FA CUP 2nd QUALIFYING ROUND
ATTENDANCE : 293
SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Greene 1]
WOODFORD UNITED – 1 [Burnham p86]
Welcome to another high speed match report! No, that doesn’t mean I actually got off my arse and did it on a Sunday for a change. It refers to the fact that I’m writing this while on the train on my way to the replay 48 hours later. Which kind of fucks up the ending a bit, but hey, what do I care?
So er, yeah, spoiler alert!
With last weeks surrender in the final 20 minutes at Cambridge still a little too fresh in the mind, we’re probably understandably a bit jumpy about our next game. Yep, our favourite cup competition is back. The FA Cup. And we’re playing some side we’ve never heard of, from 2 divisions below us at home.
Yeah, we thought ‘Away win’ as well.
We are of course fairly well known for our exploits in said competition and being ‘giantkillers’. Well, since then, we’ve pretty much spent our entire time getting giantkilled. In fact, the miserable 3-1 home defeat to Stortford last year came as a blessed relief as they were at least from our own level and not some Brownie Pack from a regional league 18 levels below us.
This crap recent history would be enough to worry most clubs, but the fact we’re rooted to the bottom of Conference South with 1 win to our name all season somewhat adds to the feeling of unease.
Wandering into the bar shortly before 2, I find Windy & PC at the bar. I’m somewhat surprised to see Mr Miller in here as I’d half expected him to be outside smoking himself to death to try & calm his nerves before an undoubtedly staggering 90 minutes of FA Cup action.
I guess either his lighter has run out or I’ve caught him on a rare ‘beer break’.
The pre-match booze goes down a little slowly and as kick off looms, I’ve had a rather inadequate one and a half pints of beer. Which quite frankly, with the way we’re playing, is like taking an asprin as anesthetic for open heart surgery.
Once more, our side is twiddled with today, although more out of necessity as Gonsalves sits out today thanks to the red card picked up down in Newport. Hudson returns, standing in at centreback alongside Scooby. The rest of the side is as took the field at Cambridge last week.
With nerves requiring settling early on we make the perfect start.
From kick off, McBean gets in down the left. His cross into the box is nodded away, Bash swings and misses but Nick Greene pops up behind him to rifle a half volley back through the crowd and into the far corner. It’s so early, I’ve not even got halfway round the Collingwood terrace.
Naturally, after such a resounding opening, we set about looking to kill the tie off as soon as possible. Although despite plenty of possession, it takes 14 minutes for the next chance to arrive. Green switches the play from right to left, picking out Watkins. His shot from the corner of the box is half blocked, but runs across the box and is just out of reach of Tanner sliding in at the far post.
Again, we then have a solid period of possession, but with very little to show for it in the final third. The visitors meanwhile, are looking about as dangerous as a dead haddock with new age tendencies.
On 30 minutes, Tanner and Watkins combine to fashion an excellent chance. The midfielder plays up to Watkins on the 18 yard line. He holds up and turns, slipping a pass through the middle for Tanner’s overlapping run. But, the ball drops to his right foot and the shot lacks a bit of purchase, which allows the ‘keeper the chance to spread himself and save with an outstretched leg.
From here we step up the pressure and immediately after, McBean bursts from the left into the centre, but his little pass slid through to the right is just too far ahead of Tanner and he’s unable to revent it from running out of play for a goal kick.
Watkins is flagged offside a couple of minutes later when McBean’s pass finds him at the heart of a busy penalty area and with the break fast approaching, the ‘keeper again saves desperately with his legs after McBean cuts into space from the left.
A minute later and it’s the woodwork saving the visitors, AJ sliding in at the back post to toe a shot off the woodwork from Greene’s left sided corner after persistance down that side from Watkins had produced a good cross in.
But, try as we might, we just can’t quite manage to get that crucial second and as the half time whistle blows, you kind of get the feeling the visitors will be mightily pleased to be going in only the one down. We on the other hand are not mightily pleased and naturally the half time chatter turns to comments of the “We’re going to fuck this up aren’t we?” variety.
Still, we come out for the restart and set about looking to get that all important second goal. And 3 minutes in, we really should have it. A corner from the right is flicked on with the faintest of touches by Watkins at the near post. It drops perfectly for McBean behind him about 3 yards out, but instead of the net bulging, he swings wildly and produces no more than a rather embarrassing air shot, allowing the defence to clear their lines.
We start to toil a little from here and again, despite having a lot of the ball, fail to create much at all. In fact it’s not until the 64th minute that our next opportunity is fashioned. Again it’s McBean causing the problems, but his run from left to right across the edge of the box ends with a rather weak scuffed effort that trudles back across goal and wide of the far post.
Haze then decides things need a shake up and proceeds to intoduce Buari and Taiwo to the fray.
Malik does get a sight of goal soon after arriving, getting into a good position to meet Watkins good cross from the left. But his rather weak downward header causes little trouble for the Woodford ‘keeper. Watkins himself just finds a cross from the left, this time provided by Alimi. The ball in to the near post being a fraction too high and the ‘keeper claims it just behind him.
Into the last 10 minutes now and we’re starting to get a teeny weeny bit nervous.
Pestle tests the ‘keeper from nothing when he thumps a looping 25 yarder onto the target that the ‘keeper just manages to get back and tip over his bar, but 3 minutes later and Mr Pestle makes a slightly more telling contribution to proceedings. Taiwo loses the ball out on the right and the visitors make a rare foray into the final 3rd. Pestle invites his man to have a run at him and he does, only for the U’s full back to clumisly upend him in the box.
Now, we get some real twats as refs these days, but even the worse bloke we’ve ever had, or even Joe Ross wouldn’t have any hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Naturally, despite us hoping that Mr Williams can make a hero of himself, we all know exactly whats going to happen and the bloke steps up to send our stopper the wrong way and level the scores.
Now, if only the lottery or the horses were as easy to predict as our shower of shite. I’d be a pretty fucking rich man by now.
Try as we might, with our main attacking threats in McBean and Greene long since departed to the bench, we fail to fashion much in the way of a threat to the visitors goal. And they in turn seem quite happy to hedge their bets and play safe for the draw, no doubt completely shocked at the sheer outrageous generosity once more perpetrated by people masquerading as defenders.
Sadly, the full time whistle brings the inevitable cat calls from the far side of the ground and I trudge off to help pack up at the tea bar and cool down somewhat.
Well done lads. Positively oudid yourselves there. Managed to get a score draw at home to a side 2 divisions below you who managed not a single shot on target from open play in the entire 90 minutes.
Just when we thought we couldn’t further plumb the depths of on field fuckwittery.
Right, first things first. A beer.
Then, I think we’ll be spending the night pondering the next big question to cross our minds.
Where the FUCK is Woodford exactly?
MoM : Nick Greene. About the best player we had. Good goal too.
TEAM : Williams, Hudson, Pestle, Scarborough, Bray, Greene, Honey, Tanner, Alimi, McBean, Watkins. SUBS : Buari, Graham, Taiwo, White, Wilson