Sutton Coldfield draw - Phil Parkinson (Manager foreground) and Neil Sorvel (Assistant Manager)

Promotion-chasing Nantwich Town made it six unbeaten with a hard-fought 1-1 draw away at Sutton Coldfield, writes Steve Sharman.

The hosts took a sixth minute lead through Sean Geddes’ penalty after Curtis Jones had brought down David Howarth.

But Nantwich were level inside 60 seconds as Joel Stair netted his second goal of the season with a close range finish from Sean Cooke’s right wing corner.

The first half produced few chances, but the main talking point came on 30 minutes as Sutton’s Reece Webb and Cooke got in a tangle off the ball.

Webb was sent off for a clear kick out at Cooke.

But just when the Dabbers thought they were about to be a man up, the referee consulted with his linesman and evened the numbers by sending Cooke off.

The second half saw both teams press for the winner, but Dan Gyollai made a number of smart stops and Joe Mwasile and Wayne Riley went close at the other end.

Nantwich boss Phil Parkinson (pictured), who has just celebrated two years in charge, was forced into a couple of changes.

Osebi Abadaki missed out through injury, and Ryan Brooke was absent as he attended the birth of his second child.

Sam Hall came in and Steve Jones earned a start after his goal on Tuesday against Frickley.

Nathan Cottrell and new signing Joe Howell were on the bench.

The Dabbers began brightly and went close inside two minutes as Joe Mwasile fired wide of the far post after tricking his way into the box.

Sutton were denied by the fingertips of Gyollai who tipped Josh Venny’s dipping effort over the bar.

From the corner, Curtis Jones mistimed a challenge on Howarth in the box leaving the referee no choice but to award a spot kick.

Up stepped Royals’ skipper Sean Geddes who made no mistake.

But within a minute, the game was level as Stair finished well from a few yards from Cooke’s corner.

Despite a fast start, the next 15 minutes offered few chances with Cooke’s delicate chip from the edge of the box dropping just over the crossbar and Mwasile seeing his low effort tipped round the post by James Wren.

On the half hour mark, both teams were reduced to ten men as Reece Webb saw red after kicking out on Cooke, who was also sent for an early bath after the linesman had spoken to the referee.

Nantwich continued to probe and Tom Peers was denied a second Dabbers goal as his shot was blocked by Wren after the striker had pounced on hesitant defending.

The second half began with both sides creating opportunities as Mwasile dragged his shot wide before Gyollai palmed away a Geddes half volley from the edge of the box.

Gyollai then denied Venny from close range with his legs before the Stoke City loanee produced a magnificent save to palm away Howarth’s looping header.

The final 20 minutes were dominated by the Dabbers as Ben Harrison’s volley flew narrowly wide.

Peers felt he had a strong claim for a penalty after being bundled down in the Sutton box, but it was waved away.

Wayne Riley went close for the Dabbers but his goal-bound shot was blocked by Peers who deflected the effort to safety.

The forward was then inches away from converting Ibou Touray’s cross as the game ended all square.

The Dabbers play this Tuesday evening at the Weaver Stadium against 1874 Northwich in the Cheshire Senior Cup. Kick off 7.45pm.

Nantwich Town: Gyollai, J. Stair (Touray 84′), White, Harrison, C. Jones, Hall, S. Jones (Cottrell 59′), Riley, Peers, Cooke, Mwasile. Subs not used: Durnin, Howell, Burzynski.

(pic by Jonathan White)

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