Sutton United 1 - 1 AFC Wimbledon
(Kavanagh 54) (Moore 8 (pen)
Half-time Score- 0 – 1
An exquisite free-kick from Tommy Kavanagh gave Sutton a morale boosting opening to their pre-season preparations, by securing a draw against Football League outfit AFC Wimbledon.
Former Youth player Kavanagh picked himself up from a 54th minute foul, to curl the resulting set-piece into Mikhael Jaimez-Ruiz’s top right corner from 25 yards.
The visitors, fresh from their promotion from Blue Square Premier, had taken an early lead from the penalty spot. Ironically it was Kavanagh who committed the foul, as a mistimed challenge on Rashid Yussuf on the edge of the area gave referee John Ryan no choice but to award the spot-kick.
Forward Luke Moore dispatched the penalty into the bottom left corner, beneath the dive of Wayne Shaw in the Sutton net.
U’s had a strong shout for a penalty of their own soon after. Tom Davis skipped into the opposition box and went down after neatly rounding Brown. The referee took a long hard look at his linesman but controversially waved away the Sutton appeals.
The hosts continued to dig in, and enjoyed a good spell of pressure in the middle of the half but to no avail.
The lively Leroy Griffiths came agonisingly close to an equaliser, however his fizzing 20 yard drive drifted just the wrong side of the left post. A Kavanagh pile-driver was also blocked on route to goal in this strong Sutton phase.
Yet it was the Dons who would have entered the changing rooms most aggrieved at their failure to convert chances. The quick feet of Charles Ademeno saw him dance around the challenges of Simon Downer and keeper Shaw, but were less successful in steering into the empty net. The post came to Sutton’s aid. Yussuff will also feel he could have done better when he was released into space on 42 minutes, but Shaw parried after the midfielder turned onto his left foot.
Sutton started brightly after the interval, and after Craig Watkins failed to turn home a Griffiths cross, they got their rewards. Sam Hatton bundled over Kavanagh, cue the midfielder to produce the highlight of the game.
The encounter began to lose the dynamic and competitive tempo of the first half amidst a flurry of substitutions and perhaps some pre-season rust.
Wayne Shaw was the busier keeper until being withdrawn for Grant Porter on 70 minutes. A powerful low effort and a 20 yard free-kick by Moore were well dealt with by the experienced stopper.
Tom Davis should have snatched an unlikely victory close to the death when Fola Orilonishe set him free with a delightful through ball. Davis was reluctant to hit the ball with his left foot and thus skewed well wide with his right.
Nevertheless the result will raise a few eyebrows amongst Sutton’s new rivals of the Blue Square South, as Paul Doswell’s men seek to hit the ground running.
Shaw, Downer, Bray, Kavanagh, El-Salahi ©, Page, Riviere, Davis, Dundas, Griffiths, Taggart.
Subs: Jenkins, Murray, McCree, Watkins, Orilonishe, McKimm, Conroy, Porter
Brown, Yussuff, Gwillam, Porter, Stuart ©, Johnson, Hatton, Wellard, Ademeno, Moore
Subs: Midson, Mikel, Mulley, S Moore, Minsull, Jones, Jackson, Bush