Sunday, 28 November 2010

Sutton United blog: George Best, Bayern Munich and the great escape against Wealdstone

What is all this hullabaloo about, did I miss something?
Well, actually yes I did.
George Best famously left the 1999 Champions League Final early with Manchester United losing 1-0 to Bayern Munich only for United to score twice in the dying embers of the match to conquer Europe. That must have been gutting. I would have hated to have missed that.
So, imagine my dismay when, having left Gander Green Lane at 4.50pm yesterday afternoon with Sutton losing 3-2 and looking uninspired, I got home and glanced at Twitter only to discover we’d won 4-3.
My jaw dropped.
My dejection at what I thought was a defeat soon turned to delight at an amazing victory and in years to come I will be able to say to people ‘I wasn’t there’, even though for 85 minutes of it I was.
In the car on the way home I was mulling over what to write about for the blog and was fully prepared to harp on about how poor we looked compared to our much hungrier opponents.
I thought Wealdstone looked a very good side. They were lively, showed good width and movement and a greater desire to have a go at goal, the latter to such an extent that they even scored one for us.
That was the key. The own goal scored by James Hammond gave us hope. Wealdstone should have put Sutton out of sight by the time I left but they paid the price for not killing us off, just as I paid a hefty toll for perhaps giving up on my team.  Sorry about that folks, serves me right.
But yesterday I just wasn’t feeling it. I couldn’t see where a Sutton revival was coming from and my dejection got the better of me as I decided to swap the cold and bleak surroundings of Gander Green Lane for the warmth and welcoming confines of my living room.
Despite missing the main action I am mightily glad the Us did turn it around. I thought we looked very fragile and sloppy in defence in the first half. The Stones took full advantage of that to surge into a commanding 2-0 lead with two goals from Alex Dyer within the first half-hour.
However, following Wealdstone’s obvious frustration at quite possibly the latest offside flag I have seen since the controversial winner-takes-all title showdown between National Nippers and Tremain Terriers in the Premier Division of West Sutton Little League back in 1983, Andy Forbes gave Sutton some hope with a header right on half-time.
My newly found optimism was buoyed further by a half-time pint before being tested early in the second half when that most tricky of customers Danny Spendlove hit a belter from 20 yards make it 3-1 as the Stones threatened to crush the Us.
Fearing he might not see us again until after Christmas, James Hammond was in a generous mood and handed us an early present which came in the form of a Get Out Of Jail Free card in the 62nd minute. Lovely stuff. Unexpectedly, Sutton were back in it once again.

Received with thanks: What a nice chap that James Hammond is. 

However, I just couldn’t see where Sutton’s inspiration was going to come from. So, with the cold biting into my hands and feet, I called it a day with a few minutes remaining. Tut, tut.
As a result of my poor decision I never saw those two late goals from Simon Downer and Sam Page. However, thanks to Hughes Video and the modern wonder that is YouTube I can watch what I missed yesterday from the comfort of my armchair, over and over again. Click here for the action.
As for the nonsense which greeted the final whistle, well call me Arsene Wenger, but I never saw it so I will leave the judgement on that to those who did.
It could have been worse for the Wealdstone supporters, at least they saw their team play. The Yeovil fans who made the long trip up to Hartlepool yesterday didn’t.
After Manchester United grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat in Barcelona in 1999 Sir Alex Ferguson famously remarked ‘Football, bloody hell’, and that kind of sums up yesterday for me, despite the fact I ‘did a George Best’. Please form an orderly queue to slap my wrists...
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Friday, 26 November 2010

Sutton United blog: The Krankies, Matt Tubbs hits an FA Cup cracker and Fantasy Football League's Statto

Don't be confused by the title of this post. I don't mean that Crawley Town hot-shot Matt Tubbs actually hit Statto, what I mean is...oh well, nevermind. I'll crack on.

I can't help but cast an envious eye over the weekend's FA Cup fixtures. Before I get into my stride I'd like to point out I am not a bitter Sutton supporter, far from it in fact. I don't even harbour a grudge against Carshalton particularly. Seriously, where's the point in that?

We've had our fair share of Cup success over the years and I am grateful for that. However, with the likes of Crawley, Wimbledon, and Droylsden all sharing the media spotlight this weekend it does make you think how different things might have been for the Us. Also competing in  the Cup this weekend are the likes of Dover, Tamworth, FC United, Swindon Supermarine and Chelmsford. Of course, I wish all these clubs luck in their matches but I can't help but cast a longing gaze out of my frosty window and dream of Cup glory once again.  

