A 93rd minute wonder strike from skipper Adam Chapman gave Sheffield FC all three points on Saturday, as the World’s First snatched a 1-0 win in the West Midlands, beating basement side Sutton Coldfield Town in a dour battle on the 3G surface at Central Park.
“Dour” would be an accurate way to describe most of this contest, especially the first half, where neither side managed a shot on target.
The Royals had the best chance to raise expectations midway through the half, as an under-hit Ben Turner header was intercepted, only for the end effort being easily gathered by debutant keeper Sam Kelly.
For the visitors the best effort came just before the interval, Adam Chapman hitting a decent free-kick from 25 yards, sailing inches over the bar.
The second half was slightly better, the first shot on target coming for Sheffield after a darting solo run from James Gregory, with the winger’s shot well stopped by Lewis Gwilliams.
At the other end Reece Leek forced the save of the game, a rasping shot from 30 yards out spectacularly tipped over the bar by the youngster Kelly, waking the crowd from their slumber.
Midway through the half Club were reduced to ten men, Ted Cribley being shown a straight red for a reckless challenge on Aris Christophorou, catching the home defender high on the knee following an awkward bounce of the ball.
With five minutes to go it looked as if Sutton had grabbed all three points, Joel Halsall dispatching a cross with a diving header, only to see his effort ruled out for an infringement in the build up.
As the game appeared to have petered out to a goalless draw a moment of inspiration won the points for the visitors, Gwilliams left his goal to clear the ball upfield, only to see Adam Chapman return the ball back with interest into the empty net from 60 plus yards to spark delirious scenes around Club’s bench area.
A last second scramble saw Sutton nearly grab a late point, with Isa Marselia stabbing a shot goalbound, only for Kelly to smother the ball on the line to secure Sheffield the win to take them back into the play-off spots.
Sutton Coldfield Town: Lewis Gwilliams, Ben George, Aris Christophorou, Joel Halsall, Regan Ganley, James Beresford, Jordan Francis, Ryan Shaw, Isa Marselia, Reece Leek, Reece Gibson
Subs: Desean Martin, Chinedu Okoro, Vinnie Dwyer, James Harrison, Charlie Stanton
Sheffield: Sam Kelly, Ben Turner, Joe Stacey, Lee Cooksey, Rian McLean, Adam Chapman, Edward Cribley, Ashley Grayson, Marc Newsham, Cody Prior, James Gregory
Subs: Jordan Chapell, Bradley Beatson, Declan Sorrell, Alex Wonham, Gavin Smith