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Sun 30th March 2014 - Cup
U17 1 V 0 Sutton Town
Pitch : Moor Lane Pavilion
Match Report



Having finally recovered from the first epic instalment of this ding dong derby confrontation I’m sure we were all thrilled to discover there would be a sequel because this meant we could once more enjoy the spectacle of Right Twix and Left Twix locking horns on a touchline near you. Sadly, with Carl insisting that caramel should flow onto biscuit before being bathed in chocolate and Steve adamant that caramel should cascade onto biscuit before being cloaked in chocolate I wasn’t confident that a mere football match could resolve such deep philosophical divisions. Either way I refused to pick a side! Football did however show its ability to unite people as the crumbliest flakiest supporters this side of Villa park mingled together peacefully for some light hearted pre-match banter. Linesmen Nigel and Woody both returned by popular public demand and the scene was set.

I believe that some players from both sides melted on the last occasion but lessons will no doubt have been learned. Banksy’s boys would now realise that Four Oaks are no pushovers and step up their game accordingly while Carl’s kids would surely be less in awe of Sutton’s galaxy of stars and have the confidence to revel in the atmosphere. All in all we were looking forward to a splendid game played in the best possible taste. As kick off approached I was touched to see the Four Oaks management duo Willy Wonka and the Milky Bar Kid getting wrapped up in hugs with their triple-deckered counterparts Crunchie, Munchie and Chunky with their temporary blow up dug outs.  Both teams revved up as they jostled for position at the starting gate, the chequered flag came down and we strapped ourselves in for the ride of our lives! If you like a lot of chocolate on your biscuit these are definitely the clubs to join and this was a game to make your mouth water ….

For most of the early stages Sutton were on the front foot and looked well capable of piercing the home defence. Four Oaks rode the storm however and new boy Jake was the first to show attacking intent when he made a storming run down the left wing to earn a corner. This inspired a period of pressure on the Sutton goal with Matt and Alex down the left and Rob down the right forcing  two further corners in quick succession which came to nothing. Sutton responded well, forcing Dan into a good save and putting a volley just wide before the action went to the other end where Mario just failed to latch onto a  lobbed pass from Pavan. The game continued to swing back and forth like a pendulum and Dan had to make another outstanding save from a volley from the edge of the box to keep the game goalless. Sutton then had to deal with two deep crosses into their box before Mario was again crowded out from close range having caused his usual havoc.

With both sides looking dangerous a goal seemed highly likely and when it came it inevitably involved Mario. The 6 foot bundle of energy latched onto a loose ball on the half hour mark and ran full steam ahead straight into the soft centre of the Sutton defence. He eventually got to the bye line and spread the ball across the area where sniffer Lewis was on hand to bundle the ball into the net from almost on the line. With half time approaching Sutton tested the home defence but Eliot, Alfie, Matt and Woody were stubborn barriers at the back and Dan was calmness personified in mopping up anything his defence could not deal with.

After the referee decided that the teams needed to have a break I heard Steve whispa to his lads that the game was a marathon not a snickers. They could not however afford to fudge the fact that an improvement was necessary in the second half. The difference between the sides was wafer thin but the boost of an early goal would surely send confidence rippling through the team and their quality would shine through. Carl's half-time topic was good news for his boys but they had to keep their concentration and composure  if they wanted to ensure the wagon wheels didn’t come off in the second half. It was certainly not going to be a picnic but if they worked, rested and played to their maximum  the strawberry cream of a semi final spot was there for the taking....

Within a minute of the restart Four Oaks earned a corner but it was their opponents who dominated the early exchanges and they went agonisingly close to finding an elusive equaliser on several occasions. Four Oaks stood firm however and they almost scored a breakaway goal when Jake found time and space to p-p-p-pick up Rob on the edge of the box. The flying winger was unable to get his shot away however and the opportunity went begging. Chances continued to flow like a chocolate fountain at both ends and how this game didn't become a goal feast is a complete mystery to me.

With time running out the free kick count was beginning to resemble a cricket score as passions grew and there were alarms in both areas. Firstly Mario had a shot blocked and Josh put the rebound excruciatingly wide and then a Sutton forward got his whole nut onto the end of a cross but the effort flew narrowly over the bar. The tension was unbearable in the closing minutes but the mercurial Pavan had a chance to ease the nerves when he took a free kick from just outside the box. Unfortunately he could not repeat the magic moment of his goalscoring effort in the previous game and the ball floated harmlessly over the top. Nevertheless its amazing what Rai's son can do! Just to wind the crowd up to fever pitch Sutton had a free kick in the very last minute of time added on for handbags at dawn. With all 22  players plus coaches, officials and supporters in the Four Oaks area the kick was bravely headed clear and the final whistle subsequently went to bring the relentless action to an end. There followed rapturous applause from the home crowd who thoroughly enjoyed their celebrations. It's interesting to note that the last time Sutton lost was so long ago Carl could get onto a football pitch and treat an injured player inside 15 minutes and Andy had a decent haircut......

This result means Four Oaks progress to the semi finals of this cup but it appears likely that these two teams will meet again in the other cup for a “decider”.  I am sure that both sets of coaches will have plenty to think about before the next encounter but for the time being Fruit and Nut will be thrilled by the heart and desire shown by their players in this match. They did have to hang on in there at times but they didn't crumble as they did last time out. Crucially they kept their composure when the going got tough and I suspect this was the most vital ingredient of their victory. Although this was another closely fought contest, in my humble opinion Four Oaks just about deserved their taste of paradise on this occasion. They will however have to bring their best game into the next meeting because I fully expect a reaction from Sutton. Will it be dull? I should cocoa!

PS I feel quite peckish after all that chocolate talk. I think I’ll pop off for a “walnut whip” they can’t touch you for it......

PPS The manager quite rightly didn't single out a man of the match but I would like to nominate parent's representative Mr Mewis for the most amusing dad award. At one point he shouted out something about a fat bloke not knowing anything about football and 10 of us took exception!

Too many Man of the Match both on and off the pitch, so no individual award this week.

Manager's Award goes to every player in the squad for getting us to this position in the season. Superb from all of you.

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