Poor 1st half costs Rovers dear

Rovers gave themselves a mountain to climb in this match with a sluggish start. With less than 15 minutes of the first half gone Sutton Coldfield were two goals to the good with strikes from Niall Flint after 3 minutes followed by a second score through Ben George after 12 minutes. The home side were then forced into an early substitution when left-back Gary Jones had to leave the field with a head injury with just 23 minutes gone. Rovers had a first-half performance to forget but had a couple of decent chances to close the gap before half-time particularly when Drew Phillips outpaced the away side's defence only to plant the ball firmly in Lewis Gwilliams, the Sutton keeper, midriff when he might have scored after 28 minutes. Victor Osubu also spurned another scoring opportunity on 39 minutes but lost composure at the vital time and spooned his shot wildly over the bar. Half-time came with Sutton Coldfield fully deserving of their two goal advantage.

Rovers did perk up considerably in the second half and, kicking down the Sharpenhoe slope, did take the game to Sutton Coldfield for long spells. Stef Bailey, Connor Vincent and newcomer Tony Williams all had efforts at goal before Victor Osubu lit up the afternoon for the home fans with a mazy run down the inside right channel before despatching a bullet to take Rovers within a goal of gaining a point. Mason Spence and Sam Gibson had further efforts at goal but they lacked direction in Spence's case and Gibson's shot took a coat of paint off the post before going harmlessly wide. With Rovers in all out attacking mode, inevitably their defending against some incisive late breaks by Sutton Coldfield became ever more desperate and they paid the ultimate price when, with 86 minutes gone, Rovers skipper Paul Andrews was forced to haul down Sutton attacker Jonathan Letford in the box and forfeited a penalty-kick which the away side's centre-forward Ryan Nesbitt converted to restore Sutton's two-goal advantage. Game over then and another home game for Rovers yields nothing by way of league points.

Next up for Rovers is a re-arranged midweek league fixture when high-flying Corby Town are the visitors.

Final Score: Barton Rovers 1 (Osubu 59) Sutton Coldfield 3 (Flint 3, George 12, Nesbitt (pen) 86)

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