Double Dutch

So, we’re into the last quarter of our debut Football League campaign and I think it’s fair to say that shit is getting real now. After seeing off a doomed looking Scunthorpe last weekend, we’ve now 12 matches left to play and still find our pin badge collecting, bobble hat wearing, meat paste sandwich munching Non-League arses firmly in the League2 play off spots. And on top of that, we’ve got a semi-final to play with a Wembley final at stake. And all this on top of still not quite having worked out how the gibbering fuck we managed to get here in the first place.

Still, we’ll leave the “How the hell?” stuff to the scholars and historians. It’ll no doubt give them a whimsical break from all the World War 3 stuff they’ll be having to do as well very soon. In the meantime, we’ll just keep rocking up, stick some beers down our necks and enjoy the lunacy whilst giving a confused shrug, it’s what we do best after all. With that Semi up in Wigan looming this week, our attention was briefly diverted from the Rochdale game on Saturday as the lads had some PR to do at the local branch of an American Pizza brand. In Carshalton. Matt and several of the players attended, as well as Bruce and welcomed many people along for free pizza and a look at the pot we could possibly be playing for if we get a result up at Wigwam.

Heading to the Republic…

Unfortunately, most of the gang were unable to make it down due to work etc due to the timing of the event, however a couple, including myself were also not keen on being pictured with the cup this far in advance of any achievement. In my opinion it’s a bit like seeing the bride before the wedding on the day, bad luck. So if I’m gonna be getting a picture with a pot, it’ll have to be in the clubhouse, pissed up, after we’ve won it thank you very much. Still, it’s all a bit of fun and having a public appearance in the Badlands along with the store being renamed after defender Louis John must have stuck in the craw of a few Robins around those parts. Those that aren’t banned and still actually go that is. Yes folks, we might be all William Large Testicles in status these days, but we’re firm believers that you should never forget where you came from, lest you find yourself back there at some point. Those who you thought you’d left behind certainly won’t.

But, enough waffle (ha, no really) and onto the big business of another League game at GGL. Now, regular readers here will probably be able to almost recite my pre-match routine for regular home games, so I’m always trying to find slightly different ways to mix it up and keep it interesting. And this week, you’ll be pleased to know that there will be no 407 bus, no Greggs and no walk down to GGL from the top of Sutton, oh no. This is mainly because I spent most of my Saturday morning sat in a department of London Bridge hospital after a minor medical issue after some treatment on the Friday morning had caused a small reaction. Nowt serious you’ll be pleased to hear, but hey, I’m not getting any younger so better to be safe than sorry. Also, it keeps the otherwise exceptional Mrs Taz from flapping and being overly concerned for my wellbeing as simply being me is probably more than enough for any sane person to have to live with.

Papa Louis John’s. Geddit??

Anyway, the side effect of all this faff is that I’m not back at HQ until almost half one and have been instructed that it’s best to stay off the beer today. So, with time getting on, I decide to forego public transportation, have a cuppa and drive down to the Republic. The fact it looks like it’s going to shit it down outside also aids in the decision. So, cuppa down and a quick sarnie lobbed into my face, I fire up the Tazmobile, refreshed after it’s slog up to Hartlepool full of fat bastards and aim it towards the home of football. Of course, with our current status, parking is naturally now a total prick around the Gander Green Lane area, so bagging the Gandermonium vip, members only, top secret, platinum parking space (aka. Across Mr X’s driveway) is essential. Thankfully the man of mystery is contacted before he goes to open the megastore and confirms the spot is mine. Result! And so having picked my way through Saturday traffic, I’m all squared away over the road from the ground at bang on 2pm. A quick hello to Frakey and Magnum on duty in the car park and I’m into the warm MBA to find Indy propping up one end of the bar looking weary. “Anyone else about?” I ask. “Dunno” he mumbles “not moved from here yet”.

It turns out he’s suffering a touch after a works do the night before, so we head into the players lounge and I order up a shandy and feed him a further hair of the dog. Disappointingly, this is some 90 seconds of so after 4Days and Lil’ Chris had snuck in and got a drink in too. Dammit! A few more hellos here and then I break off to greet Kev and his good lady Dee so I can catch up and enquire after his brother Paul’s progress. The prognosis is good and Kev swears blind that he was asking “How’s that miserable bastard Taz” when he last visited. So yeah, pretty much completely cured it seems. Although he did also claim that Danny Dyer was one of his doctors, so I’d suggest a second opinion on that one if I was him. After some medium level bitching about work and watching some sneaky lad pour his fruity cider pop into a fruity Fanta pop bottle presumably so he can sneak it into the game, it’s time to sup up and head out into the cold. Wonderfully, as I exit the bar, it starts to rain. And with 90 minutes standing on the uncvovered Curva to come, you can fucking pack that lark in for starters.

Bouzanis, Kizzi, John, Goodliffe, Milsom, Davis, Eastmond, Ajiboye, Boldewijn, Bennett, Bugiel SUBS: Nelson, Kouassi, Wyatt, Rowe, Randall, Korboa, Beautyman

Sutton United
People in the new stand!! Woo!

Thankfully the rain lasts only a couple of minutes and as I head in through the turnstiles, I see it’s done us a favour in making the Curva a little less busy today as the less hardy souls have disappeared under the cover behind the goal or down the Rec side. Lovely stuff, more room for activities! On the pitch, things get underway and early on Rochdale are setting their stall out as one of those tidy “we’re going to pass it out from the back at all times” outfits and have started brightly. Shame Tanto’s not available today really, as we love watching him terrorise sides like this in their own half. Still, they seem to be getting some early joy down the left and one opening is presented by the linesman who fails to spot the ball clearly out of play only a couple of yards from him and whilst our lot pause for a second to work it out, they get the ball in and we’re forced into action to clear. Naturally, matey gets some helpful advice from us on the terrace however as we see throughout the rest of the match, this won’t be an isolated error.