I am watching Crawley take on Swindon Town as I write this. I can't help but think that it would be, to borrow a phrase from The Krankies, fan-dabi-dozi if it was Sutton hosting the big game. Ah, The Krankies. They were great on Crackerjack - CRACKERJACK! - weren't they. A little look at Wikipedia tells me that the popular 1970s double act are now both 63 years old. Crikey, I really hope they've given up that gig now.

Fan-dabi-dozi! The Krankies give the thumbs-up to Sutton's bid for Cup glory next season.

Any rate, just imagine if that was us playing in front of the ESPN cameras tonight. Right now I could be hopping from foot to foot on the freezing cold Gander Green Lane terraces desperate for a wee having had two or three pints of tepid ale at the Plough before the match. Ray Stubbs, Lou Macari and John Barnes could be chatting on the pitch at half-time assessing the rapid deterioration of the surface and the drop in temperature, while in the background Jenny the Giraffe waves to the viewers at home. Instead, it's Crawley's Reggie the Red Devil who is enjoying the limelight. Bugger.

So, back to reality. Sticking with the cup theme, I have been lambasted by some folk for saying that the only competitions that interest me are the Ryman Premier League, the FA Cup and the FA Trophy. Well, sorry about that, but each to their own.

The Surrey Senior Cup started to lose it's appeal for me once we'd beaten Whyteleafe to retain it for the sixth season running back in 1987 at Tooting's old Sandy Lane ground. The fact that Ashford Town (Middlesex) won it two years ago suggests to me that even clubs in Surrey aren't that bothered about it anyway.

As for competitions such as the Championship Manager Trophy, well, I think they are just a waste of time. Who can remember who won the Carthium Cup in 2005? Statto from Fantasy Football League, that's who, and perhaps the usual array of non-league anoraks. And who can remember that wonderful motto a few years back which accompanied the Bryco Cup?  'Don't miss it!'...flippin' heck, what a joke. Miss it is precisely what I set out to do.

Anorak Idol: Statto could tell you who won the Hitachi Cup in 1983. What's that Statto, it was Sutton? Never.

Sutton's main focus for now is the Ryman Premier League. The weather may have a big say in the non-league football schedule this weekend but hopefully we'll get a game on at Gander Green Lane tomorrow.

Fair play to Crawley, they've got the Cup weekend off to a cracker. The equalising goal by Matt Tubbs in Red Devils' 1-1 draw with Swindon was superb. Perhaps Reggie deserves his moment on live TV after all.

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Sutton United blog: Doswell's Eastleigh return, five-star Dan Trenkel, Croydon Athletic and the Christmas lights

Crikey, it's nippy out there. It makes me wish they sold replica Jenny the Giraffe costumes in the Sutton United club shop, I could do with one at times like this.

And what great times they are.You've got to hand it to Sutton Council. They may have screwed up by spending thousands upon thousands of pounds of tax payers' money on an astonishingly soulless revamp of the High Street, but credit where credit's due, no expense was spared when they hired none other than Father Christmas himself to turn on this year's Christmas lights. So, next time you're walking down the High Street wondering what the hell those wooden animals are all about don't forget to look up and admire the big man's handywork. He's very busy at this time of year don't you know.

In demand: Father Christmas looked a little ropey after having a few beers in O'Neills to settle his nerves ahead of the big switch-on.

Keep it to yourself, but I was dragged against my will to the cinema on Wednesday night where I spent two and a half hours watching young wizards waving their wands. Ok, I know...too much information.

Any rate, while I was watching Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermoine Granger in action, 89 hardy muggles were under the spell of Croydon Athletic versus Aveley in the Ryman Premier League.

Croydon's troubles have been well documented but Wednesday night's game gave the Rams the chance to earn a much-needed point or three. Dave Garland is just the type of guy you want when you're up against it, whether you're doing battle with Voldemort or relegation. It's just a shame for Rams that so few decided to cheer them on and then, at the final whistle, the Essex boys sped off in their zooped up Ford Fiestas with the booty.

Voldemort: Croydon Athletic boss Dave Garland has a tough job fighting the forces of evil.

There are a few reason as to why the crowd was poor at the Keith Tuckey Stadium on Wednesday, let's take a look. Bear in mind, these are in no particular order:

1) It was cold.
2) It was cold.
3) Rangers v Manchester United was on tele.
3) It was cold.

The Rams visit Gander Green Lane next Tuesday night, weather permitting, so I'll return to their plight over the next few days. Now on to Sutton United matters...

It's been a good week for Paul Doswell's men. Last Saturday's 4-2 victory over Billericay Town came courtesy of a Andy Forbes hat-trick and the obligatory goal from Bradley Woods-Garness.

Now, Eastleigh v Eastleigh Old Boys is the kind of fixture you would expect to find in the Amateur Football Comination alongside Old Suttonians v Old Meadonians, but thanks to Saturday's endeavours Doswell, Forbes, Karl Murray, Wayne Shaw and Karim El-Salahi will pay a timely visit to their old club on December 11.

