We at From The Lane decided that to round up our first few months online and the end of the season we should produce hopefully what will be the first of our season reviews, followed by what again we hope will become a yearly tradition, the "From The Lane Awards".
The season started badly for the U’s, as they failed to win a game in the league until the 11th attempt, beating Hitchin 2-0 away on the 22nd September to lift themselves off the bottom of the Ryman Premier. Frankly, this was a baffling run of form, given some encouraging performances in the pre-season friendlies including a 2-2 draw with Bristol City.
The defeat of Hitchin brought on a good run in the league with three wins in the next five games against Croydon, Aldershot and Heybridge lifting the team to 13th. The game against Aldershot witnessed one of the goals of the season, Jon Palmer curling the ball from the corner of the area into the far corner of the net past a helpless Gareth Howells. Unfortunately, this period also saw the U’s knocked out of the FA Cup with a disappointing display away to Aldershot that allowed them to run out easy 3-0 winners and our exit from the FA Trophy at the hands of Hendon.
Following a defeat at home to Canvey in November, though, the U’s began to produce some good football, a number of youth and reserve players distinguishing themselves in the first team as the team went unbeaten in the league throughout December, January and February including a 6-1 demolition of Harrow. Our dismal form in cup competitions continued, however, as the team was humiliated 7-1 by Grays in the League Cup.
In the second half of March, Sutton’s form dipped again, and a major goal drought ensued, Eddie Akuamoah’s solo effort against Kingstonian on April 9th, the only U’s goal in a seven match period. United were still to have an impact on the title race, though, as they held Canvey Island to a draw on the penultimate Saturday of the season before finishing with a draw against Grays and a 2-0 win over Hampton & Richmond. Final League Position: 12th.
Official Club Awards
Vice-Presidents' Youth Team Player Of The Year: Nick Bailey
Patrons' Reserve Team Player Of The Year: Darren Beale
Ralph Carr Memorial Trophy: Paul Honey
Patrons' Clubman Of The Year: Clive Soper
Football Club's Player Of The Year: Paul Honey
Supporter's Club Player of the Year: Paul Honey
Young Supporter's Club Player of the Year: Eddie Akuamoah
Top Scorer: Rob Haworth, 18 goals
Biggest Win: 6-1 v Harrow, 5th January 2002
Biggest Defeat: 1-7 v Grays, 15th January 2002
Games won in a row: 4 (twice), 8th December 2001 – 5th January 2002 & 29th January – 16th February 2002
Games lost in a row: 3 (three times), 25th August – 1st September 2001, 3rd – 13th November 2001 & 16th – 30th March 2002
Games without losing: 8, 24th November 2001 – 12th January 2002
Games without winning: 10 (twice), 18th August – 18th September 2001 & 16th March – 23rd April 2002
Games without conceding: 2 (twice), 22nd – 25th September 2001 & 29th January – 2nd February 2002
Games without scoring: 5, 16th March – 6th April 2002
The First 'From The Lane' End of Season Awards
SUFC Young Player of the Year
SUFC Player of the Year
Best Sutton Performance
Sutton v. Harrow (A). A 6-1 victory with a hat-trick from Eddie Akuamoah and one each for Rob Haworth, Phil Wingfield and Craig Brown. This saw the U's biggest win in the Ryman League this season and in such an emphatic way.
Home Goal of the Season
Jon Palmer v. Aldershot. Palmer on the left hand edge of the box sent a stunning left footed shot curling into the top right hand corner over a despairing Gareth Howells.
Away Goal of the Season
Eddie Akuamoah v. Kingstonian. Running 'Giggs' like from the half-way line to secure a draw for The U’s, and against his old club, was he quite happy about that? Oh Yeah!
Pre-Season Player of the Year
Matt Fowler - He was wicked in the friendlies... what happened?
The ‘Chris Boothe’ Award for most audible player comment
‘Can I just say something?’. Chris Boothe (Who goes on to explain that the free kick should be taken by a left-footed player, so that the ball curves away from the ‘keeper)
Celebration of the Year
Michael Mison v. Maidenhead (H). Never has a U's player been as pleased as the 'Mighty' one to have scored as his shirt came off and was swung unceremoniously about his head several times.
The ‘What the Blazes?’ Award for most bizarre moment
Chuck Martini goes up for a corner against Hampton & Richmond, when the ball is cleared he stands still before slowly sauntering back. ‘Err? Chuck, there’s no-one in goal.’
Opposition Manager of the Year
Jeff King (Canvey Island). To be honest, we had no idea he was their manager when we joked with him about us giving them a beating. Still, he had the last laugh when they promptly scored five goals to overturn our slim one goal lead.
The ‘Jar Jar Binks’ Award for most annoying supporters
Aldershot. ‘Stop moaning, you are winning, you know!’
The ‘Golden Balls’ Award for most stupid nickname
Narrowly edging out ‘The Trams’ (Croydon's nickname) is Tim ‘Window’ Sills / Kingstonian – What can I say? It’s just stupid.
Best Floodlights in the League
Ours. They’re so cool and no other ground in the league comes close to their brilliance.
The ‘S**t Ground, No Fans’ Award for the worst ground and least fans
Croydon. Would you want to pay to watch them, though? Thought not.
The ‘Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Award for unluckiest Ryman Premier team
Canvey. There aren’t many seasons when you’ll win 30 games, score 107 goals, get 95 points, and still fail to win the league. Tough break, eh?