Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Sutton United blog: Phil and Grant Mitchell, Nick Cotton, Jamie Slabber and super sleuth Mark McManus

Crikey, the endless run of Christmas parties is taking its toll. I feel like I've gone ten rounds with those bruising brothers from Albert Square, the Mitchells.

To make matters worse my beloved Sutton United really did take a good kickin' last night from a group of EastleighEnders. We should have seen it coming, after all, they are managed by non-league's very own Phil and Grant - Ian Baird and his assistant Matt Gray.

Blimey, if that isn't enough, there's a new bad boy in the Square too. If you see Jamie Slabber heading in your direction any time soon then run for your life. His challenge on Tom Davis yesterday should prove a warning to all those who dare approach him, even Nick Cotton. As for that other swine from last night, the referee, we'll have more of him later.

You wouldn't argue with these two would you? We certainly didn't. Sutton surrendered to the demands of Matt Gray (left) and Ian Baird (right).



It all looked so good at 3.05pm on Saturday when Craig Dundas pounced on a loose ball to fire the Us ahead at the Silverlake Stadium. We seemed to cope well with the most of what Eastleigh threw at us, until Taggart popped to put our celebrations on hold.

I must hold my hands up here because I feel I am partly to blame for our FA Trophy exit. On Saturday, in the 87th minute, I allowed myself to think that we might actually win and sent a Tweet saying as much. A minute later Eastleigh equalised. Bugger.

Silverlake saviour: No, it's not Sir Alex Ferguson. Crime sleuth Mark McManus - AKA Taggart - popped up to save Eastleigh's blushes on Saturday.

Yesterday, ten minutes before half-time I found myself pleased with our display and impressed by the noise generated by the Sutton fans and, once again, I sent a Tweet saying as much. A minute later Eastleigh took the lead. Balls.

Sorry about that folks.

Before the 90 minutes were up the Spitfires added a further three goals to end our Trophy run for another season. I am not really one for referee bashing but I think it is fair to say that last night's man on the middle didn't help our cause. That said, you can't hide behind a 4-0 defeat.

I was looking forward to seeing how the Us would fare against a Blue Square South side and we got a conclusive answer. If we are to take anything from the two Eastleigh matches then a couple of things spring to mind.

Firstly, we've got to take our chances. We had some pretty decent opportunities on Saturday to score that all-important second goal but we failed to convert them.

Secondly, Paul Doswell is going to have to recruit some big chaps if we get promoted. I know both clubs were missing players for various reasons and had to shuffle their sides around accordingly, but we were found wanting in the strength department. We've undoubtedly got some talented and skillful players but strength is a crucial element to any squad and that's what impressed me most about the Spitfires. It certainly gives the Boss plenty to think about.

I remember watching the Wimbledon v Stevenage FA Cup game recently and thinking to myself how much bigger and stronger the Stevenage boys seemed in comparison to the Dons.

The League Two side negotiated a tricky away tie of their own that day 2-0 in much the same way Eastleigh dealt with us, although the refereeing at Kingsmeadow was far superior to what we witnessed last night.

Any rate, just as Sutton are left to lick their wounds and concentrate on their quest for the league title I must focus on writing those flippin' Christmas cards and plotting a raid on Sutton High Street over the next few days.

Just like a Jamie Slabber challenge, I am dreading it...

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