To score a hat-rick and walk off the field triumphant must have been a great feeling for Forbes who is fast becoming a firm favourite with the Sutton faithful. However, you have to feel sorry for Dan Trenkel of Great Wakering Rovers who scored ALL FIVE of his side's goals in their home game against Potters Bar Town last Saturday in a Ryman League North game but still ended up on the losing side as the visitors scored six in reply.

I think Mickey Joyce had the right idea. To avoid such a fate happening to him he scored another four for Sutton against Leatherhead in 1982, just to make sure he ended up on the winning side.

I thought Harrow Borough looked a decent side when they came to Gander Green Lane earlier in the season and I'm a bit surprised to see them struggling. The fact Sutton were left clinging on against nine men at the final whistle was a bit of a concern. It's easy to look at Tuesday's 0-0 draw at Earlsmead as two points dropped but this season the Ryman Premier League is shaping up to be a tight affair at both ends of the table.

Wealdstone visit the Lane this weekend, so long as the pitch isn't as hard as nails. The Stones are on a high after their 3-2 win at Carshalton on Tuesday. I seem to say this a lot, but if we're to push on in our quest for promotion then these are the kind of games we need to win. Wealdstone have been inconsistent at best so I'd like to think we have enough ammunition to earn the points and send them packing back to north London in their Ford Cortinas.

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Saturday, 20 November 2010

Sutton United blog: AFC Wimbledon's late show on ESPN, Family Guy's Glenn Quagmire and Sutton v Billericay

Some of you might want to put your hands over your eyes before reading this. You have been warned...

I had a few beers with my pal Ten last night n O'Neills in Sutton. He's a lovely guy, a lovely, lovely guy. However, he knocks around with a chap called Nigel who supports a Premier League side which shall remain nameless.

The conversation was going well until we started on all matters football. I sat there patiently as Nigel spouted off about his side's ups and downs, their triumphs and their defeats. I offered my own insight and all was well and good for about half an hour or so.

That was until I mentioned that my team, Sutton United, had an important game in the FA Trophy coming up against Billericay Town. Crikey, talk about a conversation stopper. Thirty seconds later and we were back talking about the delights of the Premier League.

Seriously, what is it with some football fans who cannot see further than the top flight? Anything below that and football simply does not exist. It might have helped if I supported Crystal Palace or QPR perhaps, but I don't. Thankfully, I support Sutton.

For me, and this probably goes without saying, I am a lower league fan. Even the teams I have as my second, third or fourth teams all tend to hover in the lower eschelons of the football pyramid. I have no interest in following, as Nigel might say 'a proper club.'

The pyramid system: My teams tend to lurk in the lower reaches.

Any rate, it gets worse.

Nigel just happens to live in one of those flats which has been built on Plough Lane in Wimbledon, the very venue where the likes of Dave Bassett, Vinnie Jones, Clive Goodyear and John Fashanu enjoyed so much success.

I mentioned to him that, as far as I could remember, some, if not all of the flats built there were named after players associated with the Dons. To which he replied: 'Nah, I don't' think so,' Before mumbling a sentence about his place being called Batsford something or other.

I had to stop Nigel in his tracks and tell him how Alan Batsford has a deep association with Wimbledon Football club. He was the guy, after all, who led them into the Football League in 1977.

Nah, it didn't even register on his particular footballing radar. Come to think of it, I'm not sure any team outside the top 20 clubs in English football strike a chord with him.

I must move on to other matters or I'll wind myself up.

I went to bed on Thursday night completely knackered after watching Wimbledon overcome Ebbsfleet in another thrilling FA Cup tie on ESPN.

Conceding a last minute goal in any match is gutting, but to concede two has got to be sickening for Ebbsfleet who put up a brave fight and looked for all the world as if they would be the team to face Stevenage in the next round.

For large parts of the game the Dons looked subdued and disinterested as the Kent side looked to take full advantage of the situation.

Credit to the Dons and their matchwinner Luke Moore, though. Just when the referee was contemplating putting the whistle to his lips, up popped Moore to score the goal which would take the game to extra-time. Moore repeated the trick with his second exquisite finish in the 120th minute to send Ebbsfleet crashing out in heart-breaking fashion.

Thankfully we can now bring this whole Wimbledon v Milton Keynes episode to an end for the time being and look ahead to some more incident-packed matches in the Second Round. As for ESPN, they have got to be happy with their First Round offerings. Rochdale v FC United, Woking v Brighton and Ebbsfleet v Wimbledon all provided plenty of action and talking points.

