MATCH VERDICT: Sutton United 1-0 FC Halifax Town

Harry Beautyman's tenth-minute penalty condemned FC Halifax Town to another defeat as they lost 1-0 at Sutton United.
Sutton v HalifaxSutton v Halifax
Sutton v Halifax

For the third game in-a-row, The Shaymen fell behind to an early goal and had it all to do against a side whose tails were up.

Second-half substitute Nyal Bell hit the bar for Town on his debut, but The Shaymen remain without a win since the opening day of the season, something which would have seemed fanciful after that victory over Dagenham.

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It was another hugely frustrating afternoon for Town, who are still not fulfilling their potential, while the gap to the play-offs increases as the weeks go by.

Pete Wild started with the pace of Jamie Allen and Gevaro Nepomuceno up-front, with a sore back sidelining Jake Hyde, and headed Neil Danns his debut in midfield.

After an alleged handball in the Town box only ten minutes in, Beautyman just about scored from the spot despite Sam Johnson getting a hand to it.

That was the way it stayed until half-time, but there was more that separated the sides than just a spot-kick.

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Tobi Sho-Silva had been given too much space to fire off target as Sutton looked to build on their early lead, and a few minutes later, more room was afforded to the impressive David Ajiboye, whose rasping drive was well saved by Johnson.

Sutton's use of the ball was quicker, their movement was better and they looked far more of a threat than The Shaymen.

In possession, Sutton pushed their wingers high up the pitch and had four players strung across in advanced areas, so when the ball went forward, it invariably stuck and ended in a shot.

But Allen and Nepomuceno looked isolated at times for Town, easy to spot in pink against the gloomy mist, but in need of more support against a well-drilled defence.

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Will Randall saw a shot saved from similar range to Sho-Silva and Ajiboye, before Abijoye fired just wide across goal after another pacey burst towards goal.

Town repeatedly found the speed of the Sutton forwards a problem, with Abijoe and Isaac Olaofe dropping deep to receive the ball before charging at the pink shirts ahead of them, who retreated in dread.

Town's attacks were disjointed in comparison, with any crosses into the Sutton box dealt with comfortably, while despite having three central midfielders compared to Sutton's two, they hadn't dominated the middle of the park.

By half-time, Sutton had registered nine efforts. Town had none.

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That at least changed shortly after the restart when a Nepomuceno effort was deflected and then punched away by the previously redundant Dean Bouzanis.

But just before the hour mark, Pete Wild had seen enough and changed the 3-4-1-2 system for the first time this season, bringing on Jack Earing and debutant Bell in a 4-3-3, and Town looked better for the change.

It certainly heralded a more attacking approach, with more bodies further up the pitch and a far quicker tempo, more penetration and more width.

Neill Byrne headed over unmarked from a floated free-kick before Rob Milsom nearly scored an own goal from a dangerous cross from the left.

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Town were seeing more of the ball now, and in better areas. This was much more like it.

Bell, who at least had the height to try and hold up those high balls from the back and impressed on his debut, smashed the ball off the bar from close range with just over 20 minutes remaining but should have scored.

Town huffed and puffed, pushing Sutton further back and dominating play, but the best they could muster were either blocked shots or a cross causing momentary panic in the Sutton box.

Sutton: Bouzanis, Goodliffe, Ajiboye (Wyatt 85), John, Davis, Beautyman, Randall (Barden 45), Eastmond, Sho-Silva (Bugiel 81), Milsom, Olaofe. Subs not used: Dundas, Keeley.

Scorer: Beautyman (10)

Shots on target: 4

Shots off target: 9

Corners: 5

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Halifax: Johnson, Byrne, Clarke (Bell 57), Bradbury, Maher, Summerfield, Woods (Green 85), Danns (Earing 57), Williams, Allen, Nepomuceno. Subs not used: Davison-Hale, Senior.

Shots on target: 1

Shots off target: 9

Corners: 8

Referee: Lloyd Wood

Town man of the match: Sam Johnson. Slim pickings outfield, so Johnson gets the nod for some good saves when called upon.