FISHER ATHLETIC – 4 [McCollin (11. 27. 57. 90]
SUTTON UNITED – 2 [Dundas 1. 46]
With the Xmas feel-good factor pretty much quashed by the expected, but still rather disappointing home humping at the hands of Bath, we return to action with a (hopefully!) slightly more winnable fixture away at Fisher.
My own attendance is initially thrown into doubt, thanks to the intervention of power company EDF, who decide that my current 35 quid a month contribution towards the electricity usage in my paltry little flat is inadequate and requires increasing. So they proceed to debit 200 smackers from my account. At the end of the month.
Quite how they thought one bloke living in a tiny place like mine could possibly rack up 200 quids worth of usage a month escapes me. I’m sure there are people out there growing copious amounts of smokeable substances with a street value around the 6 figure mark who don’t get billed that much as that. Although, that analogy doesn’t quite cut the mustard with EDF for some reason. Fortunately, it seems calling them ‘fucking muppets’ and threatening to get solicitors involved does.
The long & the short of it is I’m skint. As skint as skint can be. So skint in fact, I almost make your average Premiership side look a financially stable and viable entity. To my name, I have the grand total of one english pound.
You might well have been able to get to an away game, buy a programme, have a pint and a bag of chips on the way home all for a quid in the 60’s, but today in 2008, my solitary pound coin wouldn’t buy you a kick in the bollocks, let alone get you anywhere near a Blue Square South game.
Luckily, Windy has a birthday today and I make the most of his good nature by agreeing a loan of 40 quid at very favourable rates. And being the kind hearted sort that I am, I resolve to buy him a birthday drink with some of it. It’s the least I can do.
I know I know, I’m too much of a soft touch sometimes, always thinking of others….
The day starts badly though as my planned wake up call is thoroughly ignored and I awake with enough time to get myself together and leg it to the station, only to find there is nothing going to Sutton to link up with our planned choo choo out to Dulwich, the current home of Fisher. So, instead, with much faffing, Windy & I catch a train to Mitcham, find PC & the other half, get the next train to Tulse Hill and then finally roll into Dulwich about the time we’d planned for anyway. Albeit a little more stressed than we’d like.
Despite still feeling a bit rough, even I need a pint after that load of old bollocks.
Fortunately, this usually piss poor drinking venue has finally produced a little diamond amongst all the crap. The resident SUFC beer hunter has located a backstreet pub called Hoopers not a short trot away from the station. And it does beer. Sadly, he only usually opens at 2pm on saturdays, but with the prospect of a number of thirsty football fans looking for a decent pint, he’s easily swayed into opening a bit earlier at 1. Which is a result.
Nauturally, despite all the fannying about, we find ourselves in the familiar position of being outside the doors of a public house and the landlord specifically unbolting the door for us to get in and get a pint. In fact, he’s positively lying in wait for us, sitting working out the days float, he spots us through the window as we tramp up the road and with a cheery wave, has the doors open for us as we arrive.
Now that, is what I call service ladies and gents.
His hospitality is well rewarded and over the next 30 mins or so, a good 20 more U’s fans all stumble in looking for a pre-match pint. It would seem the Aleman’s pre-match advertising has done the trick. So chuffed is he to see such a turn out of people in strange Amber coloured shirts, he grabs his camera to mark the occasion with a couple of photos!
We head off at a quarter to and are soon in the ground. So early are we, there is still time to grab a cheeky short in the bar beforehand. And my has the place changed.
When we visited last season, the bar was a particularly unappealing place for a drink. A dingy place with wallpaper peeling, the ceiling tiles all stained dark with water and a bloke selling knock off CD’s from a trestle table like it’s Albert Square market guv’nah! Now it looks a bit more like a bar you’d find in a Travel Lodge. All dark leather furnishings, carpets and nice lighting.
And Mr CD man is gone. Shame, as I think PC was looking forward to flipping through his collection again.
Team news has it’s good and bad points today. Good points are that they’re missing their front two through suspension, bad news is we’re missing not only Honey and Scarborough, but Henry as well. Which more than evens things up sadly.
To replace the missing bodies, Ernie drafts in Tom Hughes at the back and unsurprisingly sticks with the 5 man midfield in light of Ug’s absence. Rob Hughes and Maskell partner Bash in the centre, with Harry Ottaway filling in as a makeshift right sided player. With the back 4 averaging about 18 years old, it’s going to be a tricky afternoon.
Still, Fisher do have by far the worst defence in the top half of the table, which might be of assistance.
Little do we realise how much! Under a minute after the game is underway and before we’ve even reached the corner flag on the way to taking up our spot behind the goal, we’re in front. A backpass pins the Fisher ‘keeper back on the byeline and as he tries to clear, the ball hits the closing Dundas on the legs and rebounds across goal. The big striker doesn’t need to apply any further touch as a wicked bounce takes the ball inside the far post.
Bloody hell! A bit of luck. Going our way. That doesn’t happen often.
Despite the good start, Fisher are soon giving notice that they’re not going to let us get away with murder. A couple of minutes later, a quick break on the right results in a rising effort that Wilson has to get across and tip over the bar. Still, Dundas almost puts us two up after 6 minutes, taking down a long ball forward he turns and cracks a shot from 20 yards that just flashes a fraction wide of the far post.
We’re soon on the back foot though as the home side go looking for the equaliser. 8 minutes and a raid down the left almost brings that leveller. A cross into the centre finds an attacker out jumping Hughes and he loops a header against the far post. Wilson recovers sufficiently though to scramble up and smother the thankfully very weak and scuffed follow up effort. Annoyingly, when the equaliser does arrive after 11 mins, it’s a bit rubbish.