The FA Cup isn't the only competition throwing up some interesting ties. This weekend the FA Trophy takes centre stage for clubs like ours and we've been handed one of the toughest home draws we could have got, Billericay Town.

Our visitors to Gander Green Lane later today currently sit third in the Ryman Premier League, five points behind Sutton and, interestingly enough, their only three league defeats have come at the hands of Lowestoft, Kingstonian and ourselves.

But get this, they have won their last six matches in all competititions, including a fine 1-0 success over London All Peoples' Sports Association in the Essex Senior Cup. That's a terrific result for eleven lads from Billericay when you consider all the people in London who play sport.

It's a shame Roald Dahl's the BWG won't be available for the big match today. But, with that said, it should provide someone else with the chance to hit the target. Richard Jolly is overdue a goal or two, so I'd like to see his name on the scoresheet come 4.45pm today.

Having just cast my eye across some of the threads on the forum I read that a fan, who shall remain nameless, can't muster up the enthusiasm for a Trophy match as he just wants league points. What's that? You want me to name name? Well, ok, it's the supporter formerly known as Optimistic Sutman, now he's just plain old OS.

His view is perfectly understandable as our priority is obviously the league. But, personally speaking, I welcome the break from league action and would love to see Sutton have a real good run in the Trophy in this or any other season. It's a chance for the club to earn extra revenue and to have a crack at some of the teams in the divisions above us. We've just got to get through the dreaded quagmire of the qualifying rounds first.

Tricky customer: I don't know what he's smiling about. Sutton United have one last hurdle to negotiate before they're out of the dreaded FA Trophy qualifying Quagmire.

My priorities for Sutton every season are in this order: League, FA Cup, Trophy. The other competitions don't even make it on my radar. Football is saturated with wishy-washy tournaments, but the FA Trophy isn't one of them. However, I wish Pickles the dog would run off with the Surrey Senior Cup sometime soon and go and bury it deep in someone's back garden.

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Alphabet Club Watch

Before I sign off today, I thought I would check out how some of our local fellow alphabet clubs are doing. We all know about the Us and the Ks, but what about the Es and the As?

There's a sizzler taking place at Moatside, Merstham today where the nomadic tribesmen of Epsom and Ewell take on Cove who are still reeling from their reserves' 3-2 defeat at Camberley on Tuesday night. The Es are midtable in the Combined Counties League having enjoyed mixed fortunes against the likes of Colliers Wood Unied, Hanworth Villa, Badshot Lea and Ash United.

Banstead Athletic, meanwhile, have a tricky away fixture at the Sarnies, AKA Egham Town. It seems the As have been busy trying to lose as many games as possible this season. They are third from bottom in the league and even managed to contrive to lose against Dorking, who are one place below them. Crikey, if they get any lower then they'll soon have their application for membership accepted by West Sutton Little League. You can't get any lower in the pyramid system than that, can you?

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Sutton United blog: Darius saves the day, AFC Wimbledon breathe easy and Basiru Susso's big night out

I knew I had done the right thing by signing up to Twitter. Amid the drama of Tuesday night's FA Cup replays I received a tweet from Camberley Town which told me I could rest assured safe in the knowledge their reserves had triumphed 3-2 over Cove in the Suburban League Northern Division. Marvellous.

Any rate, now I'm fully rested, on to Tuesday night's action...

When former Sutton United man Darius Charles scored in the fifth minute of injury time for Stevenage against Milton Keynes last night, football fans across the land breathed a huge sigh of relief.

The goal set up a tense period of extra time as the side's slugged it out in an FA Cup First Round replay which then went to penalties. Thankfully, Stevenage and football, prevailed when Mathias Doumbe blazed his spot-kick over, meaning Stevenage went through 7-6 on penalties.

Like many observers of the game, I was all set to write about my concerns of the potential meeting between Wimbledon and the Milton Keynes franchise should both sides make it through to the Second Round of the Cup. I'm pleased to say I can bin that script now, however, it can't have been an easy couple of weeks for fans of the Dons.

Darius: His late, late goal at Milton Keynes changed the course of history

Not only have they had to put up with three away trips on the bounce - Altrincham, Barrow and Ebbsfleet - but they've had to endure the media hype which began as soon as the draw for the Second Round paired their club with the very people who were happy to rip the old incarnation of it out of their grasp.

For many, once the gasps had died down after the draw had been made, old wounds soon reopened and the realisation of the potential consequences for Wimbledon supporters set in. It is still too soon after the events of 2002/03 for some fans to consider playing Milton Keynes, and who can blame them.

I doubt there will ever be a right time for the clubs to meet, but thanks to the timely intervention of Darius,Wimbledon fans have been spared a few more sleepless nights and can now concentrate on the important business of trying to beat Ebbsfleet tonight night infront of the ESPN cameras.

