Following back to back defeats Borough badly needed to defy the odds and take points from our high flying visitors. With blue sky and sunshine, not to mention my first game for months without an overcoat, anything is possible.
Borough: Kevin Scriven, Josh Huggins, Ollie Treacher (Berry 68), Alfred Bosch (Bosch 59), Alan Inns (C), Adam Doyle, Dan Bennett, Matt Ball, George Sykes (Page 59), Jamal Lowe, Harry Lee.
Subs not used: Siaw and Cole.
Sutton United: Jason Brown, Louis John, Dale Binns, Kane Haysman, Simon Downer, Charlie Clough (C), Damian Scannell (Shitta 84), Craig Dundas, Jamie Slabber (Sinclair 59), Jamie Taylor (McCallum 86), Lee Sawyer.
Subs not used: Telfer and Lovelock (gk)
Referee: Stephen Daly
Assistant Referee’s: Andrew Williams & Reuben Simon
The game started with Sutton defending the PRE and Boro’ facing the sun. Play was fairly even in the opening minutes with both sides clearly intent on attacking football. The Referee, Mr Daly, spoke to Bennett after 7 minutes and indicated the latter had a bit too much to say, but just waved his finger rather than a card. From early Boro’ attacks the Sutton skipper Charlie Clough was clearly keen on using his hands to restrain forwards and one particularly obvious case against Sykes should have led to some sort of reprimand, but went unpunished.
On the quarter hour, a long Boro’ free kick was headed on by Alan Inns and Louis John nearly headed into his own net with Brown scrambling across his goal to grab it. Lowe, who was looking lively and switching wings, did well on the right to beat Binns, but his cross was wayward and dropped behind the goal. Shortly afterwards, another good cross from the right was met by Adam Doyle whose strong shot cannoned back off the post and was cleared. Sutton then had a couple of chances with Scriven saving well from a long free kick before an effort from Haysman was deflected for a corner by Ollie Treacher.
With the half hour mark approaching, Clough cleared a free kick following a foul on Huggins, then Doyle hit another good shot from the edge of the area. The shot was high, but at least he had a go. Boro’ came again and when Clough leaned on Matt Ball, he drew a foul from the Sutton #6. Ball took the resulting free kick which was headed narrowly over by George Sykes from 12 yards. On 34 minutes and completely against the run of play, Boro’ paid the price for some less than competent defending which allowed Scannell to prod home from close in.
Matt Ball whips in a Farnborough free-kick
Borough went looking for an equaliser and George Sykes was clattered by Clough on the very edge of the area. The Referee had no hesitation and the Sutton skipper was rightly dismissed. He may well have regretted wearing a white headband/bandage, which, together with his lack of hair, made him rather too easy to spot. Having discarded the aforesaid headband on leaving the pitch, there was no obvious injury on view. Lee’s resulting free kick breached the Sutton wall, but failed to worry Brown.
The visitors pressed forward again and won a free kick in midfield. The kick was only partially cleared and fell into the path of Jamie Taylor on the right hand edge of the box. His accurate finish gave Scriven no chance and nestled in the far corner to give Sutton their 2nd goal in the 40th minute. The remaining time, including two added minutes, saw play swing from end to end, but, after several warnings, the Sutton number 11, was finally shown a yellow card. The referee might well have said SAWYER that time.
Half Time: Boro’ 0 – Sutton 2.
Borough were a tad unlucky to find themselves 0-2 behind having performed well against a strong inform side, hit a post and had a couple blocked when a goal had seemed likely.
Borough began the second half in full flow and when Harry Lee crossed from the left, keeper Jason Brown punched clear and the ball was cleared as Doyle closed in. Still attacking, Boro’ won three corners in quick succession. From the 2nd, Jamal Lowe, shot on the turn only to see the ball deflected for another corner. This time a strong header from George Sykes just cleared the bar.
Sutton then broke down the left, with Dale Binns, seeking to remind home fans of his trickery, weaving his way between defenders before loosing a shot which Kevin Scriven did well to block. Seconds later, Scriven suffered from a bobbling ball when hastily seeking to clear a back pass from Huggins. The ball spinning back over his shoulder for a Sutton corner. The 59th minute saw a glut of substitutions with Sutton replacing high scoring Jamie Slabber with Dean Sinclair. Borough replacing George Sykes and Alfred Bosch, with Phil Page and Connor French. Bosch was clearly unhappy and disappeared down the tunnel. Couldn’t say he’d done anything wrong, but suspect he was sacrificed to give Boro’ more attacking options when chasing a two goal deficit.
The home side certainly attacked strongly in an effort to make the most of their extra man, but the powerful Sutton defence made life difficult. With both sides defending strongly at times there were a number of fouls by either team. One foul by Inns on Scannell followed the Sutton number seven upending Doyle as he attempted to burst through. Then it was Scannell’s turn to go clear, but a very late flag confirmed he was well off side anyway. Boro’ made their final sub in the 68th minute with Tyrone Berry replacing Ollie Treacher in a further attempt to add fire power. The attacks certainly continued and after several attempts were repelled, Lowe hit a shot far too high. With fifteen minutes left, Connor French had a good effort scooped off the line by stand-in-skipper Downer, and over for a corner.
At the other end, Scannell went down like the proverbial ‘sack of spuds’ in an effort to win a penalty. This blatant dive went unpunished. Binns was booked for a foul on Page and Lee’s free kick was far too strong and went out of play. A Sutton corner forced a fine reflex save from Scriven after Taylor headed strongly from close range. Sutton were no doubt feeling the pressure of being a man short and made two further subs in the 84th and 86th minute. Danny Shitta came on for Damian Scannell and Gavin McCallum replaced Jamie Taylor.
Borough continued to apply pressure and their persistence paid off in the 88th minute when Connor French scored his first goal for the club to pull one back. When the referee indicated a minimum of 5 minutes added time, Sutton used every opportunity to see out play and their keeper, Jason Brown, was booked for blatant time wasting. Bennett also got a yellow card for a foul on Binns and, despite all their efforts, Boro’ ran out of time.
Result: Borough 1 – Sutton 2.
It was never going to be an easy game against the league’s top scorers, but Boro’ didn’t want for lack of effort and on another occasion might have got at least a point which is what they deserved. Credit must also go to Sutton for holding out for so long when a man down. Further confirmation of their strength and league position.
Match Report by Tony Duff.
After the game, manager Spencer Day reflected:
“The simple fact is the better team lost today. We were dominant for most of the game, certainly in the first 35 minutes we were much stronger. We’ve had four or five fabulous chances, we’ve hit the post. First time they’ve got into our box they’ve scored and it was a very poor defensive goal – we haven’t stopped the cross and there’s been a ricochet that’s gone their favour and the guy’s tapped it in. And then they’ve had the man sent off just before half time and an absolutely crazy second goal from our perspective, where our markers just lost his man and he’s smacked the ball into the goal.
“We’ve come in 2-0 down, played very very well and out played them, but the reality is you’ve got to give Sutton credit, hanging in there in being so ruthless. They’re everything that we’re not. It was almost total dominance from us but again we’ve just not worked the keeper enough, we’ve not had quite enough quality, we’ve worked really hard and we’ve got one at the end.
“Referee has really let us down at the very end with the stoppage time, they’ve been time-wasting from the thirty-fifth minute. But no complaints, that’s what you’d do and that shows their experience and no problem with that at all. We deserved at least a point but this is how you win titles and how you get promoted. I don’t think they’ll say they played very well but we’ve not done enough (in the) second half and lots of attempts, I think we had five or six men up top at the very end and it’s very very disappointing even though we played generally pretty well.
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