Sutton Coldfield Town 2 Halesowen Town 0

Wednesday 26th December 2012
Sutton Coldfield Town 2 Halesowen Town 0
Evo-Stik League Northern Premier Division One South
At: Coles Lane
Kick-off: 3-00pm
Admission: £7; Programme: £1-20 (24 pages)
Weather: mild, showers
Attendance: 202
Duration: first-half: 46:50; second-half: 49:32

Two unanswered goals in nine minutes at the end of the first half from Lee Parsons and Mark Danks gave Sutton Coldfield Town a 2-0 victory over Halesowen Town. The win, in front of the biggest crowd of the season at Coles Lane, kept the promotion-chasing Royals in touch with the top two while the Yeltz slipped a bit further away from the play-off zone.

Whatever the weather, I’d always planned to visit one of my favourite local non-league grounds, especially as this game pitted 3rd-placed Sutton and 7th-placed Halesowen. Waterlogged pitches first at Stafford Town (v Brocton) and then at Heath Hayes (v Rocester) put paid to the ‘first leg’ of a Boxing Day ‘double’. By the time I found out that Sutton United’s 11-30 am kick-off was on, I’d already committed to dropping the family off at Star City to watch Skyfall before continuing to Coles Lane.

As I mentioned, Sutton (39 points from 23 games) went into the game in third position, six points better off than Carlton Town, the first team outside the play-off zone. Visitors Halesowen (30 points from 21 games) stood one place below Carlton in seventh. The programme included a form guide table covering the last six games which showed Sutton third (four wins, one draw and one defeat) and Halesowen (four wins and two defeats) fifth.

Heavy rain preceded kick-off and Halesowen (in a change kit of all green) got the game underway attacking the car park end in the first half. As usual I sat in the stand, today in the company of Steve Munday who HAD watched the earlier game Sutton United which the hosts won 6-0.

Sutton had Lee Evans in goal and the former Chasetown and Stafford Rangers man tipped over an early 30-yard shot from Mitchell Botfield. The Royals’ first chance came from a free-kick which Mark Danks curled over the bar (photo right).

The diving Evans was also called into action just after the half-hour mark to turn round a well-struck 20-yard left-footer from ex-Sutton striker Craig Milligan.

Someone one in the stand commented that “Halesowen look strong defensively” and I felt he should have gone further to add that Sutton looked strong at the back as well.

Often in tight games, it takes something exceptional to break the deadlock and this was the case in the 37th minute. From fully 35 yards out in the middle, Lee Parsons hit an audacious lob which cleared Dean Colemen and also the bar. The assistant gave a goal kick then suddenly Sutton started to celebrate when the Halesowen goalkeeper retrieved the ball from the back of the net.

The goal got Sutton’s ultras singing!

While the opening goal was a bit bizarre, the best way of describing Sutton’s second goal was ‘clinical’. Danks, who netted four times on my last visit to Coles Lane, latched on to a throughball into the area and hit a first time shot low past Coleman into the bottom-left corner.

Halesowen made a change at the interval and came out for the second half on the attack. Evans produced another decent save to get down and turn a low 25-yard free-kick by Brendan Kelly round for a corner. The Royals ‘number one’ again excelled just before the hour mark to keep out a shot by substitute Luke Corbett hit from just outside the area.

With Evans in top form and the Sutton defence solid, the Yeltz found it difficult to create decent chances especially for Ben Haseley, the division’s leading scorer with 17 goals. Haseley got a sniff around the 79th minute when he first shot against the bar, then volleyed over in Halesowen’s next attack.

The win kept Sutton in touch with the two teams above them. Leaders Coalville, averaging over three goals a game, could only draw 0-0 at home to Loughborough Dynamo while second-placed Stamford beat Kidsgrove Athletic 4-1.

Sutton Coldfield Town (blue/blue/blue): 1. Lee Evans, 2. Scott Lycett, 3. Louis Keenan, 4. Lee Parsons (capt), 5. Joel Kettle, 6. Phil Male, 7. Daryl Taylor, 8. Danny Edwards, 9. Kristian Ramsey-Dickson, 10. Mark Danks, 11. Luke Chapman. Subs: 12. Reece Leek (for Danks, 79), 14. Jamie Sheldon (for Taylor, 71), 15. Carlos Thompson (not used), 16. Andy Ling (not used), 17gk. Jake Bedford (not used).

Halesowen Town (green/green/green): 1. Dean Coleman, 2. Eric Bowen, 3. Nathanial Caines, 4. Mitchell Botfield, 5. Gavin Winsper, 6. Brendan Kelly, 7. Aaron Griffiths, 8. Neil Barnfield (capt), 9. Craig Milligan, 10. Ben Haseley, 11. Jean-Michel Gueyes. Subs: 12. Naveeed Arshad (for Botfield, 83), 14. Joe Hull (for Winsper, 87), 15. Luke Corbett (for Griffiths, ht), 17gk. Paul Evans (not used).

Referee: Neil Pratt.
Assistants: Robert Hathaway and Paul Wainman.

1-0 Lee Parsons (37)
2-0 Mark Danks (45+1)

Cards: none

Photo on programme cover taken by Ian Hartwell