BASINGSTOKE TOWN – 0
SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Scarborough 23. Gaynor 88]
Back to action for ol’ Taz this weekend having missed last weeks clash with Bedford having been on the pish down in Bournemouth. And boy is it a biggie.
Still, it’s Greek’s birthday this weekend, so there’s at least an excuse to try & make it as messy as possible. Plus the hosts are laying on a BBQ before the game. Which helps.
Naturally, despite the fact this isn’t exactly our longest trip of the season, the birthday boy insists on preparing some of his deadly vodka jelly. He proudly shows off a typically two-tone effort, containing his latest innovation. Passion fruit seeds. Windy is unimpressed.
“It looks like fucking mould!” he moans.
Like I was saying, as messy as possible.
It’s the usual everyone-meet-on-the-train affair and we’re all alighting at Clapham. My day starts badly as I realise that having been distracted as we left the choo-choo I’ve gone and left my bag with the big flag on the luggage rack.
Dashing back, I shout at the conductor not to let the train go and barrel back onto the carriage we’d occupied and retrieve a somewhat expensive bit of football paraphenalia before catching up with the rest of the gang on the platform for Basingstoke. No one, it seems, has missed me.
Oh yes, styled it out.
A nice cup of tea is enjoyed while we wait and our train eventually arrives. And it’s packed. We eventually find a clutch of seats in a carriage which we soon realise is occupied by a bunch of rather serious looking Millwall fans.
Fuck. I guess they’re off to Bournemouth for the day then!
Thankfully, they seem quite happy to talk amongst themselves and ignore the small group of non-league saddos nearby. Unsurprisingly, Greek decides this isn’t a great time to dish out his precious jelly and jealously hugs the tub to his chest as if protecting his life savings.
Takes his grub seriously does the big fella….
A somewhat dull trip down ends with a big surprise, SWT getting us to our destination on time! But, thanks to crap timing, we end up sat outside the Queens Head pub for a good 15 mins before it opens. Still, better than getting in 15 minutes AFTER it opens I guess.
Once we’re eventually allowed in, we partake of a few beers and peruse one of the new crisp £20 notes released only just this week. The general impression isn’t good. With even Windy making disapproving noises, even despite the fact it displays the mug of some obscure Jock (look, I’ve never heard of him ok, so that makes him obscure in my book!). Personally, I think it looks like the bastard offspring of an illict affair between a Euro and a Pound Shop gift voucher.
With the clock just passing 12, we decide it’s time to skedaddle to the ground and get in on the BBQ action before things get a little too busy and take in the Man Yoo-Bolton game on a big screen.
So a cab from the station and stuck in the front due to money holding duties, I have to listen to the rest of the herbets conversation via a tinny little speaker above my head. A little bizarre to say the least. Thankfully, on arrival the Barbie is already fired up and turning out burgers and stuff. Marvellous. Greek wll be happy!
Beers in, we settle in for the footy. But before long, I’m a bit peckish and with the score at 0-0 head outside for a disgracefully ceap burger. Upon my return a couple of minutes I find the score is now 2-0.
A good few more pints are added to give the grub something to soak up and before we know it, it’s time to head for the turnstiles. The side has only one change. Ug drops to the bench and Quincy returns to the centre of midfield. Craig Tanner slotting into left mid, with AJ behind him.
Neither side starts particularly brightly, but the home team have a shout for penalty after several minutes, when a cross in from the right misses everyone. AJ goes to clear but an oppo player just makes it ahead of him and his attempted ball back in appears to strike the U’s defender on the arm, but despite shouts for the spot kick, the ref ignores them and the danger is cleared.
After 10 mins, a crossfield ball finds Palmer way out of position and plays in an attacker. He gets a good cross in, but Lewis clears up and heads away for a corner at the far post.
A somewhat scrappy affair ensues, with a very stiff breeze and hard bouncy pitch making football that little bit harder for both sides. As it happens, when the U’s go ahead on 23 mins, its a little out of the blue. A foul on Ross out on the left produces a free-kick. Gray swings it in at around waist height and Scarborough’s outstretched leg gets a touch just before the defender and guides the ball into the far side of the goal leaving the ‘keeper stranded.
After this, the game resumes it’s previous pattern and is really quite a dull spectacle. Although, the U’s have plenty of the ball, it’s the home side who have the next chance on 40 minutes. A quick break down the left of the field and a ball over the top results in a shot straight at Wilson. A couple of minutes later and a crossfield ball finds McBean on the left. He gets to the byeline and pulls the ball back, but it’s blocked. The ball runs to Tanner. But the angle is tight and his effort hits the side netting.
We head into the bar for a quick half time livener before we wander back out in time for the second half. The U’s start in lively fashion and only 2 minutes in some good play on the left results in Gaynor receiving the ball, going past his man and forcing a full stretch save from the ‘keeper at his near post.
