Ravens Rally Late

CONFERENCE SOUTH

ATTENDANCE : 702



SUTTON UNITED – 2   [Watkins 36. McBean 82]

BROMLEY – 2   [Hockton p18. Moore 84]

When you’re still searching for your first goal of the campaign, having a rather well funded opponent visiting your place doesn’t exactly fill your heart with hope. Still, with a ‘tasty’ history of 22 man brawls, red cards and mutual dislike amongst the supporters a visit from our old Isthmian foes Bromley is at least never what you’d call ‘boring’.

We of course last met in the FA Cup a couple of seasons ago and we naturally stuck to our recent ‘proud’ record in that competition and played like a sack of shite, getting knocked out in a replay at Hayes Lane having chucked a 2-0 lead at GGL in the first game. Like many, my abiding memory of the tie overall was the chant of “Fuck off Sutton!” echoing in the night air as we trudged back to the car after the final whistle.

Needless to say, a win today would be very nice!

Bromley have been active in the transfer market this summer, picking up a few players from here and there, including sniffing round our own Craig Tanner and persuading Tony Quinton to join their ranks, along with another very recently ex-U, Richard Harris. Sadly for those two, they’ve just been released by the visitors, apparently in a dispute over money.

Oh dear. Grass ain’t always greener is it lads?

It’s another early start at the club as once more, tea bar duty calls. But Windy and I have everything in place by 1.30 and are in the bar enjoying a pint shortly afterwards, with Greek joining us. Team news is somewhat uneventful as the side pretty much remains the same as the one that drew a blank against Stalebuns on Tuesday. Right, onto the game I s’pose…..

As with the other 2 fixtures so far, things start brightly. And 4 mins in, Nick Greene puts in a free-kick from the left. Tanner stoops and gets a flick on, but the ball hits Scooby 6yards out behind him and the ball is cleared. Bromley soon respond, Wilson having to get down to save after a run from the centre to the right ends with a low angled shot. Within a minute though, Watkins has a great chance to open the scoring. McBean picks up the ball and lays it left for Tanner. He sends a searching ball across to the far post where Watkins slides in and sends a shot back across goal and narrowly wide of the opposite post.

After 16 minutes though, the visitors do take the lead. A soft free-kick is awarded on the right and with the defence still half arguing the toss, Bromley take it quickly, sliding the ball into the channel. Hudson and Honey close in to shut out the danger, but Ash’s challenge is poorly timed and he trips the attacker just inside the box. Witht he ref right there, he seems quite sure it’s a pen and points to the spot.  Ah.

Hockton the big summer signing steps up and despite Phil guessing the right way, the striker makes no mistake, hammering the ball to Wilson’s left right into the corner.

Ooops. That’s somewhat annoying.

Having gained the lead, the visitors proceed to take over somewhat for a spell. On 26 minutes, a combination of persistance and a bit of luck gets the no8 through about 3 challenges on the left. But he wastes a good position by shooting weakly straight at Phil. Then on 32 mins, Hudson finds himself turned inside out by an attacker down the right, who steps inside and crashes in a shot that Phil reacts well to and beats away at his near post for a corner.

An even better chance follows after 34 mins, a little ball into the left channel catches out defence very square and plays in the blue shirted attacker. But 1 on 1 with Phil, he prods the ball past him and across the face of goal, trickling a couple of feet wide of the far post.

With things looking a bit precarious for us, we then proceeed to end Bromley’s purple patch with a slightly surprising equaliser. The ball is switched left to right and finds Watkins in a bit of space. He attacks the full back and cuts inside before rifling a low shot inside the ‘keepers near post to register our first goal of the seaosn.

Ah, much better! See, told you there was nothing to worry about…

In typical Sutton style though, having dragged ourselves level, we try to do everything possible to piss away another goal within 2 seconds of the restart. Bromley push forward from the restart and as the defence stands off, the ball is worked left to right across the box, eventually finding the attacker in a bit too much space on the left. He scuffs his shot slightly, but it still takes the efforts of AJ and Tanner to eventually clear the danger at the expense of a corner.

Despite this scare We finish the half well, Montague firing a rising effort just over the bar after Tanner intercepts the ball in midfield and feeds the ball into the left.

