Windsor Foodservice Central Midlands Football League - Black Dragon South Division
Tale of two halves as Blidworth lose opening home game
Blidworths first home game of the season saw them unlucky not to gain a point after a spirited second half performance was just not good enough to take a share of the points at a rain soaked Welfare Ground last night.
Dave Voller had to make changes to the starting 11 that drew at Belper with both full backs Robbie Evans & Ryan Meehan away and midfield pair Joseph Meehan & Carl Gould suspended. Jamie Senior returned from injury and in came Joe Toddhunter, new signing Michael Syrett & Kyle Clarkson with another new signing Matthew Allen taking his place on the bench.
Kick off was delayed by 10 minutes as the referee deemed the claret colour of Suttons shirts clashed with Blidworths Red & Black so Blidworth Under 19 Manager Martin Bower was called into action to drive up to the ground with the U19`s white away shirts for the visitors to wear.
Both sides started brightly but it was Sutton who almost took the lead with just six minutes on the clock when ex Blidworth striker Dean Rick played a sublime ball inside from the right flank finding ex Blidworth captain Nathan Hollinworth but his powerful drive flew just past the right hand post.
Blidworth hit back 5 minutes later with Michael Syrett hitting a shot agonizingly wide under heavy pressure from the Sutton defence. Ex Mansfield Town striker Andy White was next to threaten on 17 minutes but his header was easily collected by Stanhope.
Zak Webster was booked for Blidworth on 20 minutes for a foul on White. Sutton were now getting on top and had more fluency in their play and with 25 minutes gone a long ball from the back found Dean Rick on the edge of the Blidworth box, he found space to turn and hit a rasping drive that left Stanhope standing for a deserved 0-1 lead.
Blidworth tried to get back in the game with Moult & Goody linking well to gain a corner which was cleared well by the Sutton defence. On 35 minutes it was 0-2, Andy White was scythed down by Craig Gould 25 yards out and up stepped Dayle Gilliatt who's thundering free kick flew into the top right hand corner of the net leaving Stanhope helpless.
Blidworth rallied with Syrett, Senior & Moult testing Sheppard in the Sutton goal from distance but it was Sutton who almost grabbed a third right on half-time as Gavin Short shot from the edge of the box beating Stanhope but Joe Toddhunter was there to scramble the ball off the line.
Blidworth made a change at half time with Nathan Brown replacing Joe Toddhuter and looked a different side as the second half got under way. They pressed and harried Sutton out of their stride and deservedly pulled a goal back on 52 minutes with Zak Websters blistering 30 yard drive almost ripping the net to make it 1-2.
Blidworth were now on top and pushing for the equalizer but 5 minutes later and totally against the run of play Sutton restored their two goal advantage with a superbly taken headed goal from Dean Rick to make it 1-3. Manager Dave Voller introduced Matthew Allen for the tiring Michael Syrett on 60 minutes to try and get back into the game.
Jamie Senior was booked on 60 minutes for dissent after arguing with the excellent referee when he gave a correct decision against the midfielder.
Sutton began to press again but to their credit Blidworth never gave up and on 63 minutes they pulled the deficit back again as Craig Gould drove past two defenders he was fouled 25 yards out. From the free kick Jamie Senior curled the ball over the wall, Sheppard dived at full stretch to tip the ball onto the bar but Kyle Clarkson followed up and tapped the rebound into the net to make it 2-3.
Blidworth were now rampant with attack after attack pushing for the equalizer and Sutton were hanging on by a thread to their lead with Moult testing Sheppard on numerous occasions but he and the rest of the Blidworth attack could not find the breakthrough. Moults over enthusiasm to win the ball earned the player a yellow card on 81 minutes for a late challenge on Short.
The pressure was all on Sutton and Jamie Senior came close to an equalizer right on full time when a cross into the box by Clarkson found its way to the midfielder but his shot whistled past the far upright with Sheppard well beaten.
The final whistle blew after 2 minutes of added time to relief of the Sutton bench and gave the visitors all three points.
Blidworth can count themselves unlucky not to have got a point from the game after a great second half performance and will be confident they can go one better and get a good result on Saturday away at Basford United.