Saturday 29th May 2021 | 12:30
Address: Camrose Avenue, London , HA8 6AG
After clinching the National League title last Sunday in style against Hartlepool, Sutton bring the curtain down on the club’s most successful season with an away game at Barnet. All National League games kick off at 12.30pm on Saturday, but after U’s success last week the destiny of the championship trophy has been decided and the greater interest is in the contest for a play-off place, with BT choosing the game between Dagenham and Wrexham as their live game.
Sutton will still want to sign off in style, though, and may be grateful that nothing is needed from the game after Barnet’s recent revival which saw them do Sutton a favour by coming from two down to draw at Torquay last week, and then picking up a 2-0 victory against Maidenhead on Tuesday, while it was only a month ago that they made U’s work really hard for a single goal success at Gander Green Lane, Omar Bugiel (above, in action in the same game) eventually breaking the deadlock with twenty minutes to go.
Manager Matt Gray may use the game to give an outing to some players who haven’t featured so much in recent weeks, while Barnet manager Simon Bassey, a former Carshalton and Wimbledon midfielder, will be without leading scorer Michael Petrasso after he returned early from his loan spell from Canadian Premier League side York United.
Barnet are providing a live stream of the game, price £12.50, and passes can be bought here. The game is being shown in the MBA Lounge at Gander Green Lane and we have 30 spaces available on a first come first served basis, price £5 a head. No prior booking needed – just turn up on the day from 12 noon. We will have a Mixlr commentary live from the ground, with Tom Mitchell and Sohail Sahi bringing you the action.
The greatest season in Sutton United’s history, and U’s time as a National League club, ended in a low-key fashion as a team showing six changes from the line-up that had clinched the title so memorably against Hartlepool found themselves second best against a Barnet side ending a wretched season with a second successive win that hinted at brighter things next term. It wasn’t enough to lift Barnet off the bottom of the table, King’s Lynn’s 90th minute equaliser against Aldershot keeping them above the Bees on goal difference, but their performance underlined why U’s were so relieved that the job was done last week and nothing was needed against a side whose current form is better than their league position.
With the championship sewn up U’s line-up showed a completely changed back four from the Hartlepool game, and there was a competitive debut for Adam Lovatt as Isaac Olaofe joined Tobi Sho-Silva up front, so U’s wouldn’t have wanted to make two injury-enforced changes before the second half was ten minutes old, Olaofe and Coby Rowe both having to be replaced, and when Barnet led through a bizarre goal ten minutes after Rowe’s departure U’s were facing an uphill battle.
The first half was largely what was to be expected from a game in warm conditions that didn’t have a great deal riding on it, Sho-Silva guiding an early chance in to the arms of Adam Parkes, and it was Barnet who came closest in the first half hour when a poor clearance from Kenny Davis was seized on by Ephron Mason-Clark, whose low shot was pushed away by Bouzanis with Davis rectifying his error by beating Tomi Adeloye to the loose ball.
Sutton’s best spell came in the last five minutes of the half after Olaofe had limped off to be replaced by Callum Kealy, as first Will Randall beat Themis Kefalas on the left and sent the ball low across goal with David Ajiboye unable to get the necessary touch, and then Ajiboye’s cross was turned goalwards by Kealy at the near post and well saved by Parkes.
U’s had to make a second change early in the second half, Joash Nembhard replacing the injured Rowe, and they were grateful that Kefalas sent a header from a free kick straight at Bouzanis soon afterwards. Just after the hour mark, though, Sam Skeffington crossed from the right and Harry Taylor and Aaron Simpson both challenged at the far post, the ball seeming to come off the Sutton defender before hitting the post and crossing the line before Bouzanis could dive on it, assistant referee Chris Myatt flagging for the goal.
With Barnet firmly on top there was nearly a second when Mason-Clark cut in from the right before rattling the crossbar from twenty yards, but U’s responded with a good five minute spell in which Lovatt almost crowned his debut with a brilliant goal, creating space on the edge of the penalty area and hitting a shot that left Parkes helpless but crashed back off the bar. Soon afterwards Simpson came forward on the right but played a disappointing cross behind the U’s players who had arrived in the penalty area and Barnet were able to clear. That was U’s best chance to salvage a draw, and in the first minute of stoppage time Sam Skeffington beat Ben Wyatt on the right and cut the ball back for Walker to shoot high in to the corner of the net and end Barnet’s season on a high and condemn Sutton to only a second defeat by more than a single goal margin this season.
Barnet: A Parkes, L Vaughan, S Beard, T Kefalas(sub J Walker 64), B Richards-Everton, B Nugent, E Mason-Clark, S Skeffington, T Adeloye(sub C Baker-Richardson 69), A Wordsworth, H Taylor(sub X McBurnie 77). Subs n/u J Callan, A Vasiliou. Booked: Mason-Clark, Skeffington.