Charles wasn't the only former Sutton player making an impact in Tuesday night's Cup matches. Elvis Hammond was man of the match as Woking gave League One leaders Brighton and Hove Albion a good run for their money in a match which was also screened live on ESPN. Soloman Taiwo was on target for Dagenham and Redbridge in their 3-2 defeat at Leyton Orient. Meanwhile, Brentford went out to 1-0 at Aldershot, meaning Andy Scott's interest in this year's competition came to an end.

It's a quiet week at Gander Green Lane. Aside from Basiru Susso's Q&A evening on last night, the next big event is our FA Trophy encounter with Billericay Town on Saturday. Photo's of Bas's big night were quickly doing the rounds on Twitter.

One interesting result from the Ryman Premier League came last night at the Keith Tuckey Stadium where Croydon Athletic conquered our conquerors Margate 5-3. The conquest took place in front of 103 hardy folk who chose to give England v France the thumbs down, not that that was a difficult decision to make.

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Sunday, 14 November 2010

Sutton United blog: Victor Kasule, Natalie Lowe, the Non-League Paper and the Sutton Arms

I don't know about you, but I blame Darren Ebsworth. There he is in today's Non-League Paper going on about how we've lost one in fifteen League games and how the competition for places can only be a good thing. By the time his interview was printed we had lost our second league game. Drat.

I jest of course. To be honest, it's nice to see a Sutton United player featured in the NLP. Aside from a match report it's seldom we're featured, so well done to Darren, he deserves his time in Star Corner after hitting a cracker against the not so special Ks.

Ok, ok, so we lost at Margate. Let's have a think about this, it could have been worse. We might have lost at Barrow, so spare a thought for those Wimbledon fans who had to endure that trek yesterday...and all for a 2-0 defeat. Now that's nasty.

It reminds me of the time when Sutton played away at Darlington in the Conference on a cold Tuesday night and lost 2-0 in the late 1980s. Now that really was nasty. From what I can recall a chap by the name of Victor Kasule led us a merry dance that night before seemingly disappearing off the footballing map.

It's been a testing week for Wimbledon fans. First Altrincham away on Tuesday, quickly followed by Barrow. Crikey, Sutton have had two trips to Kent in a week, that's not so bad after all. At least we had time after the match yesterday to get back to the boozers of our home town to drown our sorrows or, if it floats your boat, to catch the last half hour of Strictly Come Dancing. Encouraged by his twinkle-toed turn against us all those years ago I gather Victor Kasule did a great rumba with Natalie Lowe on last night's show.

Ready to rumba: You won't catch Natalie Lowe drinking at the Sutton Arms.

Any rate, to our defeat. Kennedy Adjei and the ever-reliable Bradley Woods-Garness netted our goals, but we couldn't keep up our recent good defensive record and let in three in reply. I blame myself for that, I shouldn't have mentioned how well our defence had been holding out in my last post.

To make matters worse, we lost to two great strikes from a guy called Wayne. In this case, Wayne Wilson. That's awful for us, of course, but chavtastic for Margate.

Yesterday represented a chance for us to kick-on and create a gap ahead of the chasing pack. Bugger. No doubt Blob and Bob will be happy as Kingstonian clawed some points back with a 3-1 win over Canvey Island (anyone else fail to get that headline in the NLP?). Lowestoft could only draw 0-0 at home to Wealdstone but I must confess I'm getting a bit worried by Billericay as they're looking a little bit, how should I say...good. We can take heart from the fact we've beaten them already this season, but there's no doubt about it, we are going to face a tough test in next saturdays FA Trophy game.

Those who follow me on Twitter will know that I was skulking in the pubs of Sutton yesterday evening in a bid to drink away those post-match blues. I had a few in the Old Bank near the station to whet my whistle, before making a blunderous decision for my next port of call. I landed up in the Sutton Arms and as I walked through the doors I immediately felt like I was gatecrashing a very bad youth club disco. Young lads with pronounced swaggers vied for the affections of easy girls with large hooped earrings. Wayne Wilson would have loved it, but I didn't hang around.

It was a far cry from my experience of Friday night when I had a rip-roaring night with pals at the Sun Inn in Carshalton. Now that's what I call a decent boozer, real ale buffs will love it. If only Gander Green Lane had a pub like that.

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Friday, 12 November 2010

Sutton United blog: FC United of Manchester, Tamworth Lambs, Dover Athletic and Sutton head to Margate

It's never a nice feeling when your team gets dumped out of the FA Cup by lowly opposition.

As Sutton United supporters we have experienced the obvious high of Coventry in 1989 and, of course, we're still getting over the low of Alton Town 2010. So, I'd like to think we're in a good place to share the joy or despair with pals whenever their teams should have similar experiences.