Another attack down the left and the Fisher men just seem to have that half yard of space too much. A low ball in from the left finds an attacker that fraction in front of his man and his stabbed effort deceives the diving Wilson and loops just over him and into the net.
From here, we’re really struggling to make much impact on proceedings. The home side are fairly comfortable, but without causing too much trouble and just as it seems we’re edging back into the contest, we go and naturally give them a fucking goal.
A hard won free-kick is lined up about 25 yards out on the left, but with all the big lads forwards, Rob Hughes puts in an absolutely fucking woeful effort that the first defender just inside the box has to almost stoop down to head clear. Of course, the midfield is AWOL and the Fisher players just break forwards, play a simple ball into the right channel and the pacy little striker skips round Wilson and fires into the empty net. Once again, it seems we’re back to the bad old days of September.
Quite how a player as supposedly experienced as Hughes can deliver such a poor dead ball is beyond me, but it’s again another example of so called players just simply not doing even the most basic things right. And it’s fucking frustrating. We struggle a bit for a while, with the defence trying hard to keep the Fisher attack at bay, but on 36 mins, the annoyingly quick little striker really should complete his hat-trick. Again, we give the ball away needlessly and a quick ball in down the left sets the lil’ fella away. He toes the ball under the sprawling Wilson and the ball is trundling in until Haverson gets back and slides in to hook the ball off the line.
We do keep plugging away and approaching half time, we do have a brief sight of goal. Some persistance on the right ends with a ball into the box for McBean darting across from the left, he turns his man and gets a shot off, but it’s straight at the ‘keeper at his near post.
Things almost get worse immediately after when another cutting ball down the left opens up the defence again. AJ rather clumisly deals with the problem, seemingly pulling down his man in the box. It certainly looks pretty much like a pen from our end, but it seems the ref is miles behind the play and doesn’t have as clear a view as we do and waves away the appeals of the Fisher players. Thankfully, we manage to make it to half time without further incident.
Half time is basically heading up the other end and catching up on scores from elsewhere in the league. Unfortunately, not much is going our way with Dorch & St Albans drawing and Bognor winning.
We’re given hope again when the second half explodes in a fashion similar to the first and again, it’s Dundas doing the damage. A corner is won and Hughes manages a delivery a tad better than that free-kick earlier. Dundans gets up highest at the near post to outjump the ‘keeper and two defenders to guide a deft header inside the far post.
Level again, we have probably our best spell of the game and Dundas goes close to a hat-trick of his own after 55 minutes with a chance once again that is all his own making. He muscles in on the right and wins possession, before turning infield and surging forward into the box. His low effort from about 15 yards just being scrambled round the post by the ‘keeper saving with his legs.
But, a couple of minutes later, our defenside frailties are once again exposed as Fisher are allowed to cut through our backline far far too easily. Although the ref has a part to play, awarding a frankly fucking rubbish advantage to us well inside our own half and facing our own goal, which inevitably leads to possession lost and a ball in down the left for McCollin to skip through, hold off Hughes and slip the ball past Wilson for his hat-trick.
And he’s their 3rd choice forward! Thank fuck the first choice lads were suspended, or we’d be seriously in trouble…
From here on in, it’s pretty dour stuff. We toil away, trying hard to get level for a third time, but the lack of those experienced bodies tell greatly. Hughes and Maskell simply aren’t good enough and it’s left to Alimi to battle away in the middle almost on his own. But despite the efforts of guys like him and the tireless Dundas, we never really manage to force any serious chances.
With time running out, our mood isn’t helped by some rather obvious play-acting from the Fisher players, going down at the slightest touch and staying there to run down the clock. The most pathetic is from the skipper who comically stumbles over his own ‘keeper and starts rolling about on the floor. Naturally, the away support behind the goal request he stop wasting everyones time by being a big gayer and get up so the game can continue. Naturally, he takes offence at some pretty 2nd rate barracking and instead calls us all ‘c*nts’ right in front of the ref.
Oh you’re such a card mate. And speaking if cards, you should be getting a red for that. Wanker.
His departing line as he’s lead away by the physio, still whining about being ‘hurt’, is “Enjoy the Ryman League”.
Absolute genius. Who writes your stuff mate? We’ve not heard that one before.
And with time almost up, salt is rubbed into the wound. A throw on the left is poorly defended and again, the Fisher attackers just run through us. This time it’s someone different, but his run in and across the box leaves McCollin a simple tap in for his and the home sides fourth.
Despite not wanting to head into the bar, people dash off and have rounds in before engaging brain and we wind up having a beer in the club discussing quite where we’re going wrong.
It seems the answer is simple. We need new faces. And to be honest, even a few average but experienced players would do right now. We’re fighting for our lives, yet we’re still carrying far too many players most weeks and it’s got to stop. To be brutally honest, 3-4 lads showing the spirit of Honey, Bash and Dundas alone would be a huge boost to the side.
As for the offer made to Basingstoke, I’m not sure why we offered so little. Fucks sake, the money is there, just offer 10k for the pair and be done with it. If they’re that desperate for the cash, they’ll take your hand off. And if they help keep us up, that 10k will be worth every single penny.
We head down to the station and a train home. With no cash, I’m soon off and heading home instead of out to join the rest of the mob for a no doubt pissed up evening to celebrate Windy & PC’s birthdays. For me, it’s a goulash with the missus and a night in front of the telly.
A bit like the U’s at the moment, it’s all a tad lacklustre…..
MoM : Craig Dundas. He really is the only man keeping us barely afloat at the moment….
TEAM : Wilson, Sammut, Bray, Haverson, T. Hughes, Alimi, Maskell, R. Hughes, Dundas, McBean. Ottaway. SUBS : Goodchild, Scarborough, Wright, Opara