Sutton Athletic 1 (Bryan 31)
Erith & Belvedere 1 (Quan 33)
London Hire Stadium, Hextable
Saturday 2nd March 2019 KO: 3:00pm
Southern Counties East Football League Division One
A massive match at the top of the SCEFL Division One with the two sides sitting 3rd and 4th in the league before kick-off. Both sides have games in hand against the two sides above them so a win today could have huge implications at the top of the league. Erith & Belevedere (“E&B”) came into the match on a run of 8 successive victories although Sutton themselves were coming off an impressive 7-1 win last time out.
The match started in cagey fashion with neither side really carving out any clear opportunities. This was to change in the 31st minute when the E&B goalkeeper failed to deal with a ball into the box and after a bit of a scramble the ball was poked in by George Bryan.
Sutton could only hold onto the lead for 2 minutes. Good work from the E&B captain, Harry Harding, down the right resulted in a pinpoint cross to the back post which was met by a diving header from Chan Quan.
With no further chances, the half-time whistle blew with the teams locked at 1-1; a fair score-line based on the first 45 minutes.
The break allowed us to spend some time in the club house and grab a quick sausage roll and Bovril in the reasonably priced canteen.
The second half was a much more open game. Sutton played some nice football but the final ball was lacking quality and E&B always looked dangerous. E&B appeared to that bit more physical and faster and with their two forwards constantly troubling the backline of Sutton, ably supported by the creative Ramell Lake and the pacey Guyliano Mpungi, it looked likely that the away side would go on to get the victory.
They came close when a deflected shot from JoJo Ogunbiyi came off the crossbar and it was Ogunbiyi involved again 6 minutes from time when he was taken down by the Sutton goalkeeper (somewhat theatrically) to win the away side a penalty.
The impressive Harding stepped up to take the penalty. However, the top scorer in the league with 29 goals already this season was unable to convert from 12 yards.
Harding’s day was to go from bad to worse. As the board came up to show 3 minutes of injury time, a deflected clearance fell to him with only the keeper to beat. He looked certain to clinch the 3 points for his team as he casually rolled the ball beyond the keeper but the ball cannoned off the foot of the post and away to safety, from a Sutton perspective; it will be interesting to see how vital these misses will prove come the end of the season.
All in all it was a very entertaining match and at a cost of £6, which included a fantastic programme, was well worth the trip.
We wish the best of luck to both sides as they push for the Division One title over the next few months.