So, it was with sensitivity that I broached the subject of the weekend's FA Cup action with my mate Grundle who just happens to support Gillingham. Oh dear.

Being a fan of a non-league team I naturally wanted to marvel, somewhat enviously, at the exploits of FC United of Manchester, Tamworth and Dover Athletic. But, I had to be careful, the pain was all too real and it was etched across his face. It must have been tough for him. Crikey, losing 2-0 to a team who play their home games at a ground called the Crabble must have been a bitter blow, so I didn't dwell on the subject.

Thankfully, he has no idea this blog exists, so rather belatedly and without further ado...LET'S GIVE A BIG HAND TO FC UNITED, TAMWORTH AND GILLINGHAM'S CONQUERORS, DOVER ATHLETIC. Woohoo!

There's no doubt about it, FC United are well and truly on the English footballing map after their excitng success at Rochdale.

Flippin heck, to beat a team who play four divisions above you takes some doing, so when Michael Norton scored a last minute winner it was the cue for frenzied scenes of celebration from United's legion of fans at Spotland. His goals at Norton & Stockton in the Third Qualifying Round must seem like Ancient history after that.

Now that is what football is all about. Forget your Manchester City v Manchester United top-flight yawnfest, I'll take Rochdale v FC United of Manchester in the FA Cup every time.

I wonder if any Man United fans are tempted to make the switch from the Barclays Pemier League to the Evo-Stik Pemier League. I wouldn't be at all surprised, after all, it's nice to feel wanted and valued by a football club.

Unfortunately for the Railwaymen of Crewe Alexandra their FA Cup campaign was derailed by a team who play their matches at that most itimidating of world footballing venues, The Lamb Ground.

I can imagine the Tamworth players who ran out onto the pitch last Saturday tapped the 'This is The Lamb Ground' sign above the tunnel entrance to help give them inspiration for the big match with Crewe. It certainly paid off as they dumped the Railwaymen out of the competition 2-1.

Hard to bleat: Aaaah, what a cute little lamb. Try telling that to fans of Crewe Alexandra.

I have a bit of a bugbear with Tamworth. While I wish them well for the season, I can't help but think that if they can play Blue Square Premier football then why can't Sutton United? I guess they and their like are the benchmark for clubs like us.

I have similar feelings for the likes of Histon, Hayes & Yeading and Forest Green. I know they're there because they deserve to be, so good luck to them, but I'd like to think we'll be up there in the not too distant future. For the time being, I'll settle for a place back in the Blue Square South.

Anyway, a hearty well done to Tamworth.

And so to Crabble-dwelling Dover Athletic and their victory over Grundle's beloved Gillingham. The Crabble holds some bad memories for us Sutton fans after we were hammered there 6-0 as Dover marched relentlessly to the Ryman League title a couple of yeares ago.

However,Gillingham v Dover had more spice to it than a spice rack owned by Mr and Mrs Spice from Spicetown-upon-Spice in Spiceshire. Not only was it a clash of two Kent clubs, but League Two Gillingham have Andy Hessenthaler in charge, who just happend to leave Dover during the summer in rather acrimonious cricumstances. Crikey.

In the best way possible the Whites gave the Gills a good old-fashioned two-fingered salute by delivering a couple of knock-out blows in the first half to create yet another magical FA Cup moment.

I'll be touching on the FA Cup again in the next few days ahead of the Ebbsfleet v Wimbledon and Milton Keynes v Stevenage replays.

Alas, Sutton fans can only dream of what might have been in the Cup this year...besides, we've got plenty to shout about at the moment anyway. We're sitting proudly on top of the league, six points clear, although other clubs have matches in hand...but we won't worry about them, let's just focus on us.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, the Sutton fans will be getting beered up on trains bound for Margate, not to enjoy the delights of the Bembom Brothers' theme park though, but to cheer on the Yellows at Hartsdown Park, the home of Margate FC.

We've done flippin' well not to concede a goal in our last four outings and much of that credit has to go down to goalkeeper Kevin Scriven. But who is going to be the next name on Sutton United's goalscoring merry-go-round this weekend after Darren Ebsworth got in on the act against Kingstonian?

Obviously Mr Jolly Esquire, Roald Dahl's the BWG, Crocodile Craig Dundas and Handy Andy Forbes (any suggestions for an Andy Forbes nickname most welcome) are leading candidates, but should the wind and rain wreak havoc tomorrow then, go on Scriv, give it your best shot man.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Sutton United blog: Mr Blobby, Jenny the Giraffe and Darren Ebsworth hits a screamer

It was the match-up alphabet lovers across the land had been eagerly anticipating. Just five weeks after the teams last met, last night the Us took on the Ks in the RPL at GGL.