They put a decent sighter well over after one of a string of corners is nodded down in the box, but after this we get more of a foothold and whilst not creating much in an attacking sense, their bright opening spell soon fades into the same pattern a lot of these Guardiola-ball possession type sides have this season. Knock it about smartly, but do the square root of fuck all with it. A couple of little sniffs come our way, Kenny pulls up lame and is replaced by Harry before Easty with a surging run and trademark tumble wins us a free kick pretty much on the 18 yard line. Enzio and Milsom stand over it, but it’s the Dutchman who has a pop and whips it over the wall and into the top far corner for his first goal in a Sutton shirt. Lovely stuff that and well overdue! The goal settles us and after this, the visitors don’t really offer much. Yes they have most of the ball, but as mentioned, they do fuck all with it. Milsom tests the keeper again from 18 yards and another free kick that this time he’s equal too, then as we’re into added time and the break looms Enzio chases down a pass infield about 30 yards out from their goal. The defender hesitates, knocks the ball against the U’s winger and it rebounds through to Bennett. With space, he advances and spotting Enzio’s continued his run into the box, threads him the ball and it’s slotted into the back of the net through the keeper’s legs. Two for Sutton and two for Mr Boldewijn! Insert tired comment here about buses if you must, but we wouldn’t dare trot out such rubbish.

Slava Ukrani!!

So, two up at the break. That’ll do pig! During the intermission, with results elsewhere currently having us back in 3rd, 4Days comments again that he’s still convinced that he was in a serious accident in 2015 and all this ridiculous carry on is purely his crazed imagination whilst he lies in a coma in a hospital somewhere. Also that all our drunken recollections of games and days out past are simply us visiting him and talking to him to try & bring him round. It’s an interesting hypothesis, but if true I feel he should probably tone down the Ukraine stuff a touch as that’s wholly unecessary I feel. We also wonder why the visitors change strip carries no sign of any club badge on them and Chalmers equires of Mike about the podcast this weekend. “Who you got on it this Sunday mate?” he enquires. “Er, you” states a bemused Mike. Now, I’m not saying we’re idiots or anything, but….actually forget I said anything. We’re definitely fucking idiots.

The second half when underway is little different to the first. They must have 60% of the ball and create almost nothing barring one very early low cross flashed across the 6 yard box, whilst we’re at it and really should go on to add 2-3 more to our tally. It takes until just before the hour for the game to be put to bed. A string of corners cause them issues and one is retrieved by Harry on the far side. He whips the ball back in, a poor defensive header straight up into the air forces their keeper to punch clear only for the ball to drop to Joe Kizzi on the edge and he fires back a bouncer past the stranded stopper and into the bottom corner. From here, Dave has a couple of sniffs, Goodliffe forces a very good save from the keeper at the foot of the near post from his bullet header and he’s in action again soon after when a mazy run from Enzio wide tees up a hat-trick chance, but the keeper stands up well to make himself as big as possible and saves the shot from the angle.

Sutton United
Joe sees ’em off with number 3…

So, 3-0 will have to do. Still, it’s 3 points, a clean sheet and 3rd place in the league has been regained so you can’t ask for much more on what is Sutton’s 124th Birthday. Lads applauded off, we head for the warmth of the bar and some shandies (at least for me anyway) along the way, I greet Sleepy Joe, another one seemingly feeling fragile today after his opening slot at the Sound Lounge on Sutton Hight Street last night. Here on the telly, Stockport take on Aldershot and soon have that in hand with an early 2-0 lead, talk also turns to Tuesday’s semi final as well as the sad passing of Shane Warne during the week. This then turns to talk of his recent ex, Liz Hurley and the question of “Would you leave your missus for her?” being posed. There’s nods from a few there present, although not my good self of course as Mrs Taz is all I have ever wanted and dreamed of in a woman. And besides, I have promised her that the only lass I’d drop her for is Salma Hayek and I’m absolutely a man of my word. Mr X soon appears from his shift in the PROWS foremost retail space out in the car park and he’s looking for Chancellor Oakes. “I’ve got a postal order for him!” he says before disappearing again. Ha, postal orders. Remember those? Do they even still issue them??

It seems this is not a mildly amusing throwaway comment, as soon after Oaksey appears holding a slip of paper and cursing the fact that we’ve really got an actual postal order to cash! Yes dear reader, some old soul has genuinely coughed up a £3.50 PO in the club shop for their match day programme this afternoon. God only knows what the fee is to bank one of those things these days! Well, I guess all that stuff about us moving to a cashless society is true then. With beer off the agenda, a couple of soft drinks is all I can handle today and with time pressing on, I decide to make a move homewards and sort out a nice Chinese takeaway for myself and her indoors. Magnum takes advantage of ready transport and cadges a lift back to his round the corner from HQ as his own missus is on her way over and also Loffers is on the taxi-ponce, heading home for some scoff and a change of clobber as she’s due back at the club for Sal’s 40th a bit later. Sakes, looks like my Chinese will have to wait a bit longer!

Sutton United
Job jobbed.

With my cargo safely and courteously dropped at their destinations, I finally park up at home and give the Chinese over the road a bell for a fine oriental feed up before heading back out into the cold to collect our feast. Mmmm. Beef with cashew. Get in my face.

See you in Wigan folks.

Taz

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