Great advert for JPL
By Simon King
Two strong sides battled it out in entertaining draw
Two strong sides battled it out in entertaining draw. Sutton will probably be the slightly happier with the result but we have no complaints after stealing a victory in the reverse. Both teams were missing players but with both our goalkeepers missing and three centre backs away some would have been a little nervous. Under 14s keeper Josh Lee stepped up and we welcomed back Amari Richards to the squad from a mini break.
We started really brightly with James Welch
and Oli Hartland setting the tempo in midfield. Fletch went close in the 2nd minute. It was against the run of play that Sutton took the lead on 10 minutes when a loopy corner was headed home by Max McNulty with little challenge. The boys responded well with some excellent football. None more so than a great move that started in defence before Callum Swain
put a delightful ball into Kyle Peters
. An early cross saw James Fletcher
hit the bar and Lewis Allen head over with the goal gaping. We were looking good down the flanks and defending with good shape so when we went into the break the plan was to keep going wide.
Lewis Allen terrorised the left back in the second period with excellent support from Will Bishop. A number of dangerous crosses came from the right which Sutton had to defend well. A free kick on the right from Jimmy fell to Dan Harvey
. The makeshift centre back controlled and smashed the ball low to make it 1-1. Sutton had one real chance in this period, young Josh saving well with his feet.
We had definitely had the best of the first half but it was all evens at the break. Credit to our opponents who recognised the danger of Lewis and adapted their tactics in the third period.
We started really well again and James Fletcher
got a deserved goal. A ball over the top from Jimmy dropped for the powerful striker. The keeper tried to clear but smashed the ball against Fletch and into the goal. Sutton responded with their best spell of the game. They played with pace and power and Dan Harvey
and Tom Trevis were brilliant in stopping Kye Hemans whilst Will Bishop had a great tussle with Asa Crosling. It was another set piece that saw Sutton draw level. An unbelievable save from Josh kept the scores level. I don't think any of us could quite understand how the Stour shot stopper kept it out (save of the season).
The final period was pretty even - we had a number of half chances and crosses but headed wide or over. Sutton defended really well against the additional threat of Corey Sheaf and Amari Richards. We also defended equally as well against the counter attacking threat of Sutton.
The game ended 2-2. To take 4 points from Sutton shows what a good side we have become. We wish Adam, Darren and the lads all the best for their remaining games. We have had two really competitive, proper games of football against opponents that conduct themselves very similarly to us. It has been a pleasure to play them.
Todays MOM could have gone to a number of players but skipper James Welch
showed great discipline in his performance. He covered so much ground and created both goals. A proper Saturday player in the making.
Good luck to the lads in their cup final tomorrow.