Sutton United 2 Solihull Moors 2
Moors Secure Away point at Gander Green lane writes John Clothier
Back in August Moors and Sutton played out a 2 -2 draw at the ATG Stadium with Solihull twice coming from behind. At the start of play yesterday Moors sat in fifth position in the Vanarama National league with the “U”s three places and seven points behind.
The weather in Sutton was very wet and windy but the all-weather pitch was as always ready for action. Moors were without the injured Tyrone Williams giving a start to Corey O’Keefe at right back. Otherwise Moors were at full strength.
Craig Eastmond flashed an early pass across the Moors box on 4 minutes but Ryan Boot parried the ball and Liam Daly cleared the danger. Moors responded with Jermaine Hylton finding Danny Wright in the box but Craig Dundas was first to the knock down. On 10 minutes it was Hylton again on the end of Daly’s through ball battling with Bailey but his shot from an acute angle hit the side netting.
Thomas-Asante let fly after running at Moors defence with the deflected shot falling for Bennett on the right flank who put the first of many low hard crosses but Alex Gudger cleared for the visitors. On 21 minutes Bennett again put the Solihull defence under pressure but Gudger was first to the ball at the near post as Dundas charged in.
Sutton were awarded a free kick some 30 yards out from a Kyle Storer foul and Bailey’s classic shot at the top left-hand corner of Boot’s net looked on its way to an opening goal but for an inspirational one handed save by the Moors shot stopper. Darren Carter’s through ball opened up Sutton’s defence but as it accelerated in the all-weather surface, Jamie Reckord had to knock it on first time and Hylton was unable to bring the pass under control.
With half an hour played Dundas’s pass in the box found Brown on the edge of the six-yard area but Boot saved from point blank range with his feet whilst Storer was on the line to clear the rebound.
Moors at this stage were reduced to hitting Sutton on the break but when Osborne collected a long ball out of defence on 33 minutes, he took it passed three defenders before unleashing a low shot into the right-hand corner of the net. Slightly against the run of play Solihull were in front. 0 -1.
Disappointingly Sutton were level less than two minutes later; Dundas’s shot from another Bennett cross from the right was blocked by Boot but nobody picked up the lurking Brown who toe poked the ball into the net from close range. 1 – 1.
Thomas-Asante tried a 25 yarder which flew just over the bar. Play was stopped for two minutes whilst Hylton received treatment from the physio but was able to carry on.
Harry Flowers was on for Liam Daly with 5 minutes of the half remaining, the Moors central defender feeling the effect of an Achilles problem. Osborne then turned provider with a curling corner just a whisker away from the in rushing Gudger.
One all at the break flattered Moors just a little.
Before the start of the second half, Reckord was substituted for George Carline, the Moors left back suffering from a calf strain. However, Carline’s extra-long throw paid dividends immediately when he launched the ball for Gudger to knock on to Wright who crossed for Osborne to fire home from some 8 yards. Moors were back in front 1 -2.
It could so easily have been a hat trick for the Moors’ midfielder as he combined well with Adi Yussuf but his chip over keeper Butler was cleared off the line. Another chance went begging on 65 minutes as Osborne’s throw was headed straight at Butler by Harry Flowers and Yussuf was disappointed with his bar clearing effort after linking well with Wright, again from an Osborne throw.
At the midpoint of the half Sutton were again putting pressure on their visitors and were awarded a free kick on 73 minutes when Storer clipped the heels of Eastmond as he raced into the danger zone. Hand bags at dawn reigned momentarily as Referee Pollard awarded a free kick on the edge of the semi-circle; Davis then curled an exquisite shot into the top right-hand corner of Boot’s goal - nothing the Moorsman could do about that. 2 -2
With Matt Stenson replacing Yussuf, Moors had renewed energy up front but it was still Sutton who looked the hungrier of the two sides and when they broke right to left from defence at speed Moors conceded an almost an identical free kick to the one from which the hosts scored some ten minutes earlier. This time Davis chose the left hand side of the goal but Boot was ready despite the pace of the ball.
In the penultimate minute of normal time Carter found Osborne who put the ball across the goal as Gudger again raced in – he did not make contact with the ball but his legs went under an advertising hording on the perimeter of the pitch. Fortunately, no injury was sustained.
The final action in four minutes added time saw more aggravation between the players, this time as a result of a foul by Hylton, but there were no more chances for either side
Not Moors best performance but Sutton are challenging for the play off positions and a point away was not to be sneezed at.
Moors stay in fifth position in the league; Harrogate and Wrexham both won, but extraordinarily Orient, Salford and Fylde were all beaten.
Next Saturday Moors travel to National North Southport for our first match in this years Buildbase FA Trophy. With the sandgrounders then playing Tranmere in the FA Cup on the following Monday with the hope of playing Spurs in the next round, and Moors playing Blackpool the day after that for a chance with Arsenal, it will be a difficult Saturday!
Man of the Match Jamey Osborne
Boot, Reckford (Carline), Storer ©, Daly (Flowers), Gudger, Osborne, Carter, Yussuf (Stenson), Hylton, Wright, O’Keeffe. Subs Not Used Maxwell, Thomas
Report from John Clothier Photos Courtesy of Richard King