BROMLEY – 1 [Williams 42]
SUTTON UNITED – 0
It’s not good. Not good at all.
The brief upsurge in confidence we had around the New Year has now pretty much evaporated, what with the return to our early season defensive form at home to Bath and at Fisher. Add to that the incredibly frustrating 1-0 loss to Newport in last weeks Fort Knox game since that mental last 10 minutes at St Albans and you can probably see why there’s an overriding air of depression once more hanging above Gander Green Lane.
Today’s venue doesn’t exactly get the juices flowing either. Bromley’s Hayes Lane isn’t a great hunting ground for us in recent years and the locals aren’t exactly friendly. The last time we played a serious game here in the FA Cup, our departure from the ground after a rather piss poor exit was to the chants of “Fuck off Sutton”.
Charming, I think you’ll agree.
This coupled with other not very welcoming behavior in the past seems to be on the minds of a few of the usual travelling support and some are apparently electing to sack off this fairly local trip to go and watch the reserves at GGL instead. And I can’t say I blame ’em. I only wish I was as sensible as them!
With morale low and Bromley not high on our greatest piss ups list, Windy volunteers to drive and we end up finding a boozer just up the road from the ground for a quick pint before kick-off. In here, we overhear a couple of home fans trying to work out if Chalmers missus is another female Sutton fan from one of the internet forums, but it takes one of ’em almost our entire pint to wander over and actually ask. The strange thing is during the conversation, not once do we get called paedophiles, Surrey queens or aids ridden cunts. Most unusual for a trip to Bromley that.
A short while later in the ground, the team news is hardly shocking. Henry and Scarbs remain on the bench, with McBean it seems dropped altogether. Rob Hughes keeps his spot and Harry will continue to partner Dundas up front. It would seem that the two other ‘most attacking players we have’ are somewhat out of favour, which is a tad worrying as we’ve got sod all to replace them with…..
Unsurprisingly, our first half showing is somewhat lacking. The hosts taking not much time to expose a once more rather worryingly fragile lookin defence. A simple ball in behind from the right catching us out. Fortunately, the attacker hits his shot straight down Phil’s throat for a bread & butter stop after 6 mins. He’s in action again on the quarter hour, a deep cross in from the right looks to have picked out the man arriving all too unmarked at the far post, but Phil dives bravely accross and blocks the close range effort for a corner.
Our own efforts are somewhat disappointing. Unable to keep the ball or string a couple of reasonable passes together. The cause isn’t helped by a really rather irritating official, who seems determined not to award us a corner, let alone a free-kick in the Bromley half. Twice early on, he signals goal kicks when the ball has clearly come off a home defender. The only way it would have been more obvious would have been if the defender had owned up as he did it. Even then, it would probably have taken a signed fucking confession to persuade the idiot.
22 minutes played and it’s still the simplest of play thats causing us problems. A huge punt forwards is allowed to bounce by the defence. Wilson comes, but it holds up horribly on the 18 yard line and unsure of his ground, Phil nods it away as best he can before legging it back to his line to pluck out the follow up effort chipped back in on goal.
So bad are we that it takes 26 minutes to muster some form of effort on goal. Dundas (surprise surprise) takes the ball down on his chest in the box and turns to hit a first time shot. But his marker reads the intention and manages to get a bit of a foot on the shot and with all the venom taken out of it, it bounces harmlessly back through to the ‘keeper. And from here, we go back to creating very little and having our defensive line prised open by some very simple running and passing.
Again, we’re indebted to Phil Wilson on 36 mins when the Bromley no9 runs onto a long ball into the right channel. He draws the ‘keeper, but Phil spreads himself well and gets enough of a foot on the shot to just deflect it across goal and out for a corner. He’s in trouble soon after when he comes for a deep cross in from the left, but finds his path blocked and can only get a very weak hand to the ball. This carries it to the opposite corner of the box where the inevitably unmarked man hits it back on goal. Thankfully for us Tom Hughes hasn’t abandoned his position on the post and is on hand to block the effort on the line.
