Royals 2-2 Grantham Town
Royals boss Chris Keogh was delighted with his sides effort during saturdays 2 all draw with champions elect Grantham Town.
"I thought we were the better side for a large part of the game", said Keogh. "Our games against Grantham have always been fairly tight affairs and you have to give credit to both sets of players as I thought it was a very good contest". Of course once we were reduced to 10 men they had the majority of the play but they didnt really hurt us and I think that was down to us working hard and defending well."
After going behind to a Sam Purdicoe goal in the 3rd minute the Royals rallied and should have equalised on a number of occasions and none more so that form the penalty spot after Michael Jacklin upended Chris Gummery in the box but Rob Murray in the Grantham goal saved well from Luke Chapman. Chapman did not have to wait long though to make up for his miss when he capitalised on a slip from Jacklin and fired passed Murray to give Sutton a deserved equaliser.
The Grantham defence was opened up twice by the same ball. James Quiggin slid a pass through the gap between the Grantham back line for Ben Lund on 27 minutes. Lund delivered a low cross into six yard box, but his inviting delivery was not met by any blue shirts and Grantham cleared their lines. When the two combined again eight minutes late, Lund chose to shoot, but Murray saved well to keep the scores level.
Sutton started the better in the 2nd half and took the lead when Jack Stone headed home after Murray had saved superbly from Gummery. The whole game changed on 70 mins when following a Grantham free kick hitting the bar Suttons Zac Costello was fouled by Saunders and the ball dropped to Potts who made no mistake from 5 yards. Both the referee and linesman failed to see the push on Costello who in the aftermath received his 2nd Yellow card and was dismissed for his arguing.
Sutton changed formation leaving 1 man up top and defended superbly keeping the Grantham efforts to mainly long range. In the 90th minute Jack Stone was dismissed for Sutton as he tried to break up a confrontation between 2 other players in what was another rash decision from the young official.
After the game Keogh defended both his players, "They are both ridiculous red cards and totally unwarranted. Zac is obviously frustrated as he has just been fouled and the officials missed it. It was a blatant push on him as he was jumping to head clear but somehow both of them missed it. If players are going to be sent off for what he said then you are only going to have 3 or 4 left on the pitch every week. Jacks was also very very harsh. The lad is breaking up a squabble and he gets done for adopting an aggressive attitude. Its hard enough playing the top teams with 11 so to come away with a point after playing parts with only 9 I suppose we should be pleased but I thought we did more than enough to win the game and I think if we had kept 11 on the pitch we would have won the game. We knew we had to get at them with pace as there best defender was missing and we caused them a lot of problems. Young Ben Lund had a great game out on the right and that was his first start for the 1st team in the league".