SUTTON UNITED – 0
BOGNOR REGIS TOWN – 2 [Pearson 32. Knee 50]
Right, so we had to get 3 points at Dorch on saturday & fucked it up. So I guess we even more ‘have to’ get 3 points at home against Bognor today to make up for it.
Worryingly, Bognor haven’t won at GGL since some time in the middle ages, although they got closer than they had for a long time last season until AJ broke their hearts with that late clincher. But the problem is, this season doesn’t actually have a fantastic track record when it comes to retaining such old hoodoo’s over sides. And you kind of get the impression we might have used up all our luck over thew Rocks with that late victory last Xmas.
Either way, it’s going to be rubbish.
In the bar early, Windy & I indulge in a couple of pints to try & generate a bit of bravado and ridiculous thoughts of a home win. Naturally, it fails miserably. The main reason being, we’re a little bit short defensively for todays game. Tom Hughes is suspended and Eastleigh have handily recalled Kez from his loan spell barely 5 minutes after we’d agreed a second months stay at GGL. In fact, he was probably back at the Silverlake before the ink had dried on the paperwork, let alone been filed with the league. This lack of cover is understandably making us nervous to the point where only a intake of beer measured in gallons and not pints would make us feel even reasonably at ease.
Ernie drafts Dean Sammut into the middle alongside Scarbs and places Rob Hughes at right back. With Bash also absent through suspension, Paul Honey returns to the midfield to partner Jason Goodchild. The gaps have been filled, but however you may look at it, it’s not good.
Around half 2 our chit chat is interrupted by the arrival of the majority of the visiting support, who seem thoroughly refreshed after their train journey up from the coast. Greek realises just how refreshed when he wanders in shortly after and greets us with the comment “Can anyone else smell peach schnapps?”
The booze is biting early and we’re treated to some eager singing before heading out. For some reason, they seem a little surprised we don’t reciprocate. The answer is simple. In here’s for drinkin, out there is for singin’. Their mood isn’t helped by a delay in letting us into the ground up the tunnel. A delay it turns out is caused by their bench taking an absolute age to sort themselves out and get out onto the pitch. Despite the makeshift setup, we actually start the game brightly. Much like we did last week.
The good opening spell does lead to us having the ball in the net as early as the 4th minute, but Dundas has strayed offside in collecting the return pass of a 1-2 from Goodchild just outside the box. Meaning his prodded effort inside the near post is ruled out. Which is a shame, as it would certainly have put me (and no doubt a few others) at ease.
Without playing particularly well, we show plenty of hustle & bustle and this is sufficient to pin back what looks to be so far the poorest visiting side at GGL this season. But chances are at something of a premium sadly and we’re reduced to some ‘if only’ moments such as Greene hitting Dundas’ nod down high & wide on the turn when well placed and AJ whipping in a great ball across the face of goal that inevitably, no one attacks.
But, it’s after around 27 minutes that our afternoon is summed up. A backpass to the Bognor ‘keeper bobbles horribly in front of him and he succeeds only in shanking it straight to Ottaway, unmarked on the 18 yard line. Inevitably, the youngster lacks the necessary composure and instead of taking a touch, tries to hit it back on goal first time and produces and equally horrible mis-kick straight back to the very relieved ‘keeper.
Of course, having missed this sitter, Bognor have their one foray forwards of the half about 5 minutes later and are in front.
AJ goes down in a challenge that looks remarkably like a foul, but costs us a corner on the left. At this point, I decide to take advatage of the lengthy stoppage and head for the bog to liven up my first half with a piss. Of course, whilst relieving myself, the corner is delivered to a completely unmarked man who thumps in a searing volley to put the visitors 1 up.
Having had my fill of appallingly defended set pieces this season, I’m actually really quite greatful to my bladder for intervening on this occasion. I guess you could say I’m relieved in both senses of the word.
With our recent run of not being able to buy a goal, going behind in such a crucial game seems to be the final straw and from this point onwards, we proceed to make what was probably the worst visiting side to GGL this season look vaguely reasonable for the remainder of the half. The only moment on goal worth noting is AJ’s unafraid for his own safety style header at the far post from a left sided free-kick that loops on goal, but is claimed by the ‘keeper under his own bar without too much fuss.
So, having pretty much dominated the first 45 with the wind at our backs and gone in 1 behind, I proclaim the half as ‘cack’ and skulk off for my half time Pie & tea.
Greene is withdrawn at the break, seemingly injured as he’d had one of his better games for us so far and is replaced with Liam Wright down the left. Any hopes that this injection of pace will lift us are utterly dispelled 5 minutes after the restart when a dreadful rebound in midfield runs into the left hand channel, allowing an attacker to simply dart in and lift the ball over the sprawling Wilson to make it 2-0.
