Leek made it four wins out of four in their League programme with record scorer Tim Grice helping himself to a second brace of the season. That victory was enough to see the Blues top the table at this early stage of the season. It was just a pity that the game failed to really match the heights of the league position with little in the way of goalmouth action.
Leek were always in control of a game that saw Sutton Coldfield arrive at Harrison Park still searching for their first point of the season. But the Royals’ defence – with centre backs Jim Mutton and James Beresford outstanding – did enough to keep a rampant Leek attack at bay for more than half an hour.
With the home support getting a little restless the deadlock was finally broken. Good work down the left saw Rob Stevenson fire in what may have been an effort on goal. This time the visitors failed to cut the ball out and Grice was on hand to slip the ball into an empty net for the game’s opener.
Grice should have bagged a second on the stroke of half-time when Stevenson fizzed a low cross to the far post. Unfortunately, the Blues’ striker failed to sort his feet out in time and the effort was hit off-target from very close range.
The lack-lustre Royals were sent out early for the second period but whatever was said by Manager Neil Tooth had little impact as Sutton Coldfield continued to be pressed back by a Leek side determined to grab a second goal.
The decisive goal came just before the hour mark and Stevenson was once again the provider. A pinpoint crossfield ball enabled Grice to beat the offside trap and, with the defenders trailing in his wake, slot the ball past the advancing Lewis Gwilliams.
The second goal destroyed the Royals’ fragile confidence and their frustration showed as referee Michael Crusham showed a rash of yellow cards in the closing stages. And the scoreline could have been even harder for the Royals to bear as a quick free-kick caught the defenders napping allowing Chris Baker to hit a fierce drive that cannoned to safety from the crossbar.
Sutton Coldfield were generally outplayed and, despite some spirited attempts to counter-attack, – particularly from Reece Leek – Danny Roberts was a virtual spectator throughout the ninety minutes.
Assistant Manager Pete Ward was exclusively interviewed after the match and had this to say “We took control early in the game and maintained that control throughout the match. It would have been nice to have got that second goal before the break but at half-time Neil (Baker) told the players to keep their shape. Once we got the second goal it was a case of seeing the game out.”
Ward added” The pitch went very dry as the game wore on and that didn’t help with the passing but the clean sheet is important to us. It was also important that a forward scored the goals. Grice works so hard in training but we have to be careful with him.”
The Assistant Manager also warned “These are early days to be top. We now have to go and prepare for what will be a hard game against Market Drayton.”