Ground number 60 for me tonight, and I'd be lying if I told you all that I'd expected this to end up being a classic. Following my trip to Dulwich on Saturday for a great day of FA Trophy Quarter-Final action, I was looking forward to getting back into my stride and crossing-off yet another Evo-Stik ground. Tonight's target- Coles Lane.
|The main stand in all its glory|
|At least if the game was cancelled I could have me some Table Tennis action|
|The Royals vs The Mariners, let's ave it|
|The most royal of Royal fans enjoying the game so far|
|Back to the blue bar, where the fans will almost certainly not be feeling too blue|
Whilst in the bar at HT, I noticed some folk donning Rushall Olympic clothing- wish I'd donned my Olympic scarf, purchased during my trip there in August. I plodded around the ground for a bit longer and then went back up to the Gods for the second 45. Not much had changed weather-wise and with on-and-off rain beating down, I was glad to see the half start with a goal to raise the heat at Coles Lane. For the third time, the goal yet again from a set-piece and this time it was a free-kick. Marine's kick landed eventually in the 6-yard box and with the ball seeming to bobble about for ages, Peter Wylie eventually booted the ball into the net- "Fucking shit! Embarrassing goal, SHIT!" was the only way Richard Sneekes could describe it from the bench, as the away side sensed another comeback. Sutton 2-1 Marine. And if that was the bad, hold on to your umbrellas for the great. On 52 minutes, Kenny Strickland stood 30-yards out with a dead-ball situation in a central position. He swiftly pelted the ball past the wall and on to the underside of the bar, before watching as the kick finished-up in the back of a motionless Wren's net. Sutton 2-2 Marine. With four goals from four set-pieces, we weren't finished yet either. Just 3 minutes on from the 4 minute comeback of the travelling side, Marine conceded a contentious free-kick in a dangerous crossing position. Not fancying a crack at a wonder-goal like Stickland's, the Royals taker dinked a pass into the area and after a certain amount of partial clearance from Marine, the ball fell to Aaron Birch in plenty of space from 18-yards. He took the ball down well and after letting it bounce, he guided the ball past the rushing Mariners and in for the winning goal. Sutton 3-2 Marine.
|With the Merseysiders in the corner, accents were not in short-supply in north Brum tonight|
There was a few more chances to come and some particularly poor refereeing calls. Sorry, I know the guy said not to comment on the ref. After Matty Hamilton struck the side-netting from a volley for the away team, Ryan Robbins had a go at the Mariners defence. After showing the touch of Zinedine Zidane to waltz past the back-four, he then showed the finish of Nate Blissett from 25-yards as his kick cleared the goal by at least three times in height and twice in width. By the end of the match both managers seemed to be fed-up of today's official, ironically named Mr. Law, and with 75 minutes gone the two managers joined for a cuddle as they consoled each other over some of the things that hadn't done their way. Amongst all of this embracing, Montel Gibson came off the bench and netted a fourth home goal, but unfortunately for him it was chalked-off for offside. Both sides could've got a goal or two more at the death, but there was to be no more action there and the game would end 3-2 to the hosts, who now sit just six-points off Marine and of course that desperately sought after place outside of the drop-zone.
|Full-time and the Royals have edged past the Marines|
After the worst drive ever back to Stoke- taking well over two and a half hours- I think that I'm going to take on a more local ground at the weekend, and if all goes to plan I'll be at Pershall Park on Saturday to see Eccleshall take on Silsden. In the meantime, thanks to Sutton Coldfield Town and Marine for putting on a great evening of football at a lovely non-league ground. The Evo-Stik leagues are always my favourite level of footy to watch, and I'll look forward to many more grounds over the next few years. Good luck to the Royals and Marine in the fight for survival!