Of course, having done bugger all this half, we’re quite hoping that we’ll be able to sneak in level at half time to at least give us a shout in the second 45. Fat chance.
Another simple exchange of passes on the left once more opens up the defence and Gareth Williams trundles in behind the backline to whip a shot across Wilson and into the far corner.
That’s us a bit fucked methinks…..
With the goal, the home support livens up a bit. No doubt relieved that they’ve finally managed to break down our flimsy defence and not have to worry about possibly suffering the igniomy of us taking at least a point off them. Let’s face it, having that happen twice in a season can’t be good for ones self esteem.
Half time is a rather sombre wander round to the far end, especially given that Dorch are up and really annoyingly, Bognor are actually winning at Lewes. Almost annoying as the fact we keep looking shit like this up in some sort of vain hope it’ll change our own miserable situation.
Whether our lot have had a rocket or the hosts don’t think we’re much threat, we manage to start the second half much more promisingly than the first. The reshuffle of pushing Harry out right seems to be helping and he makes a good early run that leads to a dangerous cross being cut out by a defender. But despite having plenty of the ball, we once again fail to really test the ‘keeper.
Ottaway has a hand in the next moment of not for us shortly before the hour. Some build up on the right eventually leads to a ball into the box. Liam Wright gets in at the far post, but under pressure from his marker, he slices wildly into the air. The ball drops back at the near post and is weakly nodded away to the corner of the box where Harry rifles in a blistering first time effort that flashes inches over the bar.
Bromley seem happy to hit on the break and they do. Fairly often. On 60 mins, Wilson is on hand again to keep them at bay, this time a ball into the left channel causes the problem. But the shot across goal is gathered by Phil diving low to his right.
The half trundles along in much the same vein, with us having a fair bit of the ball but threatening little and the hosts breaking quickly when the opportunity arises, but failing to put much on target to worry Phil. Then with around 15 to play, one of those infuriating moments that you can add to the long list of moments from this season that get dismissed as “When you’re struggling, you get fuck all”. A routine backpass is played to the Bromley ‘keeper and probably bored from the lack of action, he dithers with it. Suddenly, he finds Craig Dundas right there in front of him and tries to cleverly sidestep him to clear, only for the big striker to read his intention, nip in and toes the ball away from him. In a blind panic, he makes a grab for the forward and pulls him to the ground.
Staggeringly, neither the ref nor the linesman, both of whom have a great view, give anything. And by anything, I mean not even a reaction. Usually such a shout as this foul generates from both players and supporters alike should at least get some form of acknowledgement from the ref, even if it’s some gesture to indicate “no, play on”. But not a sausage.
It’s frankly an embarrassing moment. But given that the guy has so far officiated the game like he really didn’t want to be there and would rather be shopping with the missus, we shouldn’t be surprised. I can only sincerely hope that there was an assessor in attendance. Fucking shocker.
Having had a lifeline of a penalty and surely the ‘keeper being dismissed snatched from our grasp, pretty much kills any life we may have shown so far and the game peters out to a pretty inevitable conclusion. Tom Hughes heads weakly over shortly after from a free-kick before the hosts have a couple of chances to seal the win in the last 10 minutes, but only wayward shooting and the intervention of AJ at the far post preventing a tap in keeps the damage to just the one goal. Preventing the oppo from boosting their goal difference is about as good as it gets for us right now.
Naturally, our defeat at the hands of our good friends brings a hearty cheer at the final whistle. Not tha we stick around for any sort of time as we’re off to the car park for Windy to whisk us back to the Hood for a night of beer and more sorrows drowning.
God this season can’t end soon enough.
MoM : Harry Ottaway. Best game for us so far. Certainly growing in confidence.
TEAM : Wilson, Sammut, Bray, T.Hughes, Al-Salahi, Alimi, Honey, Wright, Dundas, Ottaway, R.Hughes. SUBS : Maskell, Scarborough, Henry, Haverson, Davies