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?

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