CONFERENCE LEAGUE CUP
ATTENDANCE : 309
BROMLEY – 2 [Williams 45. Wood 55]
SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Watkins 47]
So, we’re managerless then. Obviously having mulled over the situation following the somewhat less than impressive showing at home to Weston on the Saturday, Ian Hazel did the decent thing and fell on his sword first thing Monday morning. Which means we’re going into this two-bob meaningless Setanta Shield tie at Bromley with his former assistant Stuart Massey and ex-U’s midfielder Mickey Stephens at the helm.
Don’t envy your job much lads. Only big spending Bromley to play tonight, followed by big spending, table topping Lewes to play on Saturday and then almost table topping Eastbourne the week after that. Piece of piss really.
Suffice to say, we’re not expecting to have many more points on the board or be in the 4th Qualifying round come the end of this month.
Still, stupid that we are, we still traipse over to Hayes Lane for this crap League Cup tie, which is so prestigious that the league have had to give away a nice fat cheque to the winners of each game AND install a rule stating that you can’t stick out a reserve side or you’ll forfeit any sponsorship cash to stop sides deciding ‘fuck that’ and relegating it to no more than a Conference county cup.
Thing is, with the way we’re playing at the mo, it’d be pretty fucking hard to tell by glancing at the result if we had indeed stuck the ressies out or named an unchanged 11 from the Saturday, so that’ll no doubt be us getting a fine then!
I find myself at Bromley South station a bit before 7 and call PC to find out his own whereabouts. It seems he’s just up the road. Waiting for a bus.
What. The. Fuck.
“When’s the next bus?” I enquire politely. “About 10 minutes mate” PC informs me.
“Er, it’s 10 to 7 you wally.” I state a little less politely.
“Fancy a pint or summat then?”
Silly boy. Does the head of the Catholic Church have a penchant for ridiculous headgear? Besides, watching Sutton sober at the best of times isn’t advisable, but right now it’s just plain stupid stupid stupid. What was he thinking?
So, we’re soon in the local Wetherspoons getting two pints down. And there’s still loads of time left to get a bus down to the ground. Sorted.
Once down at the ground, we’re in less that bouyant mood. Mainly as we’ve left a pub with beer in it behind to watch shit non-league football. But the team selection read out over the tannoy cheers us up a bit. Bromley’s that is. Not ours.
It seems the hosts tonight have picked up Carl Gibbs, who has somewhat stunned us with some of his moves since leaving us after his rather less than stellar goalsoring record in his spell at GGL early last season. Ok, so Basingstoke wasn’t that shocking, but getting a deal with Conference side Woking was pretty amusing. And now he’s here. All we can guess is that he’s got one hell of a fucking agent. World class in fact.
Well, that’s made me feel a bit better. We’ll probably only get done by 3 or 4 now with that prolific marksman in the the opposition line up!
Our own side is much the same as Saturday, only with Hudson at right back instead of Pestle who drops to the bench. Jason Henry returns, despite rumours that he’d been released and Phil Wilson replaces Williams in goal.
Because of the prestigious nature of this competition, the match part of the report will be of the summary variety I use for friendlies. Mainly as I can’t be arsed to do otherwise.
9mins – Ball over the top catches the defence very flat and the no10 is clear through on goal. But he’s forced wide by a recovering Scarborough and his shot from 12 yards is weak and straight at Wilson.
14mins – McBean picks up a loose ball 25 yards out. He slips a pass out to the right for Henry who delivers a decent 1st time cross to the near post. Warren is there to challenge for it and the defender jumping with him only manages to direct his header against his own crossbar. Warren jumps highest for the dropping ball, but directs his own header across goal and just wide of the far post.
19mins – A pleasantly surprising bit of pressure leads to a ball from left to right. Quinton takes and cuts inside, clipping a little ball to the centre of the box. Gonsalves darts in from the right, takes the ball first and is then caught by a defender diving in. Despite our shouts, no penalty is given.
27mins – Some simple build up on the edge of our box leads to a quick 1-2 and a man clear through on goal and 10 yards out. But he seems to hesitate and allows Wilson to spread himself and make a vital block with his legs. The ball runs loose and is chipped back towards the now gaping net, only for AJ to intervene and nod the effort off the line.
31mins – Defence is caught napping by a short corner on the right. The ball is swung into the box and headed back into the danger area from the far post. Just as it seems a Bromley man will score, Scooby just heads away and the ball drops to Henry. He breaks up the flank and plays a ball right to left finding Watkins. He gets to the byeline and pulls a pass back for Quinton, but he hesitates on the shot and a tackle denies him the chance.
45mins – GOAL. 1-0 – Play down our right leads to an exchange of passes and the no10 finding himself in plenty of space and with time to pick his spot, sliding an effort inside the near post, just out of Wilson’s reach.
Sadly, having competed fairly well for most of the half, a trademark blow right on the break leaves us trailing once again. Oh well, not like it’s nothing new, or particularly unexpected. For the restart, Mass withdraws Lewis and puts Nick Greene into the fray, obviously trying to give us a bit more in the way of attacking options.
47mins – The goal on HT doesn’t seem to have shaken us too badly and Watkins should level the scores. A cross in from the right is missed by the defender and allows McBean in. His low shot from 10 yards is just saved by the ‘keeper and somehow a defender sprawling on the goal line manages to prevent Watkins from prodding in and the ‘keeper gathers.
49mins – GOAL. 1-1 – Bromley keeper knocks the ball out to his left back and he’s always in trouble, stretching for the ball and under pressure, he plays a hurried pass back towards his own goal. But he only succeeds in finding Watkins, who punishes the mistake by racing in on goal and lifting the ball over the ‘keeper and high into the net. Bugger me, we’ve scored!
55mins – GOAL. 2-1 – A ball from left to right catches Goodchild out and finds a man in space. But closed down quickly, he hurries a shot that somehow skids off the wet surface and squirms under Wilson at his near post to restore the hosts lead.
61mins – Too much possession and time on the ball is allowed around our box and ends with a simple little pass to the heart of the area. An attacker stands all alone and a goal looks certain, but again, Wilson makes himself big and saves with his legs.
64mins – A nice exchange of quick, short passes on the left between Watkins and Henry finds Greene darting into the box. He steps round a defender, but his shot is too close to the ‘keeper and he beats away the effort. Henry follows in on the right, but is always stretching and the shot is never going to trouble a defender just in front of the goal line.
80mins – Goodchild makes a good run from right back and 20 yards from goal the defence parts perfectly form him. He hits a fierce drive on goal, which swerves viciously in front of the ‘keeper and he just manages to fist it away.
82mins – Hammond puts in a good dipping cross towards the near post that Watkins leaps for, but it’s a fraction too high and the ‘keeper just manages to punch the ball away to safety.
83mins – A free-kick from the right is aimed at the far post and AJ gets up highest to direct a header back across goal, but the keeper is quick off his line to intercept and make the save.
Unfortunately, we manage no further threat and fail to force the extra 30 minutes the performance probably just about deserves. Still, as we head to the car and Hood-wards, we can at least take a little heart that we’ve not got murdered and there were some promising moments in there. Here’s hoping Mass & Mickey can get a bit more out of this lot than Hazel could.
Still need to get that fucking defending sorted though. Right, to the pub!!
MoM : Craig Watkins. Another good showing and another goal. Sort of form we need him in!
TEAM : Wilson, Hudson, Scarborough, Gonsalves, Bray, Alimi, Quinton, Goodchild, Watkins, McBean, Henry SUBS : Williams, Graham, Hammond, Greene, Pestle