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.

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