Yeah yeah, I know. “But Taz, you said writing blogs about watching games on TV was shit! And yet here you are with another effort about watching a game on TV!!”. To be honest, I still stand by that, but the fact that the U’s were 4 games from a possible promotion to the Football League and it was basically passing by without any sort of comment from us barring one sudden entry out of the blue for Hartlepool in 2 weeks just didn’t sit right with me. And besides, I’ve never claimed to not be a hypocrite and more importantly, as I’m in charge round here, bollocks to it. Now, how about you un-knot those panties, shut yer faces and put the kettle on. We’ve got work to do.
One of the issues with being up at the sharp end of the National League as the season’s Swan Vesta burns ever closer to your metaphorical fingers is that our televisual overlords at BT see this as the best way to recoup their investment in 5th tier football and start poking their oars in all over the shop shifting games etc for their schedules as they try to show as much of the ‘drama’ as they can. It’s because of this that our Bank Holiday Monday game at Notts County got shunted to the following day with a 5pm Kick off. On the same night as the Champions League semis. Yeah, cheers lads. And if you think they wouldn’t have pulled that same move if there were fans allowed in, you must have recently fallen to earth during the last example of the many bouts of precipitation this country endures at this time of year.
So, of course, it was nailed on that with the home clash against Woking being our final remaining game in hand over current leaders Torquay that the BT boys would be slinging their digital box brownies and cine gear into the van and punching an SM1 postcode into the sat nav. As not only do they get to portray the true drama of the title race reaching it’s peak by featuring our amber and chocolate adonis but they tick off another lesser shown outfit like Woking, who having had a shocker on the pitch recently aren’t quite what they’d have been looking to beam into dozens of half interested households at this point in the season. Bit of drama plus contractual obligation fulfilled, everyone’s a winner.
Naturally, our third live BT showing inside a couple of weeks gives our new friends at Cheam Sports another chance to host our happy smiling little faces, serve us beer and have us shout obscenities at their telly. The lucky bastards. Still, gathering with other afflicted sufferers over a pint is at least far more preferably to sitting alone on the sofa, rocking back and forth as the lads put us through the ringer once again in the search for points to maintain our unlikely title charge.
Despite Woking’s minging form of late (someone said 1 point from the last 30? Fucking hell!) I wasn’t that overwhelmed with any real nerves for this one. Now normally, us glass half empty types here at Gandermonium wouldn’t so much pencil that one into the diary as a shit 1-0 defeat as use a magic marker and underline it several times. But in this case, we’ve just seen off another side at the bottom end comfortably on Saturday and who are in far better form that the Cardinals, plus there’s a distraction. A dark cloud on the horizon if you will. Even if we do thump this lot and go back top, we’ve got to go to Maidenhead on Saturday and get something there. Which is gonna be about as easy as picking a winner in DILF Bingo on the Shoebox. In fact, there’s probably been more winners in that than we’ve managed at York Road in the last decade. Still, it makes for a nice distraction to take the mind off another possible sprinkling of sand in our title chasing ointment if nowt else.
The day is the same as pretty much all the others for the last year quite frankly. Get up, perform the three S’s and fire up the laptop for work. Pretty dull really. In fact the only real break in the routine is Ryan from the Yoof firm hitting us up on the Book of Faces to ask if we’d let them have a lend of the collective’s flags as they’re trying to colour up the ground a bit for the game tonight. Yeah, why not. Not like they’re doing any good being sat in a cupboard here at our top secret volcano lair is it? So shortly after two, Johnnie’s trusted lieutenant is outside tooting the horn on his moped for me to come down and hand over the gear. And having solemnly impressed upon him the true value of these priceless artifacts, he’s off back towards GGL for his stewardingball boy duties at the game tonight.
