3...2...1...And We're Back In The Room

Sutton Town 0 FC United of Manchester 4

Pre-Season Friendly


Blue skies, they said
Every year pre-season rolls around, I, and many others, get all excited cos football is back. And every time I go to a pre-season friendly, I swear to Holly Willoughby (praise be her name) that I won't go to another one.

I don't know why this happens. During the season, I fully understand the folly of attending PSFs. I spend many comforting hours laughing at people who analyse international friendlies as these games had any greater significance than those between Maltby Main and Doncaster Rovers. And yet, come the start of July, I find myself with my nose pressed into the computer screen, looking for that mythical beast: an enticing game.

Day Release
Which brings us to The Fieldings, on the outskirts of Mansfield. Quite how this fixture came in to being is beyond me. Former Retford manager Mark Shaw, now head honcho at Sutton, no doubt has some contacts from his scouting days, butt quite where the cross-over with Manchester's finest (and I say that with no hint of irony)would be  I am at a loss to say. Regardless, the coach rolled in, as did approx 250 folk, many of whom seemed to care a little too fervently for this correspondents tastes, and "real" football was back.

The game itself was fairly processional  for the visitors, the gulf in class in no way negated by the summer break. Sutton had some big fellas, but it is fair to say that, in the main, they weren't really athletes. FC were somewhat dwarfed, but compensated by being better in every department.

Helped in the first half by the not inconsiderable slope, FC were attacking at will, with the ever mercurial Carlos Roca not really needing to get involved. New acquisition from Curzon, Michael Norton, appeared to have forgotten his banjo as he persisted in attempts to hit the bovines backside. And were the only two I recognized. Sorry.

There were other stand out performers, FCs #6 and #10 for example. But to these eyes the two real stand out players were in the home shirts. There was a brute of a centre half who really could have eaten all the pies (although not even in the same league as Darren Caskey, apparently) And there was the omnipresent athlete up front who must be good cos he had fancy-dan boots. And, as ever, he wasn't. Quite why shit footballers insist on drawing attention to themselves by wearing such ludicrous footwear is anyone's guess. And something which has been pondered for more eloquently than anything I can throw together.

If anything, the final 4-0 scoreline flattered Sutton, as Norton continued to be profligate, although he did eventually get a goal in the second half, from the penalty spot. No doubt he will be a success for FC. He has pedigree. And sensible-ish boots. As noted at the outset, I try not to put any store on PSFs. They are there for fitness, and to raise revenue where possible. But it'd be nice if the groundsmen mowed the lawn first.

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NNC

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