When the break arrives, we’re feeling a little better about life with a goal on the board and not doing too badly against a side that should be there or thereabouts at the end of the season.

Deserves a drink to celebrate I think!

The visitors come out for the second half in a somewhat determined mood and after a few minutes build up, the first chance comes. The no11 cutting in from the left and hitting a fierce shot across goal that flies a little too high and a little too wide of the target. He’s in action again after 56 minutes, finding himself in space after the play is worked from right to left, but again he fails to make the most of the opportunity and spoons his effort over the goal. We eventually find our feet after about 60 minutes, when a tricky, surging run from McBean is illegally halted on the edge of the box. The ref deciding that there were covering players and awards only a yellow card to the offender Duku.

Tanner takes the kick and swings and effort just over the bar at the near post.

We’re caught on the break soon after, losing possession just inside the Bromley half. The pass out right sends their man clear, but wide of the goal and Wilson comes out to meet him, blocking the attempted cross.

It then all goes a bit quiet. Both sides try to play, but don’t quite seem able to manage to produce that final pass. Watkins does have one very good shout for a penalty turned down after a great run takes him into the box, but he’s held back by Duku as he sizes up to shoot. But, any notion of a spot kick is soon forgotten as we’re all a bit too confused as to quite how the linesman on the far side has flagged our man offside. Even from behind the goal we could see Craig started his run well behind Duku’s starting position.

Oh well, good to see the officiating has improved…

Scooby rescues us with 10 to play when a nicely flighted ball from the right into the heart of the box causes problems. It’s intended target can’t control and it runs away from him to the right, but a colleague is there to follow up. Unfortunately for him, Scarborough slides in to make an excellent saving tackle as he shapes up to shoot.

Then, a couple of minutes later, we actually find ourselves in front.

It catches us all a little unawares to be honest. Greene flights a wonderful free-kick in from out on the left that carries to the far post and McBean pops up to turn it inside the upright. The celebrations are a bit muted to start with as everyone takes a quick look over to the far side to make sure dipshit the lino hasn’t hallucinated another random offside into being. 

He hasn’t thankfully. All clear. Oooh, we can jump up and down now then!

Sadly, our hopes of a slightly unexpected first win are dashed only a couple of minutes later. A huge kick out from the Bromley ‘keeper drops toward the edge of our box, with Scooby and a Bromley player underneath. For some reason, Wilson calls for the ball, which is left by Scooby and then fails to carry as far as anticipated. Phil tries to make up for the error by coming out to block the initial effort, but the ball pops loose and another lurking attacker coolly takes a touch before firing into the far corner of a virtually unguarded net.

Bollocks.

Phil hammers the turf in frustration. And rightfully so, as he’s made a right fucking pigs ear out of that one. We then endure a slightly nervy last 5minutes where we’re convinced the visitors will nick an undeserved winner before the refs whistle allows us to breathe out once more.

Toss. I thought we had ’em there for a moment. Should’ve known better really!

Still, it’s another fairly entertaining 90 minutes we’ve witnessed and we’ve avoided defeat, so we can’t be too downcast. Right, bar and beer I think is required. Oh, after we’ve shut up shop at the tea bar that is. Bah! Someone get me one in please!

A few beers in the club are eventually taken before we take advantage of a fellow U’s scummer supporting missus and persuade her it would be a great idea to drive us all to the pub for more booze. No, we’ve no idea why she agreed either.

Back at the Hood it’s time for dinner, booze and a game of Scrabble, that despite not being at all keen on, Greek finishes second in. And boy does he let us know about it. You’ve heard of bad losers? Will Greek’s a bad runner-up.

One thing that’s bugging me a little about today was their fans. My word they were well behaved! Not a single mention of aids or anything remotely abusive in our direction at all.  Guess they’re maybe going soft in their old age? That or they’ve realised that the vast majority down at GGL have no fucking idea what their malfunction is to begin with and they’re just wasting their time. One can only hope so.

My word, I’ve just remembered it’s Weston away next week. That’ll be a bit drunk.

MoM : Craig Tanner. Another all action performance. Enjoying his left midfield role it seems!

TEAM : Wilson, Hudson, Charles, Scarborough, Bray, Greene, Honey, Montague, Watkins, McBean, Tanner   SUBS : Palmer, Henry, Martin, Pestle, Williams

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