The wind and pitch again effect the flow of the play and it’s not until the 61st minute that anything else really happens. The ball is moved quickly up the centre and finds Gaynor. His ball through sends McBean clear through, but as he tries to go round the ‘keeper an outstretched hand just nips the ball off his foot. The danger is then cleared before Gaynor can follow up. Almost immediately after, Gaynor is provider again, this time laying the ball in from the right for Honey. But his effort from 18 yards is well held at the near post.
With their precarious position, ‘Stoke understandably need something from the game and step up their search for an equaliser. And in the space of a couple of minutes, they have two good chances to do so. On 70 minutes, a corner from the right to the far post is nodded back across goal and only intervention from Scooby clears the danger.
A minute later, Scooby is on hand again to nod away in the centre from a deep cross. From the resulting corner out on the right, the ball is flicked on then nodded back out to the edge, falling to an unmarked attacker. But with a great sight of goal from 18 yards, he blazes his volley well over the target.
Wilson then has to smother the ball at the feet of forwards first when a ball through is just played too far ahead of it;s target and then a low cross in from the right touchline after their man has evaded Patsy a little too easily.
But the pressure soon fades as the home side seem to run out of ideas. And as the game heads into the last few minutes, Sutton again are the stronger side. First a superb ball over the top from Gray sends McBean clear on the left, but his last touch is too heavy and the ball rolls back to the ‘keeper and then from a Basingstoke corner a breakout leads to the second goal.
Gray wins the ball in the centre and his break forward and ball into the left channel finds Gaynor. He seems to have been forced a little too wide by his marker, but he manages to find that half a yard of space to clinically find the net with a low shot across the ‘keeper just inside the far post.
Despite the killer blow, our hosts do keep trying to the end and Wilson is forced into one final save right at the death, tipping a snapshot from the left round his near post for a corner.
But it’s soon all over and we head back to the bar to celebrate our 4th straight win and almost certain Conf South footbal next season. Unfortunately, with todays defeat, we can’t say the same for our opponents.
With Greek eager to get on the move home so we can head out into Sutton and continue the birthday celebrations, I’m soon shipped off outside to order a cab back to the station. One is obtained, but allows barely enough time for a chat with the locals and to finish a solitary drink.
As predicted, the cab drops us at the station a good pints worth of drinking time before our train leaves. So natrually we head back to the Queens head for a quick pre-departure livener.
Despite our record of dangerously last minute train catching this season, we’re safely on the train back to Clapham and settle in to finally enjoy the vodka jelly that Greek has ended up carting around with him all afternoon.
A bloke sitting opposite turns down our kind offer of a bowl and we start tucking in, with most picking out the disgusting looking passion fruit additive first.
With the jelly dealt with, we sit back and relax to enjoy the rest of the journey. To liven things up, Chalmers decides to belch loudly in Windy’s ear.
It’s a good plan in theory. But his execution is lacking and he ends up….er….’following through’ shall we say. Dribbling a little bit of dark coloured sick onto his targets shoulder which then runs rather noticebly down the front.
Naturally, Greek, Mrs C and I find this hysterical. As does Windy. But he doesn’t seem to have realised the gravity of the situation. Quickly, I whip out my phone and fire off a snap of the scene before I have to leave the carriage before I crack a rib laughing.
As I get to the door a few feet away, I hear Windy’s cry of disgust as he realises exactly what’s happened.
Finding a perfectly positioned little seat out by the toilet, I slump down, sides aching and tears of mirth streaming down my face.
It takes a good few minutes to regain my composure and just as I feel ready to face the public again, Greek stumbles in and leans against a wall, before slowly sliding down to the floor shaking in hysterics.
Naturally, this somewhat ruins my recovery and it’s another few minutes before we both emerge, red faced and still giggling like kids to find a somewhat unimpressed Gareth sat there with a rather horrible looking dark stain on his shirt and failing to accept Chalmers constant apologies.
Chuckling quietly as we alight at Clapham we head over for the Sutton train to take us back home for a change of clothes before we hit the bright lights of Sutton high street.
Naturally, later in the pub, the sicky story is quite popular, especially when accompanied with the photo on my phone.
Supporting Sutton. It does it to you I guess.
MAN OF THE MATCH : Ross Gaynor. Another strong performance from our Millwall man..
ENTERTAINMENT : 5. Strong wind and too much ball in the air does not a spectacle make!
TEAM : Wilson, Scarborough, Gonsalves, Palmer, Bray, Gray, Alimi, Quinton, McBean, Tanner, Gaynor SUBS : Henry, Naughton, Honey, Akuamouah
THE REFEREE’S………not bad. No real complaints if I’m honest.