Coalville Inflict Defeat on Bottom Placed Sutton
A blitzing first half showing from Coalville – including a Creaney treble – was enough to kill off a struggling Sutton Coldfield.
The Royals, who had already shipped 71 goals going into the contest, conceded a further four as the Ravens ran rampant in the first period. Coalville lead 4-0 at the break thanks to a hat-trick from Daniel Creaney and a goal from Nathan Watson, but took their foot off the gas in the second half, subsequently conceding two consolations courtesy of Justin Richards.
The match, which was the first of 2018 at the Mander Cruickshank Stadium, saw Tommy Brookbanks opt not to make any changes from New Year’s Day’s 2-2 draw at Mickleover Sports.
The hosts started with intent as they took on a very different challenge to the last home game against league toppers Altrincham. And their superiority slowly started to show itself, with Tom McGlinchey sliding through Watson, who twisted and turned before lifting a dangerous cross into the box that was for some reason unoccupied.
However, the Ravens took just a further six minutes to gain an advantage. Daniel Creaney netted the first of the afternoon after 13 minutes, getting a slight touch to Nathan Watson’s deflected cross, stretching to divert the ball past the keeper from five yards out.
Moments later, Creaney missed two quick-fire chances, miss-hitting the ball on both occasions after finding himself unmarked when taking advantage of some slack defending from the visitors.
Sutton created their first major chance of the contest in the 24th minute after pressing high up the pitch. Checkaine Steele dispossessed Cleveland Taylor in the centre of the park before sliding the ball through to Louis Briscoe, who surged forward and played through Richards. The Royals striker managed to round Matthew Coton but was denied by an excellent goal saving tackle from Lee Torr.
Three minutes later, Watson broke through the opposing rear-guard after combining with Creaney. The Coalville winger played a slick one two with Creaney and darted into the area, but he was denied by the feet of Nick Draper from a tight angle.
There was little time to rue missed chances though as Creaney bagged his and Coalville’s second on 30 minutes. Watson was again heavily involved as his 20-yard effort was deflected, causing Draper to parry the ball into Creaney’s path, the Ravens number nine then took a touch before slotting home with ease.
Not even the musical encouragement from the travelling Sutton fans could prevent the growing dominance of the Ravens and just five minutes passed before Coalville netted a third. After some sustained Ravens pressure, Steve Towers picked out Watson on the right, who skilfully beat his man, cut onto his left foot and drove a shot low into the bottom corner from inside the area.
Time may have been running out on the clock but there was still time for Coalville to find a fourth, and for Creaney to secure a first half hat-trick, as Reece Webb was penalised for bringing down Creaney in the box. The Coalville forward then stepped up with confidence, coolly stroking the spot kick down the centre – taking his league tally to 13 for the season.
With the game all but won in the second period, the second half was a different story as the Ravens seemed to take their foot of the gas.
However, Coalville did initially pick up where they left off, creating two major opportunities within the first 10 minutes of the second 45.
Alex Howes was denied by a spectacular save from Draper in the 53rd minute after the on-loan Notts County midfielder latched onto McGlinchey’s cutback to the centre of the box.
Watson then missed a glorious opportunity, seeing his effort flash wide after sprinting through on goal.
As the hour mark approached Coalville’s dominance had all but dissipated, with Sutton growing into the contest. Niall Flint wasted a good chance for the visitors, directing a free header over the bar from close range.
The visitors were then given a chance to recover some pride when Danny Jenno was adjudged to have brought down Steele in the area. Richards was on penalty duty, and converted emphatically, smashing the penalty off the bar and in.
The visitors took advantage of some sloppy Coalville play, and a dangerous free kick made things interesting in the 76th minute as Richards appeared to get a slight touch on the delivery, sending the ball past Coton.
In the 83rd minute, Watson had the chance to kill off the game, but skimmed the side netting after being played through by substitute Alex Dean.
Flint almost set up a nervy finish for Coalville, but spurned an 88th minute chance, drifting his shot into the arms of Coton from the edge of the box after breaking forward.
Coalville will hope to replicate the performance – particularly in the first half – when they welcome Leicester Road in the Leicestershire Challenge Cup on Tuesday.