Article by Johnnie Lowery
On a hot September afternoon Sutton and table topping opponents FC Halifax could not be separated, a 1-1 draw probably a fair result.
The game was tepid throughout and almost resembled a pre-season friendly with few chances for either side, Sutton’s first opportunity coming after Aaron Drinan blocked a clearance from a visiting defender but took too heavy a touch to get the ball down and fashion a shooting opportunity. At the other end Dayle Southwell shot just wide after a corner was only half cleared. On the half hour mark the Shaymen were just inches away from going ahead, a cracking volley from the edge of the box from Ben Tomlinson hitting the post and bouncing away. U’s improved and had chances at the end of the half, firstly for centre back Charlie Clough who received the ball in a good position at the edge of the box before curling just wide. A few minutes later probably the best bit of football that the half saw allowed Tom Bolarinwa a chance from inside the box but his attempt to curl the ball around the defender closing him down and into the top corner was way off.
Ten minutes into the second half Sutton were in front. A storming run from captain for the day Craig Eastmond was ended illegally on the edge of the box by a visiting defender, and Kenny Davis’ freekick found the back of the net after taking a deflection off the wall, ironic given that the wall had travelled a good distance closer to the ball than the 10 yards allowed. However less than ten minutes later the scores were level again, Southwell getting away from a couple of defenders on the edge of the box to fire home after United had lost possession from their own throw in. In truth neither side looked particularly like going on to win the game from here, though Sutton nearly did so twice in stoppage time. First a Kieron Cadogan cross came through to Tommy Wright whose effort was just about blocked by a defender, before a minute later Dale Bennett received the ball in space from a short corner but took too long on the ball and failed to take his opportunity to shoot.