Work winds down and with little urgent requiring my attention as I have thirst starting to build, I quit 15 minutes early and bidding Mrs Taz farewell, I start the trot down towards the badlands to infiltrate behind enemy lines and hop on the rattler the couple of stops down the line to Cheam. Now, I’d left aiming for the 20 past but it seems that thirst I mentioned a little earlier was stronger than I’d realised and I’m stepping onto the platform more than 10 minutes before that and as the previous train is pulling into the platform. Lovely stuff. The timing is good as both Greek and Indiana Jones are also en route it seems, with the former trying to get whoever will listen on the Whatsapp thingy to get him an Estrella ordered. Hopping off at the other end, I’ve soon completed the short walk to Peaches Close, scanned a QR code and parked my arse on table 66, front and not quite centre of the marquee hosting the big screen. Another QR code scanned and beers ordered, I recline and show light interest in the Man Utd v Leicester game currently on the screen. Indy shows up shortly after, then the round and then finally Greek pops in having Ubered it over, but failed miserably to complete a pickup of Ipswich Lee along the way! It seems numbers from the firm will be light this evening with work and other commitments keeping a few watching at home. Still, it means a round is cheap if nowt else!
Spotting me looking at the grub menu, Greek then volunteers to get the order in via his phone before embarking on at least a 15 minute long saga of trying to get this sorted, logging in, resetting his password, entering his card details etc etc etc. If this isn’t bad enough, he’s of course got me constantly enquiring where my nosebag is. Still, at least he gets another round in as well to make up for his fuckery. Shortly after, Lee strolls in having had to hop on the bus after Greek’s cab mix up. He’s also wearing a normal pair of jeans this time as well, firstly as it’s got a bit nippy out and secondly due to the absolute rinsing his 80’s era Bros style ones copped from us cutting edge fashionistas when we watched the Eastleigh game here. “Fuck that, they’re never coming out the wardrobe again!” he declares. Fellow U’s fan Bev joins us and reveals she has a new phone. Apparently she’d had to replace hers as it had picked up a nasty bug from somewhere, apparently from viewing too many adult sites. Although I’m not sure anyone quite buys her protests that she’d viewed the Worcester Park FC website last on it! Still, the new phone at least allows her to order drinks online now, so that’s something! PRoWS head of security Big Malcom also appears, no doubt sent down by El Presidente to keep an eye on proceeding and make sure no one sullies the good name of the Republic with any unsavoury behaviour. I pop inside to pick up our grub order and we get to scarf down a fabulous Jamaican style chicken burger topped with a bit of bacon that’s thicker than a Carshalton fan. Absolutely top bit of nosebag and no mistake. Right, we’re ready for kick off now.
The lads don’t tear straight into the oppo from the start, but we win an early corner and from it we get the best leg up possible with an example of the defending we’d seen in the pre-match amble. Harry puts the ball in, a defender heads it straight up in the air, Donovan gets underneath it, decent 1st touch, holds off his man and then tees it up for Louis to sweep into the onion bag past the keeper from 6 yards. Fucking get in there boys!! Early goal, that should settle us down and get us going! Except it doesn’t really. Rather than get it down and press the visitors hard like on Saturday, we’re too direct and all it does is give them the ball back. The ref ain’t helping either as a string of soft free-kicks in our half let them Woking build up a bit of confidence. But despite this we’re largely dealing with any real threat and don’t look in any danger until the mid-point of the half when Omar finds himself under a long throw in, doesn’t quite get himself sorted for the header and ends up punching the ball instead of nutting it. Penalty. It’s another daft, soft as fuck one as well and one that would now be challenging Easty’s effort from Notts away which looked to have that category all but sewn up at the end of season awards. Naturally their lad sends Dean the wrong way and we’re back to square one. Bad words are grumbled and another round is ordered.
Not long after this, we’re joined by a surprise guest, as Dukey appears! It seems his BT has gone down at home and being unable to solve the problem, the Duchess has whisked him to be by our sides for the evening. Welcome sir! How lovely to see you! Pretty sure it’s your round as well you twat. For the rest of the half we don’t really get going, although we do show flashes of what we can do. We really should be back in front though before the break as Omar takes a quick throw in front of our dugout sending Wilson clear in behind. He draws defenders to him and then pops the ball across the 6 yard line for an unmarked Beautyman, but he manages to lift the ball onto the bar rather than the back of the net somehow and we instead go into the break level. Not great that, decent start but we never really kicked on after. There’s a little bit of grumbling at the break but this is soon soothed by yet another round and hopes that Matty is currently putting his boot up a few backsides. Big half needed!