If we weren’t fucked before, we certainly are now.
The visiting support are understandably a bit pleased with what is already looking a nailed on cert for their first win here since the first ice age and this no doubt inspires the largely 40 minutes of ‘going down’ and ‘Ryman league’ themed chants from their part of the ground.
Against this depressing soundtrack, we proceed to toil away in the vain hope of actually rescuing something from the game.
Never in a million years.
From the rather awful side we’d seen in the first 25 minutes of the….ahem….contest, Bognor are now being made to look like free-flowing play-off contenders by our rather shambolic line up. Needing to inject some life, Ernie decides to throw on Jermiele Johnson, a diminunitive wide player from the reserves. Apparently, he’s a bit on the rapid side. Which rather begs the question “Why the fuck didn’t he start?”.
Still, his introduction does give us a little lift. When he gets the ball.
A good opening presents itself with 20 to play. Honey bombs after a little ball over the top on the right and manages to hook a cross into the box. It’s just ahead of Dundas arriving at the near post, but drops towards Wright overlapping behind. But he takes a wild swing at the ball and misses completely, bringing a loud groan from behind the goal.
The visitors are very comfortable now and seem happy to let us have the ball and bash our heads fruitlessly against their defence like moths trying to get at a light behind a double glazed window, before taking back possession and hitting us on the break. Fortunately, none come to much.
With less than 10 to play, we finally force the ‘keeper into something that could be classified as a ‘save’. A typical Dundas run down the right ends with the ball being pulled back to the edge of the box and Liam Wright steadies himself before rifling a fierce shot straight at the Bognor custodian, forcing him to simply make the block and rely on his defence to follow up. They do.
Not really being that gripped by the on pitch matters, I’m easily distracted by a conversation behind me regarding the time of the first goal. Oh yeah, I’d forgotten about that. I had a golden goal ticket for around the time they scored. I wonder if I’ve won?
Deciding that I’m really not going to miss all that much anyway, I take advantage of the fact I’m right by the club shop to pop in and enquire as to whether I possess the winning ticket or not. And it turns out I do! 32 minutes to be exact and it earns me a nice crisp twenty pound not to go and pour down my neck.
As I return to my spot on the terrace, I chuckle at the irony. The last time Bognor won here was eon’s ago. And the last time I won golden goal?
Eon’s ago. And it was an oppo strike that won it me that day as well.
Typically, our best chance of the afternoon comes with time up. JJ gets clear down the right with a burst of pace and slips the ball inside for Honey up in support. With the defence short in numbers, an overlap appears on the left and Ug feeds Steffan in front of goal about 8 yards out. Unfortunately, he blazes horribly wide from this very good position and the chance is gone.
Wiith the visitors being less than charming with the relegation type stuff in the ground, I decide that drinking in the bar afterwards is probably going to be a little upsetting. So instead I resolve to start my post-crap performance drinking in the Robin Hood. And having cashed up Roses, shut up shop, handed over the takings to Windy and deposited the left over pies in the bar full of noisy Bognor fans, I stick to my plan and head straight off towards the much more relaxed surroundings of the pub.
On the way through the car park, I find Mrs Greek coming the other way with a change of clothes for the portly one, so he can look vaguely respectable on a family meal out tonight. Seconds later, Greek himself is there. And he’s coming to the Hood as well.
Seems he too has, belatedly, decided that he’d rather drink somewhere where the atmosphere is a little less mocking.
A few minutes later and we’ve got our feet up in the pub and Greek is telling me the main reason why he departed. It seems PC of all people has requested that the visitors show a little humility when a relegationRyman based song is unfurled in the bar and their reaction was less than amicable.
Ho hum. Can’t say I didn’t warn ’em. Lets face it, if it hadn’t been PC, it certainly would have been me telling ’em to shut the fuck up. In those words. Still, we have long memories, so those cunts better not find themselves in the shit when we’re around anytime soon.
Greek soon heads off for his meal, but not before the Chalmers have joined us for drinkage. A couple of pints later and Mrs C heads off to Wimbledon for a birthday gathering and PC elects to stay in the Hood and join me in drinking ourselves into a stupor.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I can’t wait for this season to end.
MoM : Craig Dundas. Still looks most likely to score…..
TEAM : Wilson, Sammut, Bray, Scarborough, R.Hughes, Honey, Goodchild, Ball, Dundas, Ottaway, Greene SUBS : Cuff, Wright, Horne, Johnson, McLoughlin