LEATHERHEAD – 0
SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Watkins 3. McBean 24]
And so we come to the final friendly. Our now almost customary trip down to Fetcham Grove in Leatherhead to meet the Tanners. A venue that not matter how crap the weather has been recently, always seems to host our visit in bright sunshine and 100 degree heat.
So, it’s the usual meet up in the Old Bank for a pre-departure pint, although despite leaving the pub in plenty of time, some of us manage to miss the train, as the bastard pulls under the bridge out of sight and is only spotted as we reach the bottom of the stairs as the doors are closing. Ho hum, change at Epsom it is then.
The U’s side is pretty much as we’d expect the side to start next weeks opener down at Basingstoke, apart from John Scarborough of course, who is suspended. A surprise inclusion is Craig Watkins who we thought would be rested for the first game. Still absent is the new man from Brentford, although he is present. We saw him in the bar talking to our esteemed Chairman.
3mins – GOAL 1-0 – We make the most of a very lively start as Watkins touch, intentional or not, deceives his marker and drops perfectly for him in space 20 yards out. He doesn’t need a second invitation and thumps a fierce drive beyond the reach of the keeper and into the top far corner.
8mins – Greene plays a ball down the left, sending Henry clear. He clips a first time cross to the far post where a stretching , but unmarked Watkins can’t quite get his header on target and directs his effort wide of the target.
20mins – SUB – Watkins (OFF) Graham (ON). Seemingly having been given a 20 minute stretch out, Craig is withdrawn. No doubt as a precaution with saturdays league game in mind.
24mins – GOAL 2-0 – The change has little effect and we continue to dominate proceedings. And it’s not long before McBean has doubled the advantage. Running onto Tanners through ball on the left, holding off his marker and striking the ball crisply between the ‘keeper and his near post.
29mins – Greene again sets up an attack with a clever ball, sending Graham away down the right. He pulls the ball to the near post, but it’s a touch behind Henry and his awkward attempt at a shot drops wide of the mark.
30mins – The ball is played left to right and finds McBean. He turns his man and lays the ball inside for Tanner up in support but he pulls his shot wide of the near post from 10 yards.
32mins – A Hudson cross from the right looks to be an easy catch on the edge of the box for the keeper, but he somehow fumbles the ball and it drops right to McBean. But the error catches him by surprise and he lifts his hurried effort over the empty goal.
So, with a good, high tempo 45 minutes behind us, we head to the bar to cool off with a nice beverage.
45mins – SUB – Scarborough, Williams (OFF) Pestle, Wilson (ON)
56mins – Poor throw out by the ‘keeper drops straight to McBean and he tries his luck with a snap shot from about 20 yards, but drags it wide of the near post. And prompty pulls up with a twinge and signals for a sub! Oh dear……
57mins – SUB – McBean (OFF) Martin (ON)
67mins – SUB – Honey (OFF) White (ON)
69mins – Defender slips on the left allowing White a free run to the byeline, but his low cross is cut out just in front of Henry in the centre and a corner is our only reward.
82mins – SUB – Greene (OFF) Goodchild (ON)
83mins – Tanner plays in White down the right flank. His cross to the far post is a little high, but Henry connects, sending his volley into the side netting.
88mins – Henry’s search for a first official senior goal again goes unfulfilled, getting in down the right, he manages to wriggle his way through on the byeline, skips round the ‘keeper at the near post and then has his shot somehow deflected wide by the heel of an unsuspecting defender!
Understandably, the second half was a little less enthralling than the first with all the changes being made, but we were never really threatened even then and the first half workout was more than satisfactory. A quick pint back in the bar and then it’s off to Sutton for a birthday BBQ at the folks.
Christ, here we go again. Another 9 months of hangovers, sore throats and travelling all over the south of England.
TEAM: Gareth Williams, Craig Tanner, Ryan Palmer, Asha Hudson, John Scarborough, Darius Charles, Paul Honey, Nick Greene, Warren McBean, Craig Watkins, Jason Henry. SUBS: Phil Wilson, Liam Pestle, Jason Goodchild, Zak Graham, Tony Martin, Craig White