Royals rejoice as Reds reflect on trip to Amblecote.
We all chewed over the various permutations ahead of Reds’ final game of the regular season but it didn’t matter a jot.
David Hewson’s side will go to Stourbridge on Monday and that would have been the case had they won, drawn or lost against Sutton Coldfield.
Indeed, the Midlands outfit were the team celebrating at the final whistle as the point they obtained from the non-event of the season, coupled with Corby’s heavy defeat at Coalville, was enough to keep them up.
The fact that Reds didn’t land a home draw in the play-offs was due to Stourbridge’s fine win over Nantwich and their own inability to extend their winning sequence to a sixth game. It was one game too many for jaded Reds but the mental approach will be more focused in the one-off knock out tie at Amblecote.
This game had that ‘goalless draw’ look about it ten minutes after kick-off, and when news of Corby’s demise started filtering through Sutton’s resilience moved up a notch.
I think there was one shot on target in the first half with Jack Ryan’s effort, following David Symington’s assist, comfortably gathered by Town ‘keeper, James Wren.
Other than that, James Earl shot wide, Sam Joel’s on target effort was blocked and Scott Allison sent his only attempt over the bar.
Town’s only chance of note was bizarre to say the least. Aaran Taylor had to deal with a risky back-pass which Josh Venney charged down but, thankfully, the ball drifted to safety instead of causing great embarrassment.
Matters didn’t really improve after the break but Wren was more involved than Taylor whose main concern was dealing with passes from his own team mates.
David Symington saw a half decent effort kept out by Wren, who later made the save of the match to push away Matty Douglas’ well struck shot which was on its way to the bottom corner.
It would have been fitting had Douglas stole the glory in his first league outing in months. He has shown great patience this season and certainly performed well when given the opportunity in the absence of Messrs Simpson, May and Wordsworth.
There was a hint of excitement from the visitors in the second half after a Josh Calvert slip. Ryan Robbins pinched the ball and set off goal-wards but, when it looked easier to score, he screwed his shot onto the terraces, scattering members of the far more entertaining SCT band!
Despite his side’s jaded showing, David Hewson paid tribute to the entire squad, saying “I am so proud of this group of players and Lee and I are privileged to work with them,” adding, “it is an incredible achievement to reach the play-offs for a third successive year.”
Workington Taylor, Douglas, Rowntree, Smith, Calvert, Wright, Allison, Earl (Wilson, 72), Ryan (Waterston, 59), Joel, Tinnion (Symington, 30). Substitutes – Cham, Fowler (not used).
Sutton Coldfield Town Wren, Beresford, Curley, Rooney (Webb, 59), Townsend, Kelly, Wright, Birch, Howarth (Vincent, 65), Venney, Robbins (Pa Njie, 75). Substitutes – Cleet, O’Callaghan (not used).
Referee Richard Holmes, Preston
Booking: Ryan (Workington), Rooney (Sutton Coldfield Town)