Sutton Common Rovers drop points in promotion push
By Gary Brigden
A late Kery Kedze goal helped visitors Redhill pick up a point in a feisty encounter at Sutton Utd on Saturday.
In truth it was no more than the visitors deserved as for much of the game they were the better side. It was a poor start to the game with neither side able to create much in the opening minutes, and the game meandered along with not a lot to warm the cockles of the watching crowd.
Neat link up on the left between Tom Neale, Danny Fernandez and Anson Cousins on 14 minutes ended with Neale firing a volley goalwards and bringing a good save out of Liam Sallis low down to his right.
The lively Kedze did well on 20 minutes to beat Cousins, whipped over a tremendous cross to Tony Halsey but he could only direct his header against the post and we were able to clear.
Rovers almost opened the scoring on 22 minutes when a decent Fernandez free kick was tipped wide of the right hand post by a flying Sallis.
Back at the other end, and it should have been 1-0 to the visitors, Rovers parted to allow Tevon Webster through on goal, he poked the ball beyond Michael Eacott, but recalled left back Cousins somehow got back to hook the ball off the line.
Daryl Cooper-Smith saw a shot well blocked by Harry Stow on 26 minutes and a minute later Asa Rixon-Nicholls became the first man to trouble the referees notebook as he saw yellow for a foul on Qudos Bolagi.
Cousins did well on 34 minutes to deny the lively Kedze a chance and at the other end Neale almost capitalised on hesitation between Sallis and his captain Jonathon Trotter, but the Redhill keeper was able to gather the ball just ahead of the Rovers forward.
Bolagi fired an effort well wide of the right hand post and Fernandez became the second Rovers man into the book for a foul on Kedze.
Rixon-Nicholls saw his header deflected behind for a corner on 42 minutes. Three minutes later and Rovers were gifted a chance to take the lead. Craig Hastings floated a ball into the area, Sallis fumbled a simple take, and in his efforts to regain the ball bought down Neale. Cooper-Smith fired home from the spot to give Rovers a somewhat fortuitous half time lead.
The second half started in a similar fashion as the first with very little going on in the opening stages, but again it was the visitors who went closest. Ten minutes in and Kedze did well on the left, found Halsey with his cross, and the knock down found Webster who looked odds on to level the scores, but somehow fired over.
Rovers skipper Aaron Bogle found his way into the book following an altercation with Kedze, and it was to have major ramifications for the Rovers skipper later in the game. From the free kick Hastings knock down almost set up Matt Auletta but the ball just eluded him and went out for a goal kick.
The visitors replaced Halsey and Webster with Gary Abiogusun and Mo Diakite on 65 minutes, and we withdrew 100 appearance man Fernandez and gave a debut to 17 year old winger Adaini Carrera.
Abiogusun almost found his way through to goal on 68 minutes, but have wriggled passed Bogle and Zach Powell he was well defended by Hastings, at the expense of a corner. Neale fired a free kick wide on 72 minutes, and a minute later Bogle picked up a second yellow for a foul on Kedze and was ordered off.
Darren Salmon made an instant change, replacing Neale with Joe Mead. Cooper-Smith fired over on 78 minutes, and Rovers almost gifted Redhill an equaliser when a misplaced Matt Farrell pass could only find Diakete, but fortunately Rovers were able to get bodies round the ball and clear.
Michael Campbell replaced Auletta on 82 minutes, and the visitors were reduced to ten on 84 minutes when keeper Sallis clattered Cooper-Smith and picked up a second yellow. From the resulting free kick, Campbells low drive was really well saved by stand-in keeper Stow.
With time running out, Redhill were given the chance their play warranted, when Hastings fouled Kedze in the area, and the Redhill man pulled the scores level from the spot.
Into injury time, and a scything challenge by Hastings saw him pick up a second yellow, and receive his marching orders, and the game finished in a feisty 1-1 draw.