Steve Morison’s Sutton United narrative may ring true – but time is running out

4 min

After three consecutive battling draws in January, Sutton United have failed to kick on, losing three of the last four, picking up just one point in the process, and currently standing winless in their last nine league outings.

Yet while it may seem a bold statement when considering the facts, Steve Morison has nevertheless still managed to improve a side that was destined for League Two relegation.

The 2-1 home defeat to Wrexham, coupled with a win for Forest Green Rovers, not only consigned Sutton to the bottom of the table but once again had fans asking themselves how they managed to leave the field empty-handed.

For the majority of the game Sutton were more than a match for their Hollywood rivals with Charlie Lakin’s free-kick deservedly cancelling out Will Boyle’s opener on the stroke of half-time.

A bright start to both halves was undone by blips in concentration, with poor decision-making presenting Elliot Lee with the opportunity to grab an 85th minute winner.

It was another game where Sutton, for the large part, maintained a high standard throughout, before ending with what seems like another lurch towards the relegation trapdoor.

But since arriving at the start of January, Morison has gone about injecting hope into a previously lifeless Sutton side through a combination of smart recruitment, formation reshaping and a progressive tweak to the playing style.

The 40-year-old remains open and honest in his reflection of Sutton’s situation though, telling London Football Scene: “I have tried to get the players to believe and just to try to enjoy their football.

READ MORE: Matt Gray leaves Sutton United with his legendary status intact despite Stockport County debacle

“From a performance point of view, we have been tremendous, but again the result is what it is.

“I thought we were excellent again (against Wrexham), but we must keep plugging away.”

In terms of possession over the past month, only promotion-chasing Mansfield Town have managed to keep the ball more than Morison’s men, but it’s what they are doing with it which is the biggest issue.

Sutton are a much more progressive beast than they were under predecessor Matt Gray – creating more chances, enjoying more possession and increasing their credibility as a League Two outfit.

Morison has quickly set about adopting a new formation, moving from a traditional 4-4-2 to an innovative 3-4-1-2 with a raft of new recruits from the January transfer window hitting the ground running.

Lakin, Stephen Duke-Mckenna and Nino Adom-Malaki have all impressed in this new-look Sutton side, at a time when perversely the club’s predicament has worsened.

With just 14 games remaining, Morison knows he must soon turn these impressive, yet fruitless, performances into invaluable wins, with the Wrexham defeat another reminder of how tough it is when you are at the bottom.

READ MORE: Steve Morison – The hardened former Millwall player is the perfect fit for Sutton United

Sutton had two penalty claims waved away, an unfair amount of bookings despite few fouls and an Adom-Malaki effort that bounced onto the crossbar before a goal-mouth scramble eventually saw the ball cleared to safety.

A hardened striker in his playing days, even Morison could be seen feeling it for his players post-match, saying: “You know when you have played badly, but it hurts more when you play so well and don’t get a result.

“I will watch it all back, and if I am wrong, I will admit it but I thought the players worked their socks off and I am so proud of them.”

“Everyone will have different narratives – but that’s the one I believe, and my eyes don’t lie.” 

And although Morison’s narrative may ring true and a turn in fortunes may well not be too far off, it’s hard to escape the fact that time is slowly starting to fade away…

Images provided with thanks to Paul Loughlin/Sutton United FC.

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