In a match that will be looked back on as one of the most abject in the club's recent history, Sutton Coldfield Town were hammered 6-0 by a Barwell side that had three days earlier knocked out The Royals in the FA Cup. The defeat was compounded by the dismissal of Richard Sneekes for an aggressive outburst towards the match referee. It's a loss that sees Sutton fall into the (traditionally 4 place) relegation zone for the first time this season.
The opening exchanges were fragmented and nothing really between the teams. Gurjit Singh had been benched and new signing Lee Smith came straight into the team in central midfield.
Barwell broke the deadlock when, in the 21st minute, Kyle Perry's cross was turned in by George Cleet.
With the match meandering along, we then had the big turning point: Sutton centre-back Jak Barnes was red-carded for a challenge that the referee deemed a foul and, as he was last man, the red card was inevitable. Salt was rubbed into the wound when Kyle Perry beautifully curled in from the resultant free-kick.
Apart from the odd half-chance, Sutton failed to create any significant opportunities to this point but were at least competing in a bitty contest. The Royals best chance came right on the stroke of half-time: a Chris Spencer header was pushed onto the bar and went over for a corner but the referee opted against giving time for it to be taken. This incident only further enraged an already seething Sneekes who ran onto the pitch quicker than former Sunderland manager Bob Stokoe did all those years ago - older fans who saw the 1973 FA Cup Final will know what I mean - to angrily question the referee over his performance. Sneekes was in the face of the arbiter and certainly not holding back in his criticisms. Although initially the referee looked willing to let it pass, the outburst continued and the Dutchman was ordered to the stands for the second half.
HT: Sutton Town 0-2 Barwell
The second half witnessed a Sutton implosion. Maybe not surprising given the club were a man down and rocked by seeing their manager sent off, but it was still a chastening experience for all connected with The Royals.
Not long after the break Eddy Nisevic embarked on a superb run down the left before shooting across Mason Springthorpe's goal into the net.
A fourth came just minutes later when Ryan Seal waltzed through to slot home.
Barwell, who were in utter control, added a fifth through Declan Towers, the same player had scored both goals in Saturday's FA Cup win.
Singh had gone close for Sutton but the humiliation was rounded off by ex-Royal Ryan Robbins. The stocky forward exploiting a demoralised Sutton to cap off a 6-0 win for the Canaries.
FT: Sutton 0-6 Barwell.
I gave Sneekes a bit of time to compose himself and he came back with a display of contrition: "I let myself, the players and the club down by approaching the ref in the way I did. It just shows the frustrations I'm feeling at the moment."
1. It's nice to hear Sneekes come out and be big enough to apologise. Nobody would condone the outburst but I do sympathise with his frustrations as the last three home games have been way short of the seasonal benchmark that was laid down on the opening day against Shaw Lane, a side now top of the league.
2. Ten goals conceded over the three games is bad enough but the lack of clearcut openings is arguably an even bigger concern. We have had one shot on target in the last three second halves played at Coles Lane.
3. A pity to see Hednesford, our next opponents, lose faith with our old boss Neil Tooth ahead of Saturday's game. We do, however, still get a chance to lock horns with formers players such as James Wren, Luke Rodgers and Jordan Nadat. The expectancy is high at Keys Park and players will need to impress the new regime who will no doubt look to shake things up. I hope to see a Sutton team embracing the challenge and trying to express themselves a bit more. The game kicks off at 3pm.
Updated 10:03 - 8 Sep 2017 by SCT FC