A Fortune Up In Smoke


BOGNOR REGIS TOWN – 1  [Flukey 88]  SUTTON UNITED – 1   [McBean 57]

Game number 41 in a mostly incredibly bollocks series of 42. Oh joy. To make matters worse, this evenings trip to Bognor really should have been on the following Saturday this season, but thanks to the wonderful organisational skills at Conference HQ, or lack of, the stupid twats genuinely forgot about the play-offs when doing the fixture list. So halfway through the season, they announced that the last 2 fixtures had to be moved to accommodate them.

Now ordinarily, that alone would be enough to upset us, but given the fact that we’ve had the worst season in living memory, if not our entire history, that decision to make the trip to Nyewood Lane a Tuesday night is even more frustrating. Gone is our final opportunity to enjoy one last big Conference South weekender by the coast and all for some poxy fucking games we’re not even the slightest bit interested in because some dickheads in charge of a football league can’t run a football league.

Still, the evening is made a touch more interesting by the fact that league sponsors Blue Square have us down as a ridiculous 8/1 shot to win tonight’s game. Christ, if we’re 8’s against another shit side away from home, imagine what we were for Saturdays win at Bath! They’re good and were going for the play-offs. So we must have been in the hundreds to one at least! If only we’d had a tenner on it, we could have paid off the rest of this dogshit season. Or got another hobby.

Sadly, given those silly odds and the fact that by some miracle we managed to turn over someone decent, the urge to chuck a tenner at tonight’s contest it is just too great to resist for many of us. God only knows how much U’s fans wagered going for a Sutton win more in hope than expectation.

Then again, this match represents our last real chance of adding another win to our spectacularly meagre tally. Although we’re not expecting an easy ride, as despite all the “staying up” songs sung by the Rocks fans before, during and after the game at our place a few weeks back, they still find themselves ever so slightly in the shit and still require a single point from their two remaining encounters to guarantee their own safety this season. And given their slightly ungracious behaviour after the meeting at GGL, I and a few others travelling down would like to at least see the twats still sweating on needing that point going into the final day.

Fingers crossed eh?

Most of the mob have either half days or time off booked for this one and find themselves parked on the front with a pint no later than 3pm. Sadly, I can’t get free any earlier than 3 and instead finally rock up at the Waterloo Inn at about 5.30 with some catching up to do! A couple here followed by one over at the traditional Bognor watering hole of ‘Cheers’ along with a cheeky short ensures that I’m at the absolute required minimum level of booze intake to watch a Sutton United first team game in the 2007/2008 season.

On arrival at the ground, the line up remains exactly the same as the one that shocked Bath on Saturday, which is good as it means we at least have some reasonable attacking options on the field. Here’s hoping they have the same impact tonight!

Our start to the game though is a little less impressive than at Twerton. It seems Bognor are determined to get their point and set out looking for it early on. Phil Wilson being an arse doesn’t help our cause much. A ball down the left draws Phil out from his goal to try & shield the ball out of play, but with a Bognor man closes down, he instead takes a touch and turns him, before slipping on his arse as he goes to clear presenting the ball to the attacker on a rather nice silver platter and a cherry on top. Probably a bit surprised by this gift, the Rocks man fails to take full advantage and curls his attempted cross behind the goal, much to the frustration of colleagues arriving in the centre.

Mr Wilson’s error causes one U’s fan to be a little disappointed and kick over a large bin in frustration. You’d think he’d be used to this calamitous sort of shit by now wouldn’t you after the season we’ve had. One swallow does not make a summer! Nor does one unfathomable win at Bath.

Thankfully, we muster a response fairly quickly and Tom Hughes is rising well in the box to head a right sided corner on target. But a deflection at the last moment diverts the ball narrowly wide of the far post for another corner. Bognor are as per normal, trying to play their standard brand of pass & move stuff, but despite moving the ball well, they just lack that final ball or touch in the final third and a hell of a lot of promising approach play goes to waste.

Despite not having as much of the ball, we seem to create the better openings and the home side resort to slightly less than legal means to stop us, picking up three silly yellow cards in quick succession. McBean and Dundo combine after about 28 mins to carve out a decent chance, but Warren’s finish after cutting inside the defender is sadly straight at the ‘keeper.

