ATTENDANCE : 370
SUTTON UNITED – 1 [McBean 59]
HAYES & YEADING UNITED – 2 [Collins 75. Hendry p86]
After Saturdays limp performance in some far flung European outpost called Wales, which was so poor it literally made Mrs C sick (no really! It had nothing to do with the 342 southern comforts sunk in the course of the afternoon at all!) the last thing we needed was to have to face two sides at once.
Hayes clever tactic of trying to avoid struggling at this level has been to amalgamate with near neighbours Yeading, although the ability to field 22 players every week doesn’t seem to have done them many favours so far as they sit only marginally above us in the table.
Ha, that’ll learn ’em. The dirty two-team-fielding cheats. Eh? Whats that? They’re not allowed to actually field both sides at once?? Oh…..er….yeah, I knew that…….
Still, for us, we’re back in the same old situation that has befallen us for most of the Conference South era. It’s not quite October and we’re already playing fucking 6 pointers. Which I think you’ll agree, is a pretty poor show.
Oh well, here’s hoping the team can actually raise themselves for this one and get us a first home win of the season. Had we mentioned we’d not won at home yet?
My own enthusiasm for this particular clash is somewhat non-existant thanks to recent form, but feeling like utter shit does nothing to boost my outlook on the forthcoming event. Due to this, I forego my customary pre-match Subway and head straight for the ground, where I partake of a Lucozade sport. How very hardcore of me.
Team news is again a little strange, with Wilson, Hudson and Tanner all absent from the starting line up. Also nowhere to be seen are Charles and Montague, the two Brentford lads. Which means we’ve either sent ’em packing or their parent club have recalled them. Whichever it is, that’s not going to help matters one iota.
The changes are soon explained as it seems Tanner and Hudson are unwell, although Ash does make the bench. Wilson has tweaked his groin and Gareth Williams gets his first Conf South start (oh arse, did it again. Yes, I know full well it’s now the Blue Square wotsit, but I can’t be arsed with it). Paul Honey returns to midfield alongside Taiwo and Bash goes to the left. AJ returns to replace Charles at left back.
Hmmm. See how we go shall we?
Thankfully, it seems the visitors have an injury crisis or something and field only the usual 11 players you’d expect. Which is a bonus. Still, it doesn’t stop them threatening our goal a couple of minutes in when a cross driven in from the left is chested down and fired over the target on the volley.
McBean responds inside a minute, bursting forwards down the centre, but fires his shot straight at the ‘keeper. Hayeading are soon threatening aginan on 6 minutes when a low corner from the left causes all sorts of problems in the box and is eventually hoofed clear from the very close vacinity of our goal line.
The two sides then trade possession a bit, with neither able to really get a grip on proceedings and dictate. It’s not until the 18th minute the next chance comes, with some good play down the left allowing Bash to deliver a reasonable cross into the box. Malik hits it with a sidefoot volley from 18 yards and Paul Honey lunges in to try & apply the finishing touch with his head from a yard out, but the ball flashes wide. Methinks even had he been the most onside player in the history of football, he’d have found the flag up if he’d managed to direct it the right side of the upright.
Watkins can’t quite turn in a low McBean centre from the right after a good run on 24 mins, a defender managing to get a foot in and force a corner and it looks like we might just be getting on top here. But the visitors help to dispell such daft thoughts 8 minutes later, when a speculative shot from a bloke in a tad too much space 20 yards out looks to be a routine save for Williams, but the ball goes straight through his hands and thankfully the ‘right’ side of the post.
The resutling corner causes concern as well. Being headed across goal from the centre and just wide of the far post.
A minute later, Honey’s persistence wins the ball back in a dangerous area to the right of the Hayeading box. He slips the ball down the line for Malik who whips a cross to the near post that’s a fraction too high for McBean arriving unmarked.
