BOLTON WOODS 7 v 3 SUTTON B
Sutton travelled to Bradford for their 1st friendley of 2017 as well as it being their 1st friendley it was also the 1st time they'd played 11 a side with the larger pitch and much larger goals! Bolton Woods had finished 4th in division D and the last time Sutton played a team from this division they were defeated 8 v 0 in a cup game against a team that finished 6th so this result was extremely encouraging. It is also worth noting that this Bradford team were playing their 3rd game of the 11 a side format.
With the sun beating down and the temperature rising Sutton lined up with a 4-4-1-1 formation for this lunchtime kick off which enabled star rookie Chloe Hodge to continue playing in a free role which she has played with excellent results all season.
Bolton Woods kicked off but Sutton soon won the ball back and immediatley got a feel for their new set up by doing what they do best which is passing the ball into feet while looking to get forward. The game had started off at a fast pace and the Yellows were the first team to create a real chance on goal as Matt Akrigg received the ball in the opposition half and took on a couple of defenders before finding Cody Leach on the left, He made his way into the penalty area and found Chloe Hodge who beat a closing defender but unfortunately her shot just went over the bar. It was a good early chance and typical of the sort of quality play Sutton have been producing more and more as the season went on. Two minutes later and Harry Dale collected the ball on halfway and found Matt with a good pass. Matt flicked the ball past a defender and found the over lapping Cody who timed his run well to beat the offside trap, Cody then cut inside the penalty area and let go a fine shot which the keeper did really well to save. The keeper then through the ball out and Jack Moran won it back on the right and picked out Matt in the middle of the goal who put it away with a well taken shot to give the visitors the lead after just 8 minutes. After 10 minutes the home side won a free kick 5 meters from the edge of the Sutton penalty area after a challenge involving right back Thomas Harrison. Bolton Woods went straight for goal but the ball landed at the feet of left back Brody Leach who cleared the danger. Sutton then went on the counter attack with Harry and reece Bithell linking up well and the ball made its way out to Jack Moran who did well taking it down the right wing and put in a fine cross and the home defence put it out for a corner. Chloe then sent in a teasing corner and both Matt and Cody tried to turn it goalwards but they managed a half clearence. The only made it as far as Chloe on the left edge of the penalty area and her fine looping shot went over the keeper and into the top corner of the net to make it 2 nil to the visitors after just 11 minutes.
Sutton made a change after 15 minutes taking off Cody Leach who had had a fine opening quarter of an hour and on came James for his debut.
Bolton Woods almost found themselves back in the game after a good back pass from Greg Riddiough to his keeper Morgan Selwood. Morgan thought he had more time than he did and took a touch but he was immediatley closed down and his clearence was met by the foot of a Clarets attacker but his rebound driffted wide. However they were back in it after 18 minutes and again it came from a piece of good fortune as Brody Leach won the ball on the edge of the area and went to hoof it clear but the ball flew in the goal off an opponents strikers rear. It seemed that this was the only way Bolton Woods would get back into the game as the Sutton defence had been rock solid and dealt with everything in front of them. Sutton went straight back on the attack from the kick off and James was unlucky not to score after his shot was well saved. A minute later James went close again after he put in a cross which found Chloe and she controlled the ball and passed it back to James who had followed in his own cross but again his shot was well saved by the home keeper. Despite all Sutton's dominance the scores were level after 22 minutes as Bolton Woods created a chance after some good build up play but Morgan denied them with a fine save but they were level as they scored from the resulting corner after Sutton failed to clear the ball.
Sutton very nearly regained the lead after 27 minutes as Reece Bithell found Jack Moran with a fine through ball and he unleashed a shot which crashed against the cross bar, the rebound fell to debutant James on the edge of the area and his shot was turned inches wide by the keeper for another Sutton corner. Unfortunately Sutton couldn't make this pressure count and Bolton Woods were soon in front for the 1st time in game as their midfielder spotted Selwood off his line and he chipped it into an empty net to make it 3 v 2 after 29 minutes. With half drawing to a close Sutton had one more chance as Harry Dale received the ball inside the home sides area but his shot went just over the bar. That was the end of the 1st half and Sutton could feel unfortunate to be trailing 3 v 2 after being on top for the majority of the opening 35 minutes.
Sutton kicked off the second half with a slighty different formation as they went for a midfield diamond with 4 at the back and 2 up front. This meant James moved from the right to the top of the dimond with him interchanging with Chloe Hodge up front. Harry Dale made way for Reece Bithell who'd had a short rest and Cody Leach moved to his prefered left midfield after playing the last few minutes in a central role.
