Brannon's Blog - SCTFC 1 v 0 Halesowen
Jamie Brannon reports on the Easter Monday victory over Halesowen.....
In their last home game of the season, Sutton Coldfield Town took their survival fight into the last day of season with a 1-0 win over local rivals Halesowen Town. The result means Sutton remain in the relegation zone on goal difference. They will need to better the result of the team above them, Corby, tomorrow.
The opening exchanges of the game were edgy, Sutton failing to show composure on the ball and lacking intensity, as if the severity of their league position was preventing them from playing their game. Halesowen, now safe, were the side manipulating possession far more effectively. Their best early chance fell to Lee Chilton after industrious work from Serigne Diop.
The Yeltz had the best of the opening half hour and Diop almost put them ahead before the Halesowen dominance started to subside.
Sutton gradually started to find some attacking territory but had to wait for a free-kick from Vincent just prior to half-time for their first decent chance, an opportunity well saved by Daniel Platt.
Sutton's intensity ratcheted up several notches in the second half, as Max Wright proved to be a menace down the right, exhibiting wonderful close control and utilising his speed to get in behind, before often delivering a potent cross. He was in fine fettle.
Clear cut chances were still not plentiful but Sutton were very much penning Halesowen back for extended periods and were close to connecting with a series of good crosses. Platt was also equal to a pair of headers from substitute Dave Howarth, who has been benched in favour of Ryan Robbins recently.
Sutton's pressure eventually told when goalmouth chaos saw the loose ball fall into the path of Nat Kelly who slammed it home to offer The Royals a much needed lifeline in their battle to avoid the drop.
With Corby also winning on Easter Monday, Sutton know they need assistance from Coalville, who host Corby at the same time as Sutton visit Workington, a notoriously difficult place to go.
After the match I spoke to Richard Sneekes about the challenge ahead and the Halesowen game: "The pressure showed in the first half and we looked paralysed with fear. Halesowen to their credit played well and weren't going to do us any favours, which is what one expects from any team. Everybody has got a duty to play their strongest side, which is what they did, unlike some others. Reality set in at half-time, combined with a few harsh words that we had to give ourselves a chance for Saturday. I thought we played better in the second half, with intensity and urgency, and created some good chances.
Sutton know they have to better Corby's result and Sneekes had this to say about the last day: "Nobody gave us a chance when we took over that we would still be in the mix on the last day but we are. We've got 32 points out of 25 games, shows we should be mid-table but we are where we are. Credit to everyone involved, but we can't have any regrets come 4:45 on Saturday!