They say football is a game of two halves and such was the case on Sunday, 18th October at the ‘Feele Ba’ when Sutton United played host to Wayeto Utd in the Nawettan league all crunch quarter-final. The clash; arguably the most intensive with the much generated furore and the media hype after the bemusing scandal by the league’s administration reluctance to punish Lamin Lodge FC after breaking league rules but that’s another story we live to narrate another day.
Going into the game… both teams were tipped to win but perhaps the U’s stern perseverance made them the ‘bookies favourite’ but Wayteo however got off to a better start and dominated the first half in the tight-call game. Things went bad from the onset no sooner had the game kicked-off with one player from each camp receiving early matching orders in only the 17th minute after a common tussle between the U’s key player Musa Joof and his Wayeto counter part. Loosing Sutton’s leading goal scorer in Musa meant Ebrima had to tweak his tactics and relied more on the counter-attacks but this could have other wise proven disastrous as Wayeto came all out and were firing from all cylinders but for the reliable keeper in the U’s goal - Imam Badjie - who was only making his second senior debut for Sutton having earlier made his bow in the league-cup against KGH Sport.
In the second half U’s manager Ebrima went in for a more robust approach and gambled on 15 year old sensation Lamin Jatta to organize the team’s play as Ebrima Bah gave way and indeed it paid dividends as Sutton kept much of the ball and dominated the second half. Center-back Lamin Chorr started play from behind and followed up the counter with a lashing shot on target but was tipped away for a corner. Sutton’s ball possession almost gave them the lead in the 51st minute as the team changed tactics from countering to knocking the ball around with Lamin Jatta mesmerizing the opponents team’s midfield as he was at the center of all the threats, he played a one-two with Mamadi Jammeh… acted as he was going for goal himself just to release a back-flick to Mamadi who squared in a through pass to Ousman Jarjou to tap past the onrushing Wayeto goalie but hesitated as he pulled the trigger and was tackled on by the Wayeto defense. This uplifted the U’s camp and waves of attack ensued with Gilbert Correa at left-back making two serial over-laps in the 56th & 57th minutes but nothing that the Wayeto defense couldn’t take care of. Sutton won a free-kick in the 61st minute again with Lamin Jatta the provider as he took on the Wayeto right back and Mamadi stepped up for it swerving in a deep curl which was set for goal and again the brilliance of the Wayeto goalie prevented the U’s from taking the lead. Mamadi was again on call in the 67th minute when he found space around the opponents 18 yards area, took a sharp turn loosing his marker and firing in a cracker only to be denied by the brilliance of the opponents goalie.
Wayeto although hardly setting up any real chances did claim a few but Imam provided the assurance with some of the blips made by his defense, saving a deflection off the back of Lamin Jawla which could have changed the game. With time running out the U’s frustration got worse by the minute but were offered a life-line towards the very end in the 84th minute with a free-kick just outside the Wayeto area and Mamadi stepped up again but his shot was coolly intercepted by the opponents goalie well before any Sutton player could threaten.
In the penalty shoot outs Imam did brilliant by saving Wayeto’s first kick and Lamin Jatta steeped up first to boost his more experienced teammates and he slotted home his spot kick with such great ease for a 15 year old in what was the biggest crowd the league has witnessed! Wayeto went on to convert their next three spot-kicks with Sutton… well lets just say could have done better with experienced old heads as the pressure got the best of Abdou Jallow, Saja Jallow who all saw their shots saved with Gilbert Correa misfiring his kick narrowly out.