Goals from Gemma Brown, Emma McCabe and Jane Sixsmith gave Sutton Coldfield a great chance of maintaining their Premier League status as they twice came from behind to snatch a 3-2 win over Brooklands Poynton.
Having lost to Buckingham the previous week Brooklands were in a win or bust situation, and came out of the blocks quickly, forcing a penalty corner after two minutes. Charlotte Jackson hit a fierce strike but it thudded against the post and away to safety. They took the lead almost straight after, however. Helen Turner broke into the D on the right and fired a low cross in that Cat Savage diverted into the net beyond Becky Batsford. Sutton equalised with nine minutes on the clock after a mix up in the Brooklands defence presented Brown with a simple finish at the far post.
Jane Sixsmith started to come into the game as the half wore on, cutting through the defence with some excellent close control and pace. She was unlucky not to lift the ball over Michelle Thomas in the Poynton goal. Rosie Bailey went close for the Mighty Pinks with a penalty corner deflection but it flew over the bar. At the other end Savage carved her way through the Sutton defence and with Batsford out of her ground the ball fell to Annie Watton but her shot went wide of the far post. After the break, as they did in the first half Poynton took the lead. Kelly Baxter showed great composure to turn and fire a good shot into the bottom corner to make it 2-1.
Sutton rallied and Sixsmith and Rosie Bailey began to link up well to cause a number of nervous moments for the Poynton back line. Sixsmith teed up Bailey with a lovely one-touch layoff but the No25 shot just wide. Sutton restored parity on 49 minutes with a lovely individual goal from Emma McCabe whom jinked through the defence before lifting a calm finish in past the goalkeeper. Sixsmith and Bailey linked up brilliantly to give Sutton a precious with lead with 19 minutes left. Bailey cut in along the baseline and found the No10 who made no mistake from close range. Brooklands could not find another equaliser and the defeat condemned them to their second playoff loss ensuring they will go back to the North Conference next season. Sutton now face a vital clash with Buckingham tomorrow morning.