Eastwood remain just outside the relegation zone after defeat to Sutton Coldfield in the Evo-Stik Division One South on Saturday.
The match was a lot more one-sided than the scoreline suggests and the Badgers did well to bravely hang on for much of the contest.
Their resistance was finally broken when Mark Danks volleyed home the decisive goal on 68 minutes.
Play-off-chasing Sutton came out of the blocks quickly. In just the fourth minute, recently-signed Badgers keeper Denham Hinds did brilliantly to tip Luke Chapman’s header onto the crossbar.
Alex Haughton’s mishit volley and debutant Karl Cunningham’s harmless free-kick were as good as it got for Gary Hayward’s men in the early stages.
There was a blow for Eastwood on 11 minutes when Hayward for forced to take off Tyrone Burton when it became clear the defender was struggling with an injury.
It was all Sutton for the rest of the half but the Royals were foiled by a combination of brave defending and their own wasteful finishing.
Despite the home side’s dominance, Eastwood could have nicked an unlikely lead a few minutes before the break.
Andy Hutchinson found himself through on goal but was denied by onrushing goalkeeper Lee Evans making a good low stop.
The hosts came out with renewed gusto after half-time and a great chance soon fell to Chapman, who put over from six yards to the crowd’s disbelief.
Minutes later Craig Milligan blasted against the woodwork and it really looked like it was going to be Eastwood’s day.
But with 22 minutes to go the Royals finally broke the deadlock when Reece Leek’s pinpoint cross found Danks, who hit a thunderous volley past Hinds.
Although his clean sheet was gone, the former Hinckley stopper still acquitted himself well and made a number of saves.
The pick of the bunch was when Chapman crossed low for substitute Charlie Anagho-Ntamark. Hinds was off his line in a flash and charged down the shot and keep the Badgers in contention.
Eastwood were sticking mostly to long balls and holding out for the one opportunity that might fall their way.
They got their chance with virtually the last kick of the game, but Henry Sibenge’s free-kick was fired well over and summed up the Badgers’ afternoon.
Saturday, November 16, 2013:
Sutton Coldfield: 1 Lee Evans 2 Scott Lycett 3 Matthew Jackson 4 Lee Parsons (c) 5 Joel Kettle 6 Philip Male 7 Craig Milligan 8 Stuart McNaught 9 Gary Hay (Charlie Anagho-Ntamark 59) 10 Mark Danks 11 Luke Chapman (Daryl Taylor 84). Subs not used: Nathan Thompson, Lewis Gwilliams
Eastwood: 1 Denham Hinds 2 Elijah Reid 3 Jacob Sturgess 4 Tyrone Burton (Josh Schofield 11) 5 Elliott Green (c) 6 Josh Raby (Roberto Labbate 59) 7 Karl Cunningham 8 Henry Sibenge 9 Andy Hutchinson 10 Alex Haughton 11 Jordan Thomas. Subs not used: Vijay Selvam, James Murphy, Dan Dobbie Att: 126 Ref: Shaun Barry Best Badger: Denham Hinds
Report by Scott Brotherton