Sutton only moved to their new home on Coleshill Road late last year but have already had a whopping 427 in attendance for their last game of 2022 against Boldmere. The new ground is not too far from their old Hollyfield Road ground and is situated just off Coleshill Road adjacent to the local garden centre. The new facility has a good sized car park on both sides of the clubhouse, which has more TVs per square foot than any other clubhouse I have seen. From the clubhouse it is a 30 second walk to the pitch, past the small-sides playing area on. The players and officials changing block opens out onto the pitch under a digital clock and club crest. This block also houses spectator toilet facilities. There is a covered seating standing next to the players block, the Memorial Stand and the dugouts are situated on the opiate side of the pitch. There is hard-standing around the the entire ground. Building work is still happening in the surrounding land, but this is already a superb facility that can, and does, support football for all ages. It's really great to see a club at this level of the pyramid being able to invest in this type of community football hub.
It's fair to say that, following last season's promotion from Division 3, Sutton are having an absolute blast at Step 7. At the start of play they sat proudly on top of the table, seven points clear of Cadbury Athletic (where they drew 2-2 last weekend), with only 2 league defeats all season and, by some distance, the league's top scorers. For Redditch, who themselves are only in their seventh season at this level, it's been a different and far more difficult season to date. Pre-match they sat in 12th spot, three points above the relegation zone.
In the reverse fixture back in August, Redditch had goalkeeper Anthony Swain sent off in the 51st minute as goals from Joe Delaney, Josh Duggan, Joe Gildea, Jordan Hall and Tom Massey saw Sutton clock up a 5-1 victory. James Mudie scored for Borough.
Sutton started the game brightly, as you would expect from a team leading the division. Joe Delaney, down the left side, seemed to have the pace to beat his defender and United looked particularly threatening when attacking down that side. However, early raids saw a lack of final ball from the hosts as Redditch weathered the initial storm. That was until the 13th minute when, following a corner on the left, Redditch lost track of Tom Massey, who was left all alone to dive in and head home at the far post. 1-0
The response from Borough was good. A minute later Alex Knight's curling effort forced Wagstaff to tip his shot over for a corner. Unfortunately for Redditch, they could make nothing of it. Then on the twenty minute mark, Sutton almost made it two. It was Massey again causing the problem, collecting the ball in the box, controlling and turning well but then putting his effort over the top. Three minutes later another ball into the Borough area was met on the stretch by Joe Gildea but he could only direct it into the hands of Swain.
It was certainly Sutton creating the majority of the chances but Redditch still posed a threat when they got the ball. The willngness of Knight to make runs was creating gaps for the skills of Sol Bloomer to exploit. United needed to be on their guard. As if the emphasise this point, just after the half-hour mark, Knight made another break upo the left flank, this time getting clean away from his marker. He drilled the ball across the edge of the six-yard box, unfortunately for Borough, just behind the run of Tom Fishwick. Then, just before the break, with Borough definitely getting more into the game, Brooklyn Smith was allowed to wriggle free on the right, driving towards goal but finding Reiss Wagstaff to big a barroer to beat.
HT Sutton United 1 Redditch Borough 0. Sutton without doubt had the majority of the play but, aside from the goal, could not find that final ball. What's more, they always looked vulnerable when Redditch broke and, as the visitors started to gain some confidence, you could even say they finshed the half the stronger.
Only two minutes of the second period had passed when Tom Massey was tripped in the box. No real complaints from Borough as Josh Duggan stepped up to send Swain the wrong way. 2-0. Three minutes later, with Sutton pressing Redditch back at every opportunity, a United corner from the right was met by a glancing header from Joe Gildea and it was 3-0. Not content with a three goal lead, United won the ball back almost immediately after kick-off and attacked up the left. The driven cross evaded everyone but fell into the path of right-back Jonny Grigg, who rifled it back past Swain with a superb left-footed strike. 4-0
What a devastating blast from the home side, effectively ending the match as a contest. Unsurprisingly, they took their foot off the gas a bit at this point. Redditch, to their credit, didn't let their heads drop and continued to battle away. On 67 minutes they got their rewards for staying at it. A free-kick from the right was drifted in towards the near post where Tom Fishwick, who had got away from his marker, headed past Wagstaff. 4-1
Briefly Borough tails were up. Maybe if they got another one in the next few minutes, they could stage a comeback? That thought was curtailed in the 72nd minute when Tom Massey ran onto a defence splitting through ball before absolutely hammering the ball past Swain. 5-1
Sutton had saved the best for last however. With a minute of normal time remaining they won a corner on the right. Players flooded into the box but the ball was pulled back to Josh Duggan some 25 yards out. He caught his shot beautifully and the ball flashed past Swain, leaving the keeper with no chance whatsoever. Fantastic strike. 6-1
Sutton United: Wagstaff, Grigg, Gregory, Murrell, Donald, Duggan(C), Massey, Semali, Hines, Gildea, Delaney. Subs: James, Hurrell, Bannister, Matthews, Parize
Redditch Borough: Swain, Turner, Birch, Oakley, Roberts, Denham(c), Fishwick, Bennett, Knight, B.Smith, Bloomer. Subs: Walsh, Merricks, Walsh, Pardoe, Pearce
Ground Number: 343