Bolton Woods extended their lead direct from a free kick which came after a questionable call from the referee who awarded a free kick after Brody Leach was adjuged to have been over physical in a challenge. Sutton created another chance after good work from Jack Moran on the right and he won his team a corner but again they failed to capitalise from the resulting corner. Bolton Woods soon found themselves 6 v 2 in front after a four minute period that went totally against the run of play as the home side scored 2 quick fire goals on nine and again ten minutes. This didn't do the Yellows justice at all and they weren't going to let it get them down. Sutton won a free kick in a dangerous area within seconds of the restart. Chloe Hodge stood over the ball and lined up the free kick but her excellent shot was well saved by the keeper. This showed Sutton weren't going to lie down despite conceding six goals on the bounce.
Bolton Woods went looking to extend their lead but they found their path to goal blocked by centre backs Greg Riddiough and JP who had stood strong all day and worked well together in winning balls and clearing danger.
After 17 minutes James used his pace well to win a free kick ten meters outside the clarets penalty area on the left side. The ball was sent right into the penalty area and Matt Akrigg tried to turn it on only to see his attempt cleared off the line. The clearance didn't go far and Chloe tried her luck from five yards but again her attempt was stopped on the line and the ball rolled to Cody Leach who had one attempt blocked but his second attempt crossed the line to make it 6 v 3 and a deserved goal for the young midfielder.
With 15 minutes left on the clock Sutton reintroduced Harry Dale and goal scorer Cody came off for a breather. Harry went back into central midfield which saw James move onto the left. After 22 minutes Thomas Harrison put his face on the line as he took a bullet of a shot square in the face from point blank range but to his credit he stood up to it and carried on as if nothing had happened. Two minutes later and Bolton Woods scored their seventh of the game which was undoubtedly their best goal of the day. They sent in an absolutely beautiful cross from the left which was met by their striker who headed into the goal giving Morgan no chance what so ever. A minute later and brave Thomas came off for Cody who went back on the left moving James into his fourth position of the day at right back.
Sutton wouldn't give up as they continued to attack Bolton Woods and Chloe Hodge went on a mazey run receiving the ball in a central position she went past a midfielder and the another, she was now out on the left and Chloe took on and beat their right back then cut inside and went past 2 more defenders before having a shot which the goalie did well to hold onto. Chloe's run deserved more but the Bolton Woods keeper is probably the best we've come against all season. Next it was Jack's turn who beat 3 defenders on the right and his low cross was cleared for a corner to Sutton. Jack took a quick corner which just evaded Harry and Cody as the home side cleared the ball for a throw in. With the game drawing to a close James had run himself into the ground and was replaced by Thomas who had showed no ill efects after the ball had been smashed into him.
That was it and although the 7 v 3 scoreline suggests that Sutton were well beaten I think this report tells a different and more accurate story. Once again they've more than matched a team from a higher league and this was confirmed by the home sides coach who was impressed by the opposition. Both teams played some very exciting football in what was a very entertaining and pretty evenly matched game. There are things to work on but that is what friendlies are for and this one has delivered plenty and it also showed that Sutton are up for any challenge.
GK – MORGAN SELWOOD – Some fine saves in what must have been a daunting game with the size of the goals in this format.
LB – BRODY LEACH – Another fine perfomance from the elder of the Leach brothers
CB – GREG RIDDIOUGH – Solid and confident at the back, always seems to make the right decision
CB – JAMES PYRAH – Mr dependable captains the team well
RB – THOMAS HARRISON – Final member of the awesome foursome at the back, brave and tough never backs down
CM – HARRY DALE – Another good perfomance from this lad, the more consistant he gets the better he'll get
CM – REECE BITHELL – Outstanding 1st half but a little quieter in the 2nd as he struggled with different formation
LM – CODY LEACH – Fantastic opening stint and scored a goal in his second stint, starting to catch up with his elder brother
RM – JACK MORAN – Busy throughout with loads of quality on the ball
CAM – CHLOE HODGE – This girl ran for 70 minutes and covered every blade of grass. Pure quality from the young lass
CF – MATT AKRIGG – Worked really hard all day and scored Sutton's 1st goal of the new 11 a side format
JAMES – Fine debut in the yellow jersey and ran himself to a stand still, looks a good addition
PLAYER OF THE WEEK – JACK MORAN – Quality display, a very dangerous opponent
SUPPORTERS PLAYER – CHLOE HODGE – Another 5 star all round display from the vice captain
MAGIC MOMENT – MATT AKRIGG – Beautiful flick in the build up to an early attack/ 1st Sutton goal in 11 a side games.