Let me get straight down to the nitty-gritty. I was already fired-up for this derby game as Sutton were on a mission to beat Kingstonian before the turn of the millenium. However, I could feel my blood reach boiling point as I walked past the Plough last night at around twenty past seven.

I had to do a double-take because for a second I could have sworn I had seen Mr Blobby enjoying a booze and a fag outside the pub. But no, my eyes had been playing tricks with me. It was a rather large lager-swilling, pie-eating Kingstonian fan bursting out of his replica shirt who was telling his pal - who looked remarkably like Bob Carolgees - how much he had enjoyed seeing the Ks 'thrash' Sutton 4-1 at Gander Green Lane in the play-offs last season. What a berk. Give us some credit man, it was 4-2.

As I strolled off grinding my teeth and cursing Blob and Bob under my breath, I had my fingers crossed that Paul Doswell and the boys were as pumped up for the game as I was. Thankfully, as we now know, I need not have worried.

On what was a nippy night at Gander Green Lane I found myself being warmed up by a real belter of an opening goal from Darren Ebsworth, which almost took one of Rob Tolfrey's hands off, and a close-range effort from Craig Dundas who was in the right place at the right time to settle our nerves just before half-time. We could have had more but if you'd have said we'd win 2-0 at the start of the game then I'd have bitten your hand off, then your arm and then your head.

Aside from standing next to Dos when he's hollering ear-burning instructions to the players, I think the chap who dresses up as our club mascot Jenny the Giraffe has the right idea when it comes to beating the cold. When his mum told him to wrap up for the night, he really went for it.

Anyhow, it was a shame I didn't pass Blob and Bob on the way out of the ground, because if I had, I may have been tempted to remind them of the score with a simple hand gesture, the reverse of the one made famous by Winston Churchill in World War Two.

Although our Gander Green Lane home is in dire need of a makeover I think Sutton fans should forget about raising funds for the proposed stadium redevelopment and club together to pay for regular flights to and from the Gambia for Basiru Susso, the President of Sutton United Gambia. He's over here right now on a fact-finding mission and his prescence seems to have brought out the best in the boys. Could Bas be our new mascot? Jenny the Giraffe should be afraid, very afraid.

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Monday, 8 November 2010

Sutton United blog: The Go Compare advert, Worzel Gummidge and Kingstonian

I have come to the conclusion that I need to go away more often. While I've been on my travels Sutton United have banged in six goals without reply to cement their place at the top of the Ryman Premier League table.

Ok lads, I get the hint...I'll get on Expedia right away.

I have to admit, being away from it all had some great advantages. Not only was it great to catch some sun but it also meant I didn't have to put up with all the X Factor nonsense or listen to those annoying Go Compare adverts.

Anyway, with victories at Croydon Athletic and Maidstone United safely tucked under our belts it's noticeable that goals this season have come from such a wide variety of sources. In the last week Craig Dundas, Bradley Woods-Garness, Tom Davis, Tommy Kavanagh and Andy Forbes (2) have bagged our goals, and it's anyone's guess who will score next for the Us. Having mentioned goalscoring goalkeepers in my last post I reckon even Sutton's number one Kevin Scriven might be in with a shout of hitting the back of the net.

So, we're currently riding on the crest of a wave again and all in the world seems good...what better time to play Kingstonian. Bugger.

Yep, our new number one bogey side visit Gander Green Lane tomorrow night.  However, you won't find Worzel Gummidge's pessimistic head on these shoulders, oh no, it's all about the PMA with me.

The Ks may have the upper hand after recent contests between the two sides but their luck has to run out sooner or later (I'm sure I've said that before). I thought they deserved their play-off win over us last season, we took our foot off the gas in the second-half and they exploited it to the full. But, if we play anything like we did at Kingsmeadow last month then we will take the long as we actually remember to score this time.

I would write more, but to be honest the old jet lag is kicking-in...and besides, I want to be feeling tip-top for the big game tomorrow. Fellas, it's over to you...come on you Yellows...

