Sutton Coldfield Town 1 Brocton 1 (AET).
Sutton won 4-3 on penalties.
Despite the eventual narrow defeat, the Brocton players can hold their heads high after an excellent performance, having held the lead until stoppage time in the second half against a side from a league two steps higher than the Midland Combination.
Sutton clearly knew their 3-G pitch better and were able to put balls into the channels behind the Brocton defence without any hint of over hitting them.
That was their main tactic and for a period it looked as though it would be a good one. Brocton came more into the game though and their more intricate method began to pay dividends on such a true surface.
As early as the tenth minute an overlap on the left put Jamie Evans into position to cross when Dan Lomas found him and Paul McMahon got his head to the ball without being able to control it.
On the quarter hour, Gary Fife worked space for a shot but hit it over the bar.
Sutton were dangerous on the break though and Reece Leek went all the way to the edge of Brocton’s goal area before being tripped. Luke Chapman hit the free kick and Leek struck wide from the rebound.
Evans did well to hold up another swift break when a short pass between Dave Berks and Fife, which threatened to open up the Sutton defence deep in their last third, was swiftly intercepted and turned into a lightening break.
It was almost the last action for Evans as he had to come off with an injury. Andy Bourne went to the centre of defence and Dave Ablewhite came to left back and the back four continued where they had left off with an impeccable performance.
Brocton opened the scoring almost at the end of the first half. Sam Bell got to the bye line and crossed for Fife to head goal wards. Keeper Lewis Gwilliams did well to save but McMahon was on hand to pop in the rebound.
There was still time for Rob Tomlinson to pick a fine cross field pass to the advancing Allen who could not quite put in a cross into the box before being hastily closed down.
The second period saw Brocton settle much more into their passing game and Bell got in a couple more good crosses which came to nothing before he too began to feel an injury.
It was not enough to see him replaced but his dangerous runs were at an end. Jethro Jarrett replaced a tiring McMahon and caused a few heart flutters in the home defence before getting a firm head to a cross with the goal at his mercy, only to see it just pass over the bar.
As Sutton pressed the Brocton goal in numbers, the pressure finally told when a free kick just outside the box was hit hard and low and ricocheted into the net through a forest of feet.
It was a tough pill to swallow, coming almost at the end of normal time.
Extra time was even tougher for two tiring sides, Sutton reduced to ten men because of injury with all of their substitutes in use, but no more goals were forthcoming.
The penalty shoot out was even more of a lottery than normal with neither set of players fully fit, but despite a one fine save from Adam Whitehouse, Sutton edged it 4-3.