Sutton Coldfield Town’s season of woe continued as they were hammered 4-0 by league leaders Altrincham, leaving The Royals winless in eleven games and seven points adrift of safety.
There had been a surge of optimism in the week leading up to the game with the return of two former players. Defender Michael Townsend, who was an integral part of last term’s ‘great escape’, has left Barwell to bolster Sutton’s sloppy defence. While Aaron Birch has swiftly returned after a brief stint with Stourbridge didn’t work out. Birch has been Sutton’s best player this season, and him working alongside Danny O’Callaghan should elevate Sutton’s creative potential.
Any optimism was quashed swiftly as Sutton found themselves one down after the first attack. Jordan Hulme turning and shooting a tame effort past a disappointed Nicky Draper.
The leaders were looking sharp in possession, a contrast to a Sutton side struggling to locate a man in their own half.
The Robins made it 2-0 when, in the 9th minute, James Jones headed in from a corner. The Royals’ marking was poor.
A minute or two later and it was effectively game over as the visitors made it 3-0 courtesy of captain Jake Moult heading home from a Shaun Densmore free-kick.
Richard Sneekes, the Sutton boss, looked shell-shocked from his position near the toilets – the Dutchman serving a touchline ban for an incident dating back to three Barwell FC league game at home.
Although the goals inevitably dried up Alty continued to dominate the game. In the 26th minute, Draper made a smart stop to deny James Poole.
Sutton’s first chance arrived after the half-hour mark as Danny O’Callaghan skied his attempt from James Haran’s drilled low cross.
Sutton finished the half with a bit of purpose but the damage had been done in the opening eleven minutes.
HT: Sutton 0-3 Altrincham
The second half featured less chances and Altrincham seemed content to sit back and try to hit Sutton on the counter.
Altrincham were breaking well as the half wore on and Sutton were indebted to Draper for twice repelling Hulme in one-on-one situations.
The introduction of Matt Walters gave Sutton fresh impetus. The substitute going close for Sutton on two occasions, including hitting the post when clean through. It was a cameo appearance that should enhance his claims for a start in the next game.
Sutton’s afternoon of misery was rounded off when Altrincham added a fourth: Jordan Hulme netting his fifteenth of the season to complete the rout.
FT: Sutton 0-4 Altrincham
Brannon’s Sutton MOTM: Matt Walters