Sutton Town AFC and Stapenhill came away from Saturday’s EMCL clash with a share of the spoils after an entertaining 2-2 draw in which the league’s top scorer Steven Hart added another two goals to his tally.
The Snipes had taken the lead through Stubley, then Hart’s brace a minute either side of half-time gave Stapenhill the lead, only for Guest to come off the bench and salvage a point for Sutton.
Sutton kicked off down the slope and were on the front foot from the off, an early chance falling to Mitchell but the striker couldn’t find the target.
Sutton should have taken the lead five minutes later, again the chance falling to Mitchell as he found himself with loads of space on the back post, but the striker could only crash his effort against the post.
Stapenhill started to work themselves into the game and Chatfield was causing the Snipes all sorts of problems down the left. He whipped a couple of dangerous crosses into the box but Hart and Kirk were unable to convert.
Sutton took the lead 10 minutes before half-time when Varley’s long throw found the unmarked Stubley on the back post where he had time to control and lash the ball home by the hapless Gough.
The game was very open and, after Hart was fouled on the edge of the box, the striker curled a low effort at West’s goal but the veteran stopper was up to the task and turned the ball around the post.
Hart didn’t have to wait much longer to get his goal. Again the problems came down the Sutton right, this time Hart skipped by the Snipes defence and he fired a low effort that beat West at his near post to take the game in level at the interval.
Stapenhill kicked off for the second half, scoring with their first attack.
A high ball wasn’t dealt with by Pickering and Chatfield was able to control and whip in a cross that found the unmarked Hart.
The striker lashed the ball at goal where West saved but could only watch as Hart reacted quickest to the rebound to give the visitors the lead.
It was a disastrous start to the second half for the Snipes, who made two changes straight away bringing on Hewitt and Owens.
But the visitors could have extended their advantage five minutes later, again Hart finding space in the box, but this time his effort crashed back off the post.
Sutton finally started to work themselves back into the game, Owens with a jinking run to the by-line but his cross was cleared. From the resulting corner Varley found space on the back post, but Coulson was able to make the block.
Sutton finally made their pressure pay as Owens chipped a delightful ball into the box which was met with a firm header from substitute Guest who powered the ball past Gough in the Stapenhill goal.
Both teams huffed and puffed trying to find the winner, and in the last minute Sutton had a chance to score after Owens had been brought down on the edge of the box.
Grayson stepped up, but his effort ballooned over the bar and the referee blew for full-time.
This was probably a fair result, but a point wasn’t enough for either team in their efforts to close on the leaders.
Sutton’s next game is their League Cup semi-final at Barrow Town against Radcliffe Olympic tonight (Wednesday).
SNIPES: West, Farnsworth, Hollingsworth, Pickering, Varley, Grayson, Fields, Mitchell, C. Hewitt, Naughton, Stubley. Subs: Guest, Owens, M. Hewitt, Charlesworth, Short.
SNIPES’ MAN OF THE MATCH: Matt Varley.