’m off to the bar…..

Sadly, the bar proves little sanctuary from the misery that is rapidly becoming our season, as the vidiprinter delivers bad news. Whilst Maidenhead have predictably lost heavily to St Albans, but Newport & the Bbbins have both won, the formers 3 points meaning we’re now only 8 points above the second relegation spot with 7 to play.

And we’re at Newport next week.

Anyone shitting it yet???

Over a few beers, the new management team are in close conflab, no doubt deciding who’s going to call the cab back to Fulham!! Their escape is soon cut off as they’re soon joined by our esteemed Chairman for a chat.

Bloody hell Bruce, bit early for a vote of confidence isn’t it???

Eventually, we wander off to the Hood for a couple of beers and some dinner before deciding to spend the evening taking our frustration out at the local bowling alley. The evening ends in a bar very late, with some bloke playing a trumpet along to the DJ’s music.

Yep, time to go home I think!

MAN OF THE MATCH : You are kidding me right??

ENTERTAINMENT : 4. Can we REALLY get any worse???

TEAM : Emberson, Scarborough, Blackwell, Gonsalves, Palmer, Howell,  Gray, Akuamouah, Lampton, Douglas.   SUBS : Cornwall, Harrison, Fear, Gordon, Wilson

THE REFEREE’S………crap. Absolute crap. It’s hard enough when you’re as bad as we are right now, but when you’ve got idiots like this ignoring blatant penalties etc, it’s just that little bit harder to swallow.

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