Sutton Town AFC played their first game since 28th December when they visited Barrow Town on Saturday and came out 2-0 winners in the East Midlands Counties League Premier Division.
The Snipes couldn’t have made a better start against a gale force wind as Owens was able to control a Mitchell pass, beat the last defender and keep his cool to slot the ball by Perry in the Barrow net to give Snipes the lead.
Sutton were struggling to play any flowing football against the strong wind and Barrow were having a lot of possession, but the Snipes back line were holding firm, restricting Barrow to only long range efforts that didn’t trouble West.
Barrow’s best chance of a goal looked like coming from a corner, and after a couple of goalmouth scrambles from a succession of corners, Sutton finally managed to clear their lines after some resolute defending.
Sutton managed to go in at half-time with a 1-0 lead and must have fancied their chances of extending their lead with the wind at their backs in the second half.
Snipes kicked off for the second half and had an early chance when Mitchell was played in by Rhodes, but the forward slashed his shot wide of the goal.
Sutton still couldn’t get a stranglehold in the game and Barrow were giving as good as they were getting, but for all their possession they weren’t making any inroads into the Sutton half.
The home fans were incensed on the hour mark when Langham went down in the box after Hewitt’s sliding tackle, players and fans screaming for a penalty, but the referee waved play on to Barrow’s amazement.
The day was to get worse for Barrow, as 10 minutes later Sutton put the game to bed.
Fine work by Rhodes and Owens gave the chance to Mitchell as he raced one on one with Perry, and though the keeper made a fine stop on Mitchell’s first effort, the striker was quickest to react and smashed home the rebound to give the Snipes a 2-0 lead.
Sutton were in control now and Mitchell had a couple of chances as Sutton hit Barrow on the break as the home side threw men forward, but neither could be taken.
Then with 15 minutes remaining Barrow were given a glimmer of hope as the referee produced a second yellow of the day for Guest after the midfielder caught Grady late, and Sutton would have to play the last 15 minutes with 10 men.
Barrow threw on Phillips and Maclennon in an attempt to salvage something from the game, but Phillips could only smash a free kick high and wide of West’s goa.
Their best chance fell to Langham as he was one on one with Charlesworth, but he was stopped by a wonderfully timed challenge from Charlesworth as the striker looked to drive the ball at West from close range and that was to be the last action of the game.
Sutton would not be too happy with their performance, but will be delighted with their work rate after such a long break and taking all three points on their return to competitive action.
The Snipes now travel midweek to FA Vase heroes St Andrews in the quarter-final of the League Cup, and face Anstey Nomads on Saturday at The Fieldings.
SNIPES West, Naughton, M. Hewitt, Charlesworth, C. Hewitt, Pickering, Rhodes, Mitchell, Owens, Guest, Fields. Subs: G. Short, D. Short, Mitchell.
SNIPES’ MAN OF THE MATCH: Steve Owens.