SUTTON UNITED – 0
BRAINTREE TOWN – 0
Having fought back from 2 down at Yeading on tuesday, it seems as if the lads have finally got a little bit of confidence flowing back through their veins. 6-7 months ago, we’d probably have gone on to get done 3 or 4-0 in that situation. So that’s something.
Confidence is good. Especially when for your next game you’re welcoming a play-off contender with an excellent away record. Especially one like Braintree, when they’re managed by a bloke like George Borg.
Old George is a proper old school touchline nuclear weapon. He really doesn’t give a fuck frankly and has spent as much time the stands this season as some of their fans, having been politely requested to take a seat by the ref on numerous occasions.
Before, I didn’t like George. I thought he was a bit of a twat if I’m honest. But after a chat with the old bellend in the bar after the opening day, I’ve revised my opinion somewhat. Ok, so he’s still a bit of a twat at times on the touchline, but it’s more in a cartoonish manner. So we now view him like one of those early 80’s stand up’s you’d see on ‘The Comedians’ in that you find some of the material vaguely amusing in a way, but you mostly wonder quite how someone of his ilk survives in today’s easily offended PC world.
Today is all a bit of a rush for me. Dashing back from the other half’s down in Lewes, I’m quickly back out to do my good deed for the day in my capacity with the Trust and help set up the newly re-inhabited Rose’s Tea Hut. Which is now being run by no less than my Mummy. So just remember who’s serving you your half time cuppa before asking to speak to the manager to make any complaints!
Of course, my constant love-hate affair with public transport once again affects my day, with my bus turning up a good half hour late. I really need to invest in a new car. Bollocks to my carbon footprint. At least I’ll be where I bastard well want to be when I’m supposed to when I’m in a hurry like today.
I finally find myself rocking up 15 mins late, but locate mumsy and direct her to her new post, fully intending to scarper back to the bar immediately after. But it seems that helping set up a non-league tea bar isn’t quite that easy. There’s a float to acquire. Tin openers to replace, boxes of crisps to open etc etc. Sadly, this all means I’m in the bar by half 2 and not half one as I’d intended.
Still, that’s more than enough for a couple of pints I s’pose.
Today’s side it turns out requires a little reshuffle. Craig Tanner is in the USA on a surprise birthday trip (d’oh!) and Tony Quinton is missing through injury. New signing Soloman Taiwo steps into the breach and partners Ug in the centre, with Bash left and Ross up front with McBean. Who should be a little eager to score today as after a brief stint with the visitors earlier in the season that apparently ended after a bit of a fall out with our mate Mr Borg.
Unfortunately, what transpires on the pitch is probably the dullest 45 minutes we’ve seen in a long time. In fact, virtually nothing worth noting occurs apart from a Braintree corner on 14 minutes that’s headed on at the near post and headed well wide at the far post by a lunging attacker.
Then on 42 minutes, a long ball out to the right is headed back inside by Gray. McBean just gets in and toes the ball toward goal, but the ‘keeper sticks out a foot and deflects it wide for a corner. This then results in a ball into the box that is half cleared and hooked back into the danger area. Scooby gets a header in under pressure, but it loops high and wide of the target.
The only real entertainment is the no3’s girly scream and apparent inability to fall dramatically to the floor at the slightest challenge. One of which gets Gaynor a caution, after 2 oppo players have escaped censure for worse offences earlier.
Then it’s time to go to the bar.
And that’s it.
With Rep of Ireland and Wales on the box failing to catch the imagination, it’s back outside into the cold. Better go try out the old dears hot dogs then I s’pose and hope the second half is just a smidgin more interesting than the first.
Another reshuffle is required soon after the restart as AJ once more limps off and is replaced by Harris. Bash drops deeper to cover and Ross comes to the left side. It’s a timely changes as Harris almost makes an immediate impact. For the visitors.
A corner from the left is headed away, but returned to the near post. Harris gets up highest but only manages to direct a shocking header to a blue shirt several yards beyond the post. He drills a first time cross along the face of goal, but thankfully none of his colleagues are alert enough to react & turn in what is really a bit of a sitter.
The visitors 9 foot tall ‘keeper is soon making himself look a little silly. On 57 minutes a free-kick from the left is straight at him and he goes to take a routine catch. But fumbles it above his head, managing to catch hold of it again as he turns to find it dropping behind him with Scooby in close attendance. A minute later and the brisk wind that’s been blowing all afternoon almost aids Sutton in breaking the deadlock.
A pass down the left find Harris in space and his first time cross loks destined for the far post, but it holds up terribly in the wind and drops in the region of the penalty spot. With the defence and ‘keeper a little thrown, Taiwo gets up highest, but his header drops just wide of the near post.
Braintree are certainly looking a bit livelier this half and shortly after the hour, only a great stop from Wilson keeps the scoreline blank.
After building up on the right, a pass is threaded into the right hand channel for an attacker to chase. He tries his luck from a tight angle, only for the U’s stopper to pull off a quality one handed save and his defence rallies to ensure a follow up attempt is safely blocked and then cleared.
He then tops this on 71 minutes when a long ball played left to right finds an attacker in behind the defence and with the goal at his mercy, but Phil is off his line quickly and spreads himself well to block the shot, before recovering to make sure the rebound is also stopped and put out of play for a corner.
With the game entering it’s final stages, a clearly rusty Harris fluffs a good chance to snatch a possible winner after he horribly scuffs McBean’s square ball from 8 yards after a good run down the left.
Shortly after, the wind almost catches our guests out again. A Matt Gray corner from the left is whipped in towards the near post and with the help of the wind looks to be curling straght in. Only a desperate clawing save from the freakishly tall ‘keeper on the line prevents this. He’s then bailed out by his defence who manage to get back and a follow up effort from Scarborough is headed off the line at the far post.
Then it’s time for the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Mr Borg’s almost annual dismissal to the stand at Gander Green Lane. My word our seats must be comfy in there, as he just fucking loves a red here.
With play stopped, it seems he’s having something of a chat with the lino on the stand side. Although no doubt with more than a few naughty words thrown in for good measure. Naturally, this attracts the attention of the ref and he trots over to request ol’ Georgie makes himself comfortable in the stand. But George won’t go!
Several minutes and 2 further requests later, the Braintree boss finally stomps off and goes to stand behind his dugout on the other side of the perimeter fence.
Strangely, a saying about Leopards and spots flits through my mind.
A minute later and another Gray free-kick from the left causes the ‘keeper to flap once more and he manages to tip the ball away from Gonsalves at the far post.
And that is that.
I head to the tea bar to help lock up, feeling a little under entertained, but reasonably happy with a point that keeps our little run going.
Later in the bar, our dour goaless effort is made to look like Mardi Gras on speed by England’s latest miserable efforts in Tel Aviv. One can only hope some of the spoilt ponces in our squad end up kidnapped by one of those uppity terrorist chappies over there.
Having not seen a single goal in 180 minutes of football, we stumble off down to the Hood to settle in for the night and get some grub. Naturally, come closing time, it’s the usual situation of having to be told a number of times to leave.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Jason Henry. Ran & ran all night.
ENTERTAINMENT : 6. Not pretty at all, but a point here is one well earned.
TEAM : Wilson, Scarborough, Gonsalves, Palmer, Tanner, Gray, Honey, Quinton, McBean, Henry, Gaynor SUBS : Bray, Alimi, Naughton, Akuamouah