Whatever is said however seems to do the trick as we’re far brighter from the restart and should be ahead again inside a minute or two. Decent run from Dave down the right and the ball eventually finds it’s way to Harry far post, but where a first time shot was probably best, he takes a touch and tries to switch it so he can try to bend it far corner and this allows the keeper to save. Any thoughts that it might not be our night which might be starting to form are soon dispelled however, Omar plays it inside for Wilson and with him between the lines, he’s got time to take a touch and drill a low one back across the keeper and find the corner from 18 yards. 2-1! Sweet Nelly Furtardo, that boy can finish!! I’m not sure we’re gonna be able to afford him even if we do go up! Naturally proper scenes ensue in the marquee but it’s more relief than delight if anything. This is illustrated by 4 Days banging on our white plastic garden furniture table a little too forcefully following the goal, knocking my pint over. Steady on! Best get that QR code scanned and rustle me up a replacement pronto sunshine!!
Then as the hour mark approaches, it’s large tent based limbs again. This time Harry sticks in a corner, it’s just headed away and Omar can’t quite snag the loose inside the box, but no matter as it reaches Dave on the edge of the box and he doesn’t piss about, absolutely leathering it back through the crowd and into the back of the sac d’oignon to give us a priceless 2 goal advantage. This puts us well on top and we really should go on and boost the old goal difference, but this is of course Sutton United we’re talking about here and Wilson and Dave miss a couple of presentable opportunities to extend the lead. But, as always, if it’s an important game for us, then the wringer must be supplied with the frayed nerves and lost souls of the U’s faithful late on. We stand off the oppo a little too much with a couple to go and the young wide player has time to step inside Barden and whip a smart effort just beyond the reach of Bouzanis to reduce the arrears to 1 again. Wonderful, because we’re just world class at seeing out games with a single goal advantage late on. Oh wait….
Naturally, there’s also the one last big chance we have to face, as the rather poor ref gives yet another soft as shite foul deep in our half just as the last seconds of the three added minutes tick down. Wanker. Their lad whips in a decent ball from the Rec side, but Bouzanis is strong in the crowd to claim it around the penalty spot and he gets a foul of his own to boot. Thank christ for that. The whistle follows soon after and we all slump back in our white plastic chairs, exhausted from the stress of yet another 90 minutes watching this lot. Christ we need a drink! Round of G&T’s please barman!!
Dukey does the off back to his BT-less above whilst we all toast the vital 3 points that has put us back atop the National League table and an early grave if the remaining 3 games are anything like tonight’s efforts. Elsewhere we see that Stockport’s recent charge has been checked at home with a draw against an in form Daggers. Also, our oppo at the weekend have had a 4-0 thumping off Notts, but it does seem they’ve had a midfielder in goal for a large portion of that one after their keeper was carried off with concussion. Our celebratory one for the road necked, we rustle up cabs and soon my Uber carriage is whisking 4 Days home before dumping me back outside HQ around the time my heartbeat and blood pressure return to what might be considered normal.
Indoors I surprisingly find Mrs Taz still awake and watching some gubbins on that popular rainforest website, so I take the opportunity to chill out and enjoy a pint of water before bed. It’s much needed as I can’t see sleep taking me any time soon and I fully expect my dreams to consist of mainly me, alone in goal at the Collingwood Rec End as wave upon wave of red & white halved shirts thunder towards me for all eternity. Seriously, we’d be a psychologists wet dream I reckon.
Speaking of which, I really should see if my firms private healthcare includes counselling of some sort. I have a feeling I might be needing it come the end of the month.
Three to go. Maidenhead Saturday. Jesus christ.