Sutton Coldfield Town 4-2 Marine
Mariners sunk by Royals at Coles Lane...
Despite dominating for 50 minutes the ten-men Mariners let a two goal lead slip in their penultimate league fixture. Sean Hessey's squad was down to the bare bones with Stephen Wainwright and Charlie Barnett unavailable, and so the Marine bench contained only four substitutes. Alex Davies and Danny Mitchley were both struggling with recent injuries and were named on the bench, although neither was able to play any part.
The Mariners settled quickly on the home side's 3G playing surface and dominated possession from the off. Lewis Codling had the Yellows' first shot on goal as his drive from just outside the box had the sting taken out of it by a defender's boot, Town 'keeper Gwilliams collecting Codling's effort with ease.
Chad Whyte was next to threaten as he firstly fired well wide from distance before seeing another well-struck shot charged down by the Royals rearguard.
Midway through the half the Blues mustered their first attempt of note as Edmonds cut inside from the left flank but fired comforatbly over Matt Cooper's crossbar from 25 yards.
The Mariners took a deserved lead on 27 minutes as Warren Bellew's pinpoint crossfield pass found Codling advancing down the right, the ball sitting up invitingly for the diminutive dasher to volley sweetly past Gwilliams from 20 yards.
The Crosby side doubled their advantage just two minutes later as Bellew's cross into the box reached Codling who miskicked, but the ball fell kindly for Chad Whyte to ripple the rigging from 10 yards out to the delight of the Marine contingent in the meagre crowd.
The Yellows were dealt a blow ten minutes before the interval as Codling was sent off for his reaction to a nasty challenge from home skipper Jackson. As has happened previously this season the referee and his Assistant spotted the retaliation and correctly dismissed Codling, before paying lip-service to Jackson's part in proceedings by merely cautioning the Royals' left-back having presumably missed his initial challenge.
Undeterred the Mariners continued in the ascendency and Bellew's cheeky chip from 35 yards caught the dayglo-draped Gwilliams napping but the ball floated a couple of yards wide of target.
A ball over the Town backline then allowed Andy Owens to pressure the indecisive Kettle into a back-header as Gwilliams raced out, the custodian just about getting a glove to the ball to prevent Owens from capitalising as the Royals scrambled the ball clear.
Just before the break a James Short free-kick played into the box saw Whyte's header deflect off a Town head and clip the crossbar as it dropped behind for a corner, Gwilliams claiming the quadrant-kick as the Mariners reached half-time with their two-goal cushion intact.
Despite their numerical disadvantage the Yellows began the second period on the front foot and almost extended their lead on 47 minutes. Short's clipped pass found Whyte advancing into the area, the young striker stretching to volley over the stranded Gwilliams but sending the ball skywards rather than goalwards. Whyte then sliced his follow-up effort when off-balance, before Andy Owens' attempt to convert the loose ball was denied by a strong and well-timed challenge from a recovering Royals' defender.
Owens was immediately replaced by Hessey in an attempt to sure-up the Mariners' defence, however the switch failed to achieve the desired outcome as the home side began to turn the game on its head.
Indeed just two minutes later Town reduced their deficit as a ball played in from their right reached Forde at the back post, the midfielder scuffing his effort on goal but the ball crossed the line via the unfortunate Liam Goulding as he attempted to clear.
The Royals levelled matters on 56 minutes as the ball was fired across the box to Forde who steered a first-time finish low past Cooper.
The writing was well and truly on the wall for the Mariners as Sutton Coldfield exploited the tiring ten men, and the Blues took the lead on 67 minutes. A corner from their left was swung to the back post and headed square for striker O'Callaghan to convert from close range.
To their credit Hessey's troops sought to restore parity and Whyte held play up well before teeing-up Alan Burton, the midfielder's well-struck drive flying a yard wide of the right-hand post.
The Blues then threatened at the other end as they switched play from left to right, the ball eventually reaching Edmonds who found Cooper in no mood to deal, the salmon-shirted stopper denying the winger with a smart block.
However the Royals crowned their second-half comeback with six minutes remaining as Goddard slipped the ball inside to Beresford who ignored appeals for offside to touch the ball wide of Cooper before slotting into the unguarded net from six yards.
As the game entered added time Whyte and Burton broke forward, Whyte cutting inside and laying the ball into Burton's path but the ex-Accrington dynamo curled his shot a yard or so over the home crossbar from the edge of the box.
An ultimately disappointing evening for the Mariners as the mid-table Royals gained revenge for their last-gasp defeat at the MTA, the silver lining being that the Crosby side are already assured of EvoStik Premier Division football once more next season.
Marine's final league game of the season sees them travel to Croft Park to face title-chasing Blyth Spartans on Saturday, kick off is at 3:00pm.
Marine: Matt Cooper, James Short, Andy Nicholas (c), Liam Goulding, James Foley, Liam Willis, Warren Bellew, Alan Burton, Chad Whyte, Andy Owens (Sean Hessey 48), Lewis Codling.
Unused subs: Jack Hunter, Danny Mitchley, Alex Davies. Cautions: none. Sent Off: Codling.
Sutton Coldfield Town: Lewis Gwilliams, Andre Gonzales, Matthew Jackson (c), Aaron Forde (Nhialwenhie Siso 82), Joel Kettle, Scott Lycett, Ryan Edmonds, Tom Turton, Danny O'Callaghan, Jordan Goddard, James Beresford.
Unused subs: Charles Weston-Hales, James Harrison. Cautions: Jackson.
Goals: Marine; Codling (27), Whyte (29)
Sutton Coldfield Town; og (50), Forde (56), O'Callaghan (67), Beresford (84)
Referee: Mr Marvyn Amphlett
Assistants: Mr James Cox and Mr Adrian Hall