Sutton United drew 1-1 today in their Friendly match at Basingstoke Town.
Sutton's players will have been delighted to take a break from the training ground and get some real action under their belts but the weather was more akin to late autumn than the first Saturday of an Ashes series. With at least four of the likely regulars away on holiday this early fixture gave manager Paul Doswell a chance to take a good look at all the new members of his squad. The first half line-up saw first appearances in a U's shirt for goalkeeper Kevin Scriven, Ryan Adams, Sonny Cobbs, Jason Goodliffe, Justyn Roberts and Kenny Beaney, with Bradley Woods-Garness returning after appearing pre-season two years ago. It was a close, hard-fought first half but goalmouth action was hard to come by.
At the interval Matt Hann and Sam Stannard were the only replacements and Hann made an instant impression, playing at a pace that nobody else had yet aspired to and attracting two rather crude, distinctly unfriendly challenges with his direct running. Midway through the half U's made five changes, with debutants Anthony Joseph, Richard Willott, John Paul and "Prince", joined by Steve McKimm. Almost at once another trip on Hann brought a penalty which Beaney converted. U's had the better of the second period without looking like adding to their tally and with three minutes to go Goodliffe was unable to avoid a whipped-in cross that ricocheted off him past the stranded Scriven.
1 Scriven, 2 Adams (16 Stannard), 3 Chattaway (18 Paul), 4 Cobbs (19 McKimm), 5 Goodliffe, 6 Roberts, 7 Phillips (17 Prince), 8 Beaney, 9 Hamici (Joseph), 10 Woods-Garness (12 Hann), 11 Dunn (Willott)
Basingstoke provided robust opposition and Paul Doswell will undoubtedly have learned more about his new charges than from any training session, but it was Hann who looked the afternoon's class player with Hamici showing well before the break. Cobbs had a steady game and Roberts got better as the game went on, with several other newcomers showing some good touches.
Paul Doswell has moved quickly to make up for the loss of Kelvin McIntosh and Hasim Deen's change of heart by snapping up former Rushden & Diamonds centre-back Justyn Roberts from Tooting & Mitcham. Roberts had been expected to join Farnborough.