Parsons: Sutton & Epsoms's current form is far from grave

Wandsworth Guardian: Big miss: Matt Whitaker’s continued absence from the Sutton & Epsom line up is causing much consternation Big miss: Matt Whitaker’s continued absence from the Sutton & Epsom line up is causing much consternation

Sutton & Epsom coach Jeff Parsons is taking the silver lining from their heaviest defeat in London Division One South so far, and is hoping for a swift turnaround.

Sutton went to promotion-chasing Gravesend on Saturday looking to bounce back from defeat at home to leaders Chichester the weekend before, but they returned on the back of a 41-3 thumping.

However, Parsons was proud of his men’s efforts, and had the unusually off-target boot of Sam Hurley been in the zone, the result could have been different.

This weekend, Sutton host third-placed Brighton with Parsons expecting a reaction.

He said: “Gravesend were a huge side. They were relegated from National League Three last season with 45 points, so they are probably feeling a bit hard done by that.

“But they are definitely a team preparing for promotion, and it is a measure of what we are up against near the top of the table.”

He added: “The lads were a bit despondent after the game, but they’re strong and they will bounce back.

“We’re a work in progress, we’re looking to consolidate our place in London One South this year, and maybe even next, and then take the next step.

“So this is a big learning curve – and the fact it could have been different but for the little things is pleasing.”

Parsons is still without the services of skipper Matt Whitaker (neck), Mike Blakeburn (hand), Phil Williams (foot) and Austin Sheppard (foot), which did not make life easy in north Kent.

“We had all the possession and territory in the opening 20 minutes, but Hurley missed three easy kicks.

“They got a try out of a charge down, so out of nothing really, followed by a quick penalty.

“Then we had a great scoring opportunity, which was ended by a deliberate knock-on. So from being possibly 16-0 ahead, we’re 10-0 behind.

“From then on we were always chasing the game, and doing things we would not normally do.”

He added: “This weekend’s game against Brighton is massive, we’ve lost two on the bounce so we could do with a win.”

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