Don’t You Open that Trapdoor

With the lads recent decision to start playing better and actually winning games, like the true flaky so and so’s we are I thought that perhaps blogging the last three matches of the League 2 season might be worth my time given that we now had a small chance of staying up. I mean, it’s only 3 games, they’re all Saturdays and we’ve been about as prolific as Steffan Ball (ask your Dad kids!) on here this season, so yeah, why not? Well, after the disappointment of Harrogate I’m now of course cursing my life choices once again and of course it’s Sutton fucking United at the root of it all. I really should know better by now. Will I learn my lesson this time? Will I bollocks.

Oh well, best get on with it. Of course, last week’s draw at Harrogate, whilst not the final nail in the coffin was quite the hammer blow to our already slender hopes of staying up this season. Naturally, due to this, the following several days were not scheduled to be an exactly jolly week in the lead up to the latest episode in our “Must win” tour of the fag end of the Football League season. But a nightmare week at work, a midweek medical emergency to deal with and other nonsense including our latest Surrey Cup exit (covered HERE by a distraught Dukey) meant that as the weekend approached I really wasn’t sure if I should attend (even if I could). But, hey, I’m an idiot. So of course decided Saturday morning that I’d dip in late, watch whatever nonsense unfolded and then bugger off back to HQ at full time. This comes with the added bonus of not getting to witness what would no doubt be an absolute riot of an end of season awards post-match is the game doesn’t pan out successfully. Plan? Plan.

That’s handy…

The already low mood during the week wasn’t improved with the news of the FA and the Premier League’s latest back room shenanigans designed to basically allow rich cunts with already almost limitless resources and that already have much of the sport in this country over a barrel financially, yet more leeway in the footballing calendar at the expense of pretty much everyone else. It seems that FA Cup replays have now been deemed surplus to requirements and that rather than getting ditched later in the comp where it’s basically only PL grubbing bastards mainly involved anyway, they’re ditching them entirely from the 1st round. Not the qualifiers, no. The first round. So all the semi-pro outfits will still have to play them. How does that work? If you’re getting rid, get rid. Now, don’t get me wrong, football’s a busy old game these days. So having multiple replays like they used to back in the day obviously has no place now, but replays in the cup are an intrinsic part of the very fabric of the competition. They’re a huge part of the romance and magic of what is the world’s oldest football competition and why the fucking thing is shown around the world to massive audiences.

Ok and there’s a fair bit of a financial aspect too for smaller clubs. But without replays, we’d have had no midweek trip to Middlesbrough in ’88. Or that incredible night at the Wombles in the Arsenal run. That was an amazing result, but the night was SO much more than the 90 minutes of football. Without replays there’d be no stories like Horsham and Cray Valley Paper Mills just this very season alone. The stories are what makes the competition and in turn are what makes people wanna watch and in turn pay to broadcast the fucking thing to a worldwide audience. It’s just more removal of the spirit of the sport for a pound note and not for all of us either. It’s for the benefit of the same 6-8 wankers at the top end of the PL and nothing else. It’s no coincidence that following the huge and almost universal outpouring of “Get fucked!” that followed the decision, that baldy Catalan Wet wipe and serial whinger Pep Guardiola was fucking dribbling on about having to play twice in 3-4 days after their FA Cup semi Saturday. That’s football you prick. You play games and if you’re good, you get to play more. That’s how it works. Don’t like it? Go coach tiddlywinks or something.

I know, I know, needs an iron…

Needless to say, that level of the sport can just fuck off frankly. I want nothing more to do with it. I personally had almost completely stopped watching top tier stuff once VAR came in anyway, mainly as again it was a sop to pricks like him who want to remove all risk and jeopardy from the sport in his favour and armchair twats who’ve never been to a game in their lives and treat it like a game of FIFA. Just let the wankers fuck off to their Super League and let us get on with the game, they can go play biggest balance sheet hand job bullshit amongst themselves. But then again, half of me thinks that’s why they’re thinking up crap like this this in the first place. Either way, just do one you twats. Still, on the upside, we got a mildly popular bit of tweetage out of it all, which whilst not ‘Crawley Corner Routine’ levels of viral, it copped 183k views, 2.5k likes and 341 RTs. Quite something for L2 for not much longer shite like us. And literally only one bloke called us ‘pratts’ in response too. That alone must be some sort of record these days on Elon’s internet based toilet, surely??