Friday, 5 November 2010

Sutton United blog: Roald Dahl, Maidstone United and goalscoring goalkeepers Pat Jennings and Iain Hesford

Sun, sea, sand and a super Sutton United success to celebrate, this holiday just gets better and better, although l'm feeling slightly groggy this morning having over done the celebrating side of things.
While I was watching AC Milan take on Real Madrid at the San Siro on the tele the other night, my mind was at the Keith Tuckey Stadium in Croydon, wondering how the boys in amber and brown were getting on.
I didn't find out about the result until last night and was pleased to see that goals from Craig Dundas, Roald Dahl's the BWG and Andy Forbes meant the points took us back to top spot. I thought Croydon Athletic might prove to be a banana skin so, like Sutton supporters across the globe, was more than happy with the end result.
With internet access at my hotel a bit limited I thought I'd just scribble a few quick lines ahead of this weekend's action.
Maidstone are next for Paul Doswell and his troops. I have got a lot of time for the Stones. Not only have the Us enjoyed some great tussles with them over the years but in 1991 a pal of mine moved there and started following them, so I used to keep an eye out for their results before the club's sad demise.
When I think of Maidstone United I immediately think of Mark Golley, the robust midfielder who Sutton sold to the Kent Club in, I think it was, 1988. Golley had made a name for himself by scoring a late equaliser in Sutton's FA Cup Third Round clash with Middlesbrough in January of that year, a goal which is often forgotten about after the Us went on to beat Coventry the following year.
Other names which spring to mind are Mickey Joyce, Steve Galloway and Iain Hesford. Joyce and Galloway both swapped Sutton's amber and brown for Maidstone's amber and black in the mid-1980s, but Hesford, who has no Sutton connection at all as far as I know, sticks in my mind for one very good reason.
One day, I thought I'd surprise my pal by turning up out of the blue at the Maidstone v Hereford Fourth Division clash at Watling Street in Dartford where the Stones played at that time. I seem to remember the home side won that day 3-2 but it was a memorable match because goalkeeper Hesford scored with a long punt downfield. Crikey, I'd always wanted to see a goalkeeper score like that ever since I watched footage of Pat Jennings scoring for Spurs with a long kick from his own penalty area, and there it was, happening right in front of my eyes.
But on to current matters. Once again Sutton prepare to do battle with the Stones, who are in the lower reaches of the table. It's a big game for Dos and the boys, a victory would keep the momentum going and set the Us up nicely for another crack at Kingstonian on Tuesday night. I'm debating whether to go to that one as I am sick of the sight of the Ks. But, if I am to put my positive head on, then we've got to beat them sooner or later. But first things first, we need to roll the Stones over.
Finally, as some of the country's footballing minnows dream of FA Cup glory this weekend I thought I had the perfect opportunity to gloat about Sutton's Cup glories of bygone years last night. I got chatting with the DJ in a bar I was in when he told me he was from Coventry, so I rubbed my hands together and prepared to give him the old spiel about our famous Cup triumph of 1989, but he threw a spanner in the works by declaring he was a Chelsea supporter. Bugger, bugger, bugger...

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Sutton United blog: Croydon Athletic, Jeff Stelling and The Bromley Boys

Don't be confused by the title of this post. Jeff Stelling and the Bromley Boys isn't the name of a football-mad band formed by the Sky Sports presenter and his cronies. All will make sense if you read on.

I've taken a break from lounging by the pool for five minutes to jot down a quick line or two, with it being a match day and all that. It's a tough life,

Croydon Athletic, hmmm. I have just taken a look at our forum and see a chap going by the name of waddoneagle, not his real name you understand, has suggested that tonight's match might be an easy three points for the Us. I'm not so sure about that. Although we've obviously won a fair few games this season already, we have laboured to victory a number of times, so I am expecting the big match to be a bit of a toughy.

The talking point of the holiday so far came on Monday night while I was enjoying a few jars with some pals as we watched the Blackpool v West Brom game on the box. The conversation, as so often is the case, turned towards Sutton United. I realised that a couple of the chaps used to go regularly to Gander Green Lane but stopped for some reason, so I asked them why. Crikey, the booze-fueled conversation soon heated up.

It turns out that they lost interest around the time we last got relegated from the Conference. I was amazed to hear that one of them now follows Arsenal, who he 'has always had a soft spot for' while the other would rather watch Jeff Stelling and his pals over a few pints every weekend rather than come and watch Sutton these days. Poor show.

I don't know how you can do that. You can't suddenly change your team...can you? Come to think of it, the second chap sent me an email a few weeks ago telling me that a colleague of his had mentioned the following day's Sutton v Carshalton game and was I going to it. I pointed out to him that we were away to Lowestoft.

Booooo to him. His interest has got to such a level that he hasn't got the foggiest idea who we're playing.

Don't you worry about it. I gave the pair of them a good ticking off.

Anyway, while I sit back and put my feet up for a week I have thankfully made a wise choice in terms of my holiday reading matter. The Bromley Boys by Dave Roberts is an excellent book and I am already close to finishing it. I don't want this to seem like a shameless plug, but it's a book that will strike a chord with fans of non-league clubs across the land.

Non-league football tends to attract a certain type of person and Roberts touches on this perfectly. To top it off, Sutton United get a fair few mentions too.

I must dash, I've got some sunbathing to do. I hope the boys do the business tonight...three points please lads.