Sutton Coldfield Town's hopes of a fast start to 2018 in an effort to produce another 'Great Escape' were thwarted after they went down 1-0 to local rivals Halesowen Town in a pivotal six-pointer. The defeat leaves The Royals bottom of the table.
A bumper New Year's Day crowd of 287 were present on a squalid day at Coles Lane. Those in attendance impeccably observed a moment of silence for West Brom fan Richard Eades and former Sutton and Aston Villa goalkeeper Derek Dudley.
The early running was made by the visitors who saw Ethan Jones shoot wide after just four minutes. Eight minutes later and Exodus Geohaghon had header saved by Nick Draper.
Sutton were returning to bad habits as they failed to release pressure at the back by finding their attacking players. Their distribution was poor, at times, and very little was created in the first half.
HT: Sutton Town 0-0 Halesowen Town
The second half started in a similar vein to the first as The Yeltz had the upper hand. Jordan Goddard, in the 54th minute, blasted wide before a minute later he unleashed a sweet strike from outside the box to pass the despairing Draper.
Sutton were devoid of inspiration and failed to construct any purposeful passing moves. The introduction of Justin Richards did little to galvanise the league's bottom club.
The rest of the match saw Draper repel Halesowen with a string of fine saves, many from the top drawer. He was the only reason Sutton didn't suffer a bigger loss.
FT: Sutton Coldfield Town 0-1 Halesowen Town
Brannon's Sutton MOTM: Nick Draper
Updated 12:24 - 6 Jan 2018 by SCT FC