Ah shit. Crawley at home yeah? Was hoping you’d forgotten about that to be honest. Guess we’d better get to it.

With no hurry today, I make the most of some much needed extra kippage and crawl out of my pit just after 11. I slowly get my arse in gear and with Mrs Taz shooing me out the door, no doubt glad to be rid of my fussing round her this week, I head for the bus about 1pm. Naturally, I’ve just missed one so stick the earphones in and get some loud shit on to help with the stroll down to the Green to kill some time. Clawfinger’s “Better than this” is the first track on. Yeah, I wish lads. I’ve a short wait before a 407 arrives and whisks me to the top of the High Street in short order. As I grab a sarnie from Greggs for the walk down, I can hear singing from somewhere so assume Crawley’s lot are somewhere nearby, but I can’t spot them outside a pub or owt, so get on my merry way and walk down into the Republic.

What are you smiling for?

As I’m later than usual, I wind through a busy pre-match in the MBA lounge and greet Podcast Mike on the way through. Out in the players bar are some familiar boats with Magnum, Greek, 4Days, Lil’ Chris, Burgers and Robbo soaking up the majesty of Leicester – West Brom on the telly. Also hanging around is some lad called Lee? Said he was from Ipswich or summat. Yeah, whatever mate. First up, I seek out Tatts as I’ve apparently bagged one of the ‘Royal Aubergine’ match worn shirts from the Accy game in the auction. Omar Sowunmi is my prize. That sorted and yet more money emptied into the Sutton United FC coffers, I get back to my pint. The usual chatter ensues as we count down the time to kick off whilst on the box, Leicester grab 3 big points in the race for the Championship as Not-Irish-Pete and Rax join the throng. Lee isn’t overly impressed. By the result that is, not the newcomers. Newly wed Pete reveals his missus is now well and truly over being called ‘Wifey’ and he should be divorced by the end of the month. As the crowd starts to thin as they filter through the magic door into the ground, we all decide we can’t avoid the inevitable

Arnold, Adom-Malaki, Sowunmi, Hart, Kizzi, Jackson, Lakin, Beautyman, Sanderson, Coley, Smith SUBS: Kerbey, John, Eastmond, Clay, N’Guessan, Duke-McKenna, Moore

The visitors have understandably brought a few today, as they’re doing well are 40 mins away and chasing a play off spot hard. Shame they couldn’t see of fucking Colchester last week eh? Twats. From our perspective, the start is not good, not good at all. Three times in the first 10-15, Crawley should go ahead but for some lame finishing and a couple of solid saves from Steve Arnold. If we’re fighting for our lives, we’ve got a funny way of showing it! Then Nino gets the ball deep in our own half and has a little drive up the middle. Space opens up for him and he ends the run with a hammer of an effort that flashes narrowly over the bar. This seems to wake us up and we really kick on. Sanderson forces a save from a 1 on 1 and shoots straight at the keeps, both after nice flicks from Smith and Omar has the best chances, one a diving header wide from a Smith reverse cross in and forcing the keeper to beat out another header at the back post from a corner. Of course though, having steadied the ship, we go and fuck up right on half time.

2-1!!! Sanderson sends GGL barmy & gives us all hope briefly….