Our best chance comes through with the half in it’s dying moments. McBean takes on his man out on the left and bursts into the box before delivering a perfect square ball across the 6 yard box. All it needs is a touch, but Buari sliding in somehow completely misses the ball in front of goal and the chance is lost.
With that, we disappear into the bar to escape the unseasonal chill in the air and to laugh at a soon to be Jose-less Chelsea 1-0 down at home to some Norwegian fishermen.
The second half starts less than encouragingly, the vistors breaking down the left at pace. But their man in the middle makes a hash of a perfectly good centre and scuffs the ball well wide of the target. A minute later an our customary penalty shout is ignored. McBean skipping into the box on the left and being clipped from behind. Naturally, feck all is given. Not even a corner.
On 55 mins, we’re again caught on the break when AJ is caught miles out of position after coming up for a corner. Naturally we’re somewhat relieved to notice the linesmans flag up for offside after the ball has been crossed and Williams has had to save with his legs to keep the shot out.
The let off is fully accepted and with us wondering quite where we’re going to get a goal from, a bit of weaving Warren McBean trickery provides the answer. He runs at the heart of the Hayeading defence and after wriggling past 2 men, clips a shot round the ‘keeper and in off the far post.
Now, any chance we can actually build on that and keep ’em out?
Sadly, the answer is no. As no sooner are we in front as we’re back to our old ‘sit back and wait for the equaliser’ selves. Although despite having the ball almost exclusively in our half, it takes our guests some 13 minutes to muster a chance. A shot from the left through a crowd being smuggled round the post for a corner by Williams.
Still, it’s only a matter of time and with 15 to play, the equaliser arrives.
A deep speculative ball into the box looks a comfortable leave for Pestle beyond the far post. Sadly though, none of his colleagues thinks to tell him this and he heads out for a pretty needless corner. This is swung in from the right, flicked on in the centre and drops to the totally unmarked no3 arriving round the back to drive it back across the goal and inside the post.
This event is not welcome to those of us at the far end and is suitably greeted by most of us with numerous comments. Mostly involving the use of the word ‘fuck’ and it’s many variatons.
We almost notch an immediate reply a couple of minutes later when McBean continues to trouble the visitors defence. This time he flies down the right and skips round the desperate challenge of a defender. But rather than go down and surely claim a certain penalty, he stays on his feet and pulls the ball back into the box. It just evades Watkins near post and just reaches Bash arriving on the 18 yard line. But his effort is blocked by another last ditch challenge and a secondary effort just evades him.
We keep plugging away, although you just get that feeling that if anyone is going to nick something, it’s them. Buari hits a fierce drive from the right corner of the box on 83 minsafter some good work from Henry. But the ‘keeper manages to bundle the ball away off his chest with assistance from one of his defenders.
And then with 4 to play, we go and royally fuck it up.
A throw from our right drops in the box to be met by the arm of one of our lot. It’s a handball so clear that as soon as it happens, most of us have heads in hands before the ref some 80 yards closer to it than us, can carry out the formality of blowing up and pointing to the spot.
Of course, their bloke sends Gareth the wrong way and strokes in the pen with little fuss and those heads stay fimly buried in hands.
Looking dead & buried, we naturally are teased by the possibility of a very later equaliser. A free-kick from the right is swung in to the far post. Buari powers a header back across goal and the ‘keeper dives out to parry it right in front of Alimi. The loose ball is then cleared a fraction before Scooby can pounce to put it into the net.
And thats that.
Feeling even more like shite than I did when I arrived (nothing to do with the result I hasten to add. Oh no….) I unsurprisingly really fancy my bed more than another lucozade in a bar with as much atmosphere than a Carshalton home game and amble off into the night to acquire the big red taxi home.
Fuck me we’re in trouble.
MoM : Warren McBean. Lets face it, he IS our attacking threat……
TEAM : Williams, Pestle, Scarborough, Gonsalves, Bray, Taiwo, Watkins, Honey, Buari, McBean, Alimi SUBS : Hudson, Henry, Wilson, Greene