Two off as Snipes win eight-goal thriller

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Sutton moved into fourth place in the East Midlands Counties League as they kept their unbeaten run going with a second win in a week, beating Radcliffe Olympic 5-3.

The visitors had been beaten by Sutton on the first day of the season, and the Snipes completed a league double in a very entertaining game, which saw eight goals and two red cards.

The game couldn’t have started any better for the Snipes, as after only 10 minutes Rhodes’ goalbound effort was acrobatically tipped over by a Radcliffe defender with the goalkeeper beaten.

The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and no option but to reduce the visitors to 10 men. Mitchell then stepped up to smash the penalty home.

There was better to follow as Mitchell pounced onto a short backpass and coolly rounded the keeper to double the advantage.

It really looked like a case of how many now. But as in recent weeks, the Snipes instead of pushing on took their foot of the gas, and Radcliffe began to get a foothold into the game.

The Snipes were guilty of over-playing in midfield and were caught out on the ball, giving a chance to Radcliffe, but West managed to turn the ball round for a corner.

Worse was to come as from the resulting corner, poor marking by Sutton allowed Andy Bee to ghost in at the back post and smash the ball home.

The rest of the half was played out with Radcliffe matching Sutton.

The Snipes came out for the second half looking to put the game to bed, and the crowd must have thought that was the case as Rhodes was on hand to give Sutton a 3-1 lead after good work from Mitchell.

But, to be fair to Radcliffe, they responded brilliantly and never let Sutton settle on the ball, their hard work paying off when substitute Hartshorn was quickest to react after West could only parry a Radcliffe goalbound effort, to loop the ball over the keeper and into the net.

It was now the visitors, who were on top, and more fine attacking play led to a corner. As the ball was swung in, West went to claim the corner but unfortunately dropped the ball and the quickest to react was Smith who smashed the ball home to draw Radcliffe level.

The Snipes now had a real game on their hands and you could not tell that Radcliffe had a man less.

But disaster was to strike for the visitors as the ball was played back to Green.

The keeper took his eye off the ball and allowed Mitchell to close him down and the in-form striker stole the ball and coolly rounded the defender on the line to put Sutton back in front.

Just as Sutton looked like they were going to put the game to bed, they were going to be reduced to 10 men for the second time in a week, as C. Hewitt was shown the red card for dissent after not being awarded a free kick.

It was now 10-a-side, but Sutton finally took control of the game as Atkins looped an effort over Greens head to give them a two-goal advantage with only five minutes to play.

This finished off brave Radcliffe and they were unable to muster another effort on the Snipes goal, but their management and players must take great heart from how they battled with 10 men for most of the game and Sutton will feel slightly fortunate that they took all three points.

SUTTON: West, M. Hewitt, Hollingsworth, Charlesworth, Pickering, Fields, Atkins, Rhodes, Mitchell, Owens, N. Grayson. Subs: Chambers, Doolhan, G. Short, C. Hewitt, Gilliat.

SUTTON MAN OF THE MATCH: Craig Mitchell.

The Snipes had visited Holwell Sports on Tuesday night and returned 4-1 victors.

After going behind early to a Tom Williams header, the Snipes responded and Steve Owens levelled before the break.

Then Craig Mitchell bagged himself a brace in the second half and Neil Grayson also returned to the forward line, earning himself a goal after only two minutes of coming on as a substitute.

But the night was spoiled by the sending-off of Grayson two minutes later.