Same old story, straight ball down the left over Hart, supporters club player of the year no less (no, really), that ball in si not dealt with and they’re queueing up far side. To be fair the lad bends a nice one top corner but fuck me he wouldn’t have had more time and space if we’d dropped him in the middle of the Mongolian Steppe. The only other thing worth mentioning from what’s been a disappointing half is the lino on our side who looks like he’s won a fucking raffle and has about as much idea about offside as one of the twats that draw those lines for that VAR nonsense. So, down at the break and literally down if we don’t get our fucking fingers out. Thankfully from the restart, we look far brighter and early on we win a free kick for a rare foul awarded in Smith’s favour. At this point someone mentions cuddling, due to the nature of the challenge on the big U’s forward. “Dunno about him, but I definitely need a cuddle watching this” mutters Mr X. Cue a uncomfortably over enthusiastic group hug for the man of mystery from several of us as Lakin lines up the set piece.

Charlie puts the ball in, but it fails to find a target and is half cleared back to him. He hits a cracking first time strike on the half volley straight back in, the ball strikes the clearly outstretched arm of a defender and the mass shout of ‘HANDBALL!’ from our end of the ground immediately turns into delight as the ball deflects down into the turf, loops back up and over the keeper, kissing the bar on the way in and nestling in the side netting. It’s a wonderfully shit goal that befits our predicament and no one in our bit cares one bit. It’s in, it counts and we’re fucking level. COME ON!!!

On our arses at FT again

From here, it all gets a bit cagey. Crawley, whilst still playing some nice football, seem to run out of drive in attack and we can’t quite build a head of steam to put them under any huge pressure either. Elsewhere, news comes through that Colchester are losing. Jesus lads, come on. We need something here!! Steve makes changes to get fresh legs on but to little effect and then with about 10 to go, a lifeline. The keeper trying to hurry up his team mates rolls a quick one out. But the midfielder lets it roll under his foot, Beauts robs it and it runs to Sanderson. With everyone screaming at him to shoot, he ignores us, sets himself and after improving the angle rifles the ball into the back of the net. The last time I saw GGL that delighted was probably when Louis put us 2 up against Hartlepool. 2-1 to be honest. Ten to go, we’re still alive! Oh this is going to be just fucking awful isn’t it?

Crawley step up the tempo a touch and we start to do what we always do in situations like this. Get deeper and deeper. A few corners and a couple of free kicks are put in and basically come to nothing as the 90 expires and the board goes up. Fived added. Any concerns of whether we can hold on that long are soon dispelled as we don’t close down in midfield and a simple pass finds the 8 in a huge gap between Omar and Kizzi. He attacks the space, cuts in on 18 and a tired block from Kizzi on the resulting shot just makes the ball looping into the corner beyond a stranded Arnold even more painful. And that ladies and gents, is why we’re in the shit in the first place. Can’t defend, can’t go 90 minutes and can’t stop fucking up. With the added time to go, we throw the ball and bodies forward but to little effect. Then as time expires, we obviously get caught on the break and they’re tapping in for a 3-2 that will literally condemn us to the drop. However, there’s one last twist in the tale as the lino on the far side has his flag up, it’s chalked off and the goalscorer cops a yellow for taking his shirt off.

Literally going down fighting…

The game ends in stalemate, suiting neither side really and as the usual post match stuff takes place on the pitch, a bit bundle breaks out between what looks to be members from both benches that has players piling in from both sides. Lovely, that’ll be another fine for ‘failing to control our players’ then no doubt. Just one more before we exit the professional ranks I suppose. With the lads efforts forlornly clapped, I bid my farewells and head for the exits to get home to Mrs Taz and whip her up some dinner. On the way out I chat to Dukey and in Father in Law, neither are particularly surprised by the conclusion to the tie either. Strange that. I bid them a good summer, plug my headphones in and get on with walking up to get the bus back to HQ.

Of course, having got my march on, I get to the stop outside the nick just in time to see a 407 pulling away. Just can’t stop backing the winners today eh? Still, it’s only a 10 minute wait for the next one and despite the hyper kids nearby starting to give me a headache as I wait, I’m soon back in the front door plastering on a fake smile for her ladyship to cover up the fact I’m miserable as fuck and knocking out a banging pork teriyaki stir fry, even if I do say so myself.

Then I catch Pep spouting his shite afterwards via the socials and I’m fucking fuming again.

Fuck football. It’s shit.


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