Sutton Town AFC returned from their Christmas break with a convincing 3-1 East Midlands Counties League victory over Greenwood Meadows, the Snipes not at their best but still having too much for the visitors.
Sutton started the half kicking down the slope and could have opened the scoring in the first few minutes when Pickering was played in after good work by Mitchell, but the young full back couldn’t beat Watson in the visitors’ goal.
Pickering was causing Greenwood problems early doors and he really should have opened the scoring as again he was played in by Mitchell.
This time he cut in onto his right foot and tried to bend the ball by Watson, but the visitor’s keeper was up to the task and tipped it away for a corner.
Sutton then had a succession of early corners but the Greenwood defence held firm.
The game was struggling for quality and the Snipes were unable to get any football flowing, Sutton looking to go from back to front too quickly and that was playing into the hands of Williams and White, who coped well with direct style of play.
Sutton changed their style and pushed Hewitt and Owens further up the field, and this nearly paid dividends straight away as Hewitt was played in with only the keeper to beat.
Hewitt lobbed the advancing Watson but watched in despair as the ball just cleared the bar and nestled on the top of the netting.
This seemed to spur Sutton into action as on the half-hour mark they finally opened the scoring.
Owens was the quickest to react in the box as Hewitt’s cross wasn’t cleared by the Greenwood defence and the little forward smashed the ball past Watson.
Greenwood were really struggling to get into the game and, although lone striker Hall was working tirelessly, West was virtually a spectator.
Sutton doubled their advantage when Grayson showed the best piece of quality of the half.
Owens dribbled across the area and shot, Watson parried the ball to Grayson who delivered a delightful chip over Watson from 20 yards that nestled into the top corner.
Greenwood kicked off the second half with a lot more purpose, and the Snipes were on the back foot for the first 10 minutes.
Firstly Hall was played in between Hewitt and Sweeney, but with only West to beat the striker couldn’t find the target.
Then came the defining moment of the game as again Greenwood had the opportunity to score.
This time it was Clowes who was played in one on one with West, but West was out like a flash to save at the attacker’s feet.
West cleared the ball straight away and, after Mitchell knocked down, Owens cut in from the right and smashed an unstoppable 30 yard thunderbolt into the top corner, Snipes turning defence into attack in a flash and Owens’ magical strike securing the points for Sutton.
Sutton made some changes bringing on Purseglove and G. Short for the last 30 minutes, but the visitors couldn’t make inroads.
Then in the 90th minute they were handed a late Christmas present from referee O’Connor as to everyone’s amazement in the ground he blew up for a penalty after G. Short clearly won the ball from Clowes.
The game had carried on and not one Greenwood player had appealed, but the referee was pointing to the spot, and up stepped Clowes to smash the ball by West to give the visitors a late consolation and ruin another clean sheet for the Snipes.
Luckily the decision didn’t affect the final result as the referee blew straight away after the Snipes kicked off.
Sutton were not at their best but after a couple of weeks off over Christmas it was to be expected, two real pieces of quality from veteran Grayson and Owens securing the points.
Next up for the Snipes is a home fixture against in form Blaby and Whetstone, who will be looking to go above Sutton in the table with victory.
SNIPES: West, Sweeney, M. Hewitt, Hollingsworth, C. Hewitt, Pickering, Rhodes, Mitchell, Owens, Guest, Grayson. Subs: G. Short, D. Short, Charlesworth, Purseglove.
SNIPES MAN OF THE MATCH: Steve Owens.