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LEAMINGTON 0 v SUTTON TOWN 0
FA Cup Preliminary round
Sat 27 Aug 05
By David Hucker

Sutton Stalemate as Chances Go Begging in FA Cup

It has been nearly eighteen years since Brakes last played in the FA Cup and there was an air of anticipation amongst the crowd of 538 gathered at the New Windmill Ground on a perfect afternoon for watching football. Despite numerous scoring chances which would have been put away on another day, the scoreline stayed blank and it is back to the drawing board at Sutton-in-Ashfield on Tuesday.

Brakes looked to have opened the scoring in only the second minute when Josh Blake headed home a corner from the right. However, the referee blew for a foul on visiting 'keeper Danny Welsh, although Blake himself was not the culprit. Four minutes later, Ryan Howell had a shot cleared by a defender with Welsh well-beaten and, almost immediately, Richard Adams put a header wide of the post, the first of a number of good opportunities to fall his way during the match.

Sutton's first chance came on 11 minutes when, following a foul by Howell on Richard Smith, defender James Jepson put the free-kick high and wide into the North Bank. Kristian Kelsall had an inswinging corner from the left headed off the line and Andy Gregory was denied by a flying save from Welsh. It was Richard Adams' turn to be denied by Welsh in the 27th minute and then Brakes wasted a couple of free kicks which should have tested the Sutton defence.

The turning point of the match for me was the loss of Leon Morgan four minutes from half-time following a crunching tackle which earned winger Mark Hurst a booking. Morgan injured his lower right arm and went to Warwick Hospital for an x-ray. His creative skills and sheer workrate were missed and it was noticeable that Sutton grew in confidence in the second half, dominating for long periods, but without really threatening Paul Shepherd in the home goal. Surprisingly, Sutton's hat-trick hero from the last round against Loughborough Dynamo, Craig Mitchell, had a quiet afternoon and was substituted in the 71st minute.

The Brakes' back three were exposed at times and Josh Blake was needed to reinforce the defence, thus reducing the attacking potency, Despite this, there were enough opportunities to wrap the tie up, probably the best of which came on 76 minutes when Jon Adams crossed from the left to his brother Richard who put his shot into the side netting from close in. Brakes were nearly punished for wasting their chances as, with ten minutes to go, they conceded a free-kick in a dangerous position and Jepson's effort was only just over the bar.

Joint Assistant Manager Keith Orme was philosophical about the result, saying "Sutton were a tough well-organised side who didn't give us a lot of room. We had good chances to score in the opening ten minutes and, having failed to take them, found it hard work from then on. We are happy about going into a replay and will be ready to start over again on Tuesday."

Leamington: Paul Shepherd; Kristian Kelsall; Darran Tank; Steve Smith; Andy Gregory; Steve Thompson (Paul Eden 83); Jon Adams; Leon Morgan [Capt] (Alex Rodman 46); Richard Adams; Ryan Howell (Ben Usher 71); Josh Blake
Subs Not Used: Ryan Parisi; Richard Morris

Sutton Town: Danny Welsh; Richard Smith; James Jepson; Matt Varley; Stu Ashford; Josh Scott; Colin Cockerill; Danny Naylor; Ian Brown; Craig Mitchell (Craig Housley 71); Mark Hurst (Dean Short 73)
Subs Not Used: Jason Pascoe

Players' News: Andy Stidder on holiday; Richard Adams misses the replay likewise; Leon Morgan returned from hospital after the game: no break but bad bruising.


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