By Steve Sharman:
Nantwich Town continued their recent good form as they made it six unbeaten with a 1-1 draw at Sutton Coldfield.
It was the hosts who had taken a sixth minute lead through Sean Geddes’ penalty after Curtis Jones had brought down David Howarth.
But Nantwich were level inside sixty seconds as Joel Stair netted his second goal of the season with a close range finish from Sean Cooke’s right wing corner.
The first half was a 45 minutes of few chances, but the main talking point came on 30 minutes as Sutton’s Reece Webb and Cooke got in a tangle off the ball.
Webb was immediately sent off for a clear kick out at Cooke. But just when the Dabbers thought they were about to be a man up, the referee consulted with his linesman and evened the numbers by sending Cooke off.
The 2nd half saw both teams press for the winner, but Dan Gyollai making a number of smart stops and Joe Mwasile and Wayne Riley going close at the other end. Neither team could grab a 2nd and had to settle for a point.
The Dabbers were forced into a couple of changes as Osebi Abadaki missed out through injury. Ryan Brooke was absent from the bench as he attended the birth of his 2nd child.
In came Sam Hall, who recovered from the knock he suffered against Marine, whilst Steve Jones earned a start after his goal on Tuesday against Frickley. Nathan Cottrell and new signing Joe Howell were on the bench.
The Dabbers began brightly and went close inside the first two minutes as Joe Mwasile fired wide of the far post after tricking his way into the host’s box.
Sutton were then denied by the fingertips of Daniel Gyollai who tipped Josh Venny’s dipping effort over the bar.
From the resulting corner, the home side were given an opportunity to take an early lead as Curtis Jones mistimed a challenge on Howarth in the box leaving the referee no choice but to award a spot kick.
Up stepped Royals’ skipper Sean Geddes who made no mistake drilling the ball into the corner despite the best efforts of Gyollai who had dived the right way.
But within a minute, the game was all level as Joel Stair finished well from a few yards from Cooke’s corner.
Despite a fast start to the game, the next 15 minutes offered very little in chances with Cooke’s delicate chip from the edge of the box dropping just over the crossbar and Mwasile seeing his low fizzing effort tipped round the post by James Wren.
On the half hour mark, the game saw its main talking point with both sides reduced to ten men as Reece Webb saw red after kicking out on Cooke, who was also sent for an early bath after the linesman had spoken to the referee.
Nantwich continued to search for the goal that would have put them ahead and Tom Peers was denied a second Dabbers goal as his shot was blocked by Wren after the striker had pounced on some hesitant defending.
The second half began with both sides creating good opportunities as Mwasile dragged his shot wide after cutting in from the left, before Gyollai palmed away a Geddes’ half volley from the edge of the box.
Gyollai then denied Venny from close range with his legs before the Stoke City loanee produced a magnificent save to palm away Howarth’s looping header.
The remaining twenty minutes were dominated by the Dabbers as Ben Harrison’s volley flew narrowly passed the post.
Peers then felt he had a strong claim for a penalty after being bundled down in the Sutton box however referee Mathew Smith saw otherwise.
Wayne Riley was next to go close for the Dabbers but his goal bound shot was blocked by Peers who deflected the effort out for a goal kick.
The forward was then inches away from converting Ibou Touray’s cross as the game ended all sqaure, making it six unbeaten for Phil Parkinson’s side.
Next up for the Dabbers is on Tuesday evening at the Weaver Stadium as 1874 Northwich are the visitors in the Cheshire Senior Cup. Kick off is at 7.45pm.
SUTTON COLDFIELD TOWN: Wren, Curley, Fox, Webb, Marx, Cleet, Wright (McDonald 83′), Geddes, Howarth, Birch, Venny
Subs not used: Beresford, Atkins, Reid, Lovell.
NANTWICH TOWN: Gyollai, J. Stair (Touray 84′), White, Harrison, C. Jones, Hall, S. Jones (Cottrell 59′), Riley, Peers, Cooke, Mwasile.
Subs not used: Durnin, Howell, Burzynski.
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