A keen contest resumes, but with few chances created until almost on half time. Jerson breaks from deep and is chopped down in full flight somewhat cynically by the Bognor no6, right on the edge of the box. Hughes effort from the free-kick is low & powerful and the ‘keeper does well to get down and parry the shot. The ball bounces up unkindly for Whisken following up and he can’t quite get above it to nod into the unguarded net. The ball ending up dropping over the target. Sums up the season really.

Half time and our break from the football is brief, although broken up by an unsuspecting U’s fan getting ‘volunteered’ for some Blue Square ‘keepie uppie’ contest thing, played with an….er….blue square no less. Naturally, he’s not very good and having been already beaten by a girl, gives it bollocks and petulantly hoiks said blue square ball thing over the stand for his third attempt. Childish? Yes. Funny? Absolutely. With what we’ve been through this season, we’ll take our amusement wherever we can thank you very much!

The second half is soon upon us though. With the home side looking a bit more determined to get this point they badly need. Tom Hughes comes to the rescue a minute after the restart to clear off the line after Phil comes for a cross at his near post and only succeeds in palming it straight to an attacker about 10 yards out. The nervy start continues and another chance comes a couple of minutes later from a deep free-kick on the right which is headed narrowly over Wilson’s goal.

But, from here we settle and shortly before the hour, we manage to edge deservedly in front. A pass at the second attempt finds Dundas in space on the right and he darts past a defender before squaring the ball for the unmarked McBean to sidefoot home from 6 yards in the centre. Yeeeeeeees! Get in!

As is customary at Nyewood Lane, those with picture taking devices nip out to get a shot of their scoreboard once more proclaiming a Sutton lead. The others just rub their hands together at the thought of their bet coming in at 8/1. Come on you twats, fuck the 3 points, we want the cold hard pounds in our pockets!

From here, the hosts seem to fizzle out and despite having a fair bit of the ball don’t really look like getting the goal that could get them a point and make them mathematically safe. In fact, if anyone is going to score, it’s us. And it’s a fucking long time since I got to write that in a report I can tell you.

Sadly though, the best chance we have comes with a tad under 10 minutes left. Again it’s Dundas providing, playing a neat 1-2 with Liam Wright on the…er right. He gets to the byeline and pulls the ball back across the face of goal. All it needs is a touch and the points are guaranteed and the hosts will go into the last day shitting it. And we’ll all be many many quids better off.

Unfortunately, the Sutton man sliding in half arsed is Rob Hughes and he comes up a few inches short. Although his slide in does lack in conviction somewhat and one can’t help feeling if it was anyone else arriving near post, it would be 2-0. Again, story of our season really. If we’d had someone else as invested as Dundo alongside him up top, we might have made a fight of this. But we didn’t, so we haven’t.

Worse is to come with a couple of minutes left as we proceed to let in the sort of shit goal that has seen us firmly and already well relegated this season. Phil comes to meet a free-kick in from the left and again gets a very poor hand to the ball. His punch drops just outside the edge of the box where the Bognor man takes a wild swing at it. The ball goes high into the air and is such a poor effort, Windy is already starting to mock it before it suddenly drops back to earth like a 1000lb laser guided bomb right under the bar and into the net.

You. Fucking. Jammy. Bastards.

At the far end, we all curse loudly. More out of the fact that an utter fluke has just cost the away support a fair few quid than the matter of another 2 points squandered in ridiculous fashion. We’re long long since used to that fucking carry on. Blue Square, you’ve properly had it off tonight lads and no mistake.

The last event of the evening comes after a no prisoners challenge from Greene in the corner that somewhat upsets the home side and a bit of handbags breaks out. But everyone manages to stay on the pitch and a few moments later, the ref brings our away campaign to an end and signals Bognor’s survival. Which is a shame. Their survival that is, not the end of the away campaign, that’s been fucking horrible and we’re glad to see the back of it.

Naturally, the home fans are quite pleased and I and a couple of others mooch off towards the Millsymobile for our lift home as the PA man gets a bit excited and starts introducing their players like they’ve just achieved promotion to the Premier League and not secured survival at home in the penultimate game with a lucky point against one of the the worst ever sides in Conference South history. Ho hum. Horses for courses and all that.

Speaking of which, home Mills and don’t spare those horses dear boy.

MoM : Craig Dundas. Another marauding display. Thank god we’ve at least got him for next season!

TEAM : Wilson, Cuff, Whisken, Scarborough, Dos Santos, Greene, R.Hughes, T.Hughes, Honey, Dundas, McBean   SUBS : Wright, Goodchild, Johnson, Bray, McLoughlin

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