Sutton Coldfield Town 0 Market Drayton Town 0

Tuesday 9th October 2012
Sutton Coldfield Town 0 Market Drayton Town 0
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South
At: Coles Lane
Kick-off-7-45 pm
Admission: £7; Programme: £1-50 (24 pages)
Attendance: 93
Weather: cold, dry
Duration: first-half: 46:26; second-half: 47:06

Driving home, I kept on thinking ‘does it matter?’ after my run of 91 consecutive games came to an end at Coles Lane. Of course not, other than I would have been nice to have reached the magical century. It was a case of missed chances, decent saves and a few took many offside flags, one of which, quite correctly, denied Sutton a first-half goal. I didn’t know until full-time that Sutton hadn’t recorded a 0-0 since March 2009 or hadn’t had one at Coles Lane for around nine years – trust me to visit when those sequences came to an abrupt end!

Coles Lane has always been a favourite of mine with the tall stand that, according to Kerry Miller’s The History of Non-League Football Grounds, was purchased from Manchester City during the mid-1950s. This was my 11th visit in total and a fourth this year, partly due to the artificial pitch.

Sutton Coldfield (in all blue) got the game underway defending the car park end in the first half and immediately started creating chances, which kept Gingerbreads’ goalkeeper Damien Stevens busy. In the 10th minute, Matt Gardner intercepted a weak back pass header from Ryan Connor but saw his shot smartly turned round by Stevens.

I honestly though Jamie Sheldon’s well-struck 25-yard drive was going to burst the back of the net as it flew past Stevens – yet the ball ends inches the wrong side of the right-hand post.

Going into the game, two points and seven league positions separated Sutton (9th with 10 points from 8 games) and Market Drayton (16th with 8 points from 8 games). Both were looking to get back to winning ways as Sutton lost 4-0 at home to leaders Coalville on Saturday while the Gingerbreads drew 2-2 at Mickeover Sports.

Back to the action and the Royals (Sutton’s nickname) had the ball in the back of the net in the 18th minute. Sheldon’s deflected shot fell into the path of Luke Chapman who sidefooted home from an offside position.

Never mind, still a good 70 minutes left but one stat was starting to ‘trouble’ me bearing in mind I really needed someone to score. Sutton had only scored nine league goals so far in 2012/13. However, the form guide in th programme gave me hope as Market Drayton’s last six league games had produced 26 goals.

The Gingerbreads really threatened in the final third until, on the half hour, Jake Bedford on his league debut, acrobatically turned round a follow-up shot from Martyn Davies after Dorryll Proffitt’s initial effort was blocked. Why are Market Drayton nicknamed the Gingerbreads?

I couldn’t fault Sutton for effort as they continued creating chances…

32nd minute – Gardner’s header off a defender for a corner

33rd minute – low right-foot shot from Chapman just wide of the right-hand post

35th minute – shot from unmarked Sheldon rebounded off the goalkeeper’s knees

37th minute – shot from Kristan Ramsey-Dickson blocked by Proffitt

38th minute – rising 25-yard left-foot shot from Chapman thumped the right-hand post

“We’ve got to be taking these chances,” someone shouted. Little did he know that somebody in the stand (i.e. me) was also desperate for one to go in as well!

Goalless at half-time.

I started to become resigned to the fact that there might not be a goal as the chances started to dry up during the opening 15 minutes of the second half. A poor clearance by Stevens fell straight at the feet of Sheldon but the goalkeeper recovered to save the resulting 35-yard shot.

The Gingerbreads made the first change and took off one of their forwards to stiffen up the midfield. I feared they wanted to “keep the back door shut” and make sure they didn’t lose.

Bedford kept alert and turned round a decent 25-yard shot from Kyle Blake just after the hour mark.

For a moment, I thought the visitors would score in the 75th minute. Unchallenged Proffitt intercepted a loose pass from Joe Kettle but Bedford got down to smartly save the resulting shot.

With ten minutes to go, I started to think about how I might start this report. What about … It was a tale of missed chances at Coles Lane as my run of 91 consecutive games without a 0-0 came to a frustrating end, etc.

Then, Chapman hit the left-hand post from a narrow angle in the 86th minute.

Hope… Sutton substitute Chris Gumery almost intercepted a weak backpass from Sean Jones but Stevens raced off his line to boot to safety.

Into stoppage time and could either side do what Northwich Villa did at Eccleshall last month – score an injury-time winner?

With seconds remaining, Gumery met Louis Keenan’s left-wing cross and Stevens produced a wonderful point-black save to push the ball out for a corner.

And that was it.

As soon as the referee blew the full time whistle, the PA announcer (not over the tannoy) mentioned “that’s the record gone” because no Sutton game had finished 0-0 since March 2009. Apparently, Sutton hadn’t drawn 0-0 at home in the league for nine years either.

I hope I’ve not been too negative as Coles Lane is a really nice place to watch a game of football with normally at least one goal scored.

Sutton Coldfield Town (blue/blue/blue): 1. Jake Bedford, 2. Aaron Stringfellow, 3. Louis Keenan, 4. Lee Parsons, 5. Rikki Bains, 6. Joe Kettle, 7. Kristan Ramsey-Dickson, 8. Scott Rickards (capt), 9. Matt Gardner, 10. Jamie Sheldon, 11. Luke Chapman. Subs: 12. Phil Male (not used), 14. Dean Rathbone (for Ramsey-Dickson, 70), 15. Jimmy Quiggan (for Gardner, 63), 16. Chris Gumery (for Sheldon, 80), 17. Andy Ling (not used). Manager: Neil Tooth.

Market Drayton Town (white/white/white): 1. Damien Stevens, 2. Matt Johnson, 3. Ryan Connor, 4. Rhys Swetman, 5. Matt Cohen, 6. Kyle Blake, 7. Nick Porter, 8. Shaun Humphries, 9. Adam Proudlock, 10. Martyn Davies (capt), 11. Dorryll Proffitt. Subs: 12. Paul McMullen (not used), 14. Andy Cooke (not used), 15. Trumane Armstrong (not used), 16. Sean Jones (for Proudlock, 57). Manager: Jimmy Mullen.

Referee: Christopher Husband (Worcester).
Assistants: Richard Gardner and Stephen Checketts.

Goals: none

Cards: none