Promotion hopes take a hit
By Gary Brigden
Sutton Common Rovers saw their promotion hopes taken out of their own hands when they slumped to a disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to main rivals Bedfont Sports.
It was a deceptively bright start to the game with both sides having chances in the opening minutes. We forced a corner after good work by Matt Auletta, but it came to nothing and at the other end, Mustafa Teryaki crashed an effort across the face of our goal.
Joe Jackson found Tim Pitt with a great crossfield ball on five minutes, but his nearpost cross was well defended by Owen Davies. Matt Ferdinando fired an effort high over the crossbar on five minutes after a Craig Nelson corner was only half cleared, and we looked set for a cracker.
Alex Rose found the lively Jason Nwachukwu on the edge of the area, after we had been caught over-playing in the middle of the park, and the challenge by Asa Rixon-Nicholls led to a free kick in a dangerous position. Jack Mill's free kick hit the wall and was cleared for a corner, which was also well defended.
Davies did well on the quarter hour to clear a long ball, we quickly transferred the ball forward, Auletta put Luke Ruddick in allsorts of bother, but the ball was eventually cleared for a throw in. Auletta was enjoying his best spell of the game and from another run forced Paul Johnson into a rash challenge and a free kick, but nothing came from it.
Midway through the half and Bedfont thought they had taken the lead, a tremendous ball in by Pitt was headed home by Teryaki, but a well position official had his flag raised and the goal was chalked off.
On the half hour, Ferdinandos cross was well defended by Ruddick and as we went aerial, Pickford did well to claim a tantalising Matt Tanton cross ahead of Daryl Cooper-Smith.
Matt Farrell found his way into the book just after the half hour, and that earnt the combative midfielder a two game suspension, seeing him miss both Godalming Town and North Greenford Utd.
Nwachukwu was fouled by Ferdinando and from another dangerous delivery by Pitt, Eacott did well to gather the deflected cross ahead of Teryaki.
The tide look to have swung Rovers way in the 40th minute when a clash between Tanton and Jake Hicks led to the Bedfont man seeing red for kicking out at the Rovers left back. Farrell then clashed with Mills and was possibly fortunate not to pick up a second yellow, and as the half ended Ferdinando saw yellow for a foul on Johnson.
Darren Salmon was forced into a change at the break with the ill Ferdinando replaced by Michael Campbell, and in the opening minute Auletta found Campbell, and his cross was met by Jean-Luc Kinsaba but he couldn't direct his header on target.
Rovers continued to hold the upper hand, and should have taken the lead on 48 minutes, as a half cleared corner dropped to Matt Farrell but his shot was comfortable for Pickford.
Bedfont responded positively, and should themselves have opened the scoring on 55 minutes when Ruddick put a free header from a corner wide of the target.
Mills and Teryaki linked up well just shy of the hour, and Tanton did well to intercept a ball destined for Johnson. Teryaki then went close on 59 minutes, but a minute later he fired the visitors ahead. A spell of pinball in the area saw the ball drop to Teryaki and he calmly rolled beyond Eacott for 1-0.
Bedfont replaced the influential Pitt on 67 minutes, introducing Simo Mbonkwi in his place,and with Pitt having delivered some telling crosses, and done some sterling defensive work, it looked as though another opening for Rovers may have arrived.
Kinsaba, did well to beat Mbonkwi on 68 minutes but his delivery was poor and Bedfont cleared easily. Auletta saw a shot deflected behind on 71 minutes, and it was to be his last action as Salmon introduced Andrew White into the fray.
Davies found his way into the referees book for a foul on Nwachukwu on 73 minutes, and with ten minutes remaining, Salmon made his final change, replacing Kinsaba with Tom Neale.
Bedfont replaced Nwachukwu with Matt Baxter, as the game just drifted towards its inevitable conclusion. Campbell found his way into the book on 88 minutes for protesting to strongly after a collision in the area.
Bedfont made their final change in stoppage time with the hugely impressive Teryaki making way for Matt Riggs and the visitors took a massive step towards promotion with this 1-0 win.