Sutton United

Dobson 37

9 February 2019
Vanarama National League
Tom Reeves
1 Ross Worner
2 Dale Bennett
16 Nicky Bailey 74 Bolarinwa
4 Dean Beckwith
15 Craig Eastmond
6 Jamie Collins
19 Harry Beautyman
8 Kenny Davis 17 Deacon
9 Gime Toure 68 Thomas
28 Brett Williams
33 James Dobson
3 Aswad Thomas
7 Tom Bolarinwa
10 Jonah Ayunga
21 Roarie Deacon
27 Darren McQueen

A brilliant free kick from James Dobson, his first Sutton goal, was enough to give Sutton a battling win although the success was also built on a fine defensive performance as Barnet piled on the pressure late on. Forced in to a change with little more than quarter of an hour gone when Kenny Davis had to give way to concussion, U’s recovered to lead deservedly at the break, but there were several anxious moments in the second half before they could claim a win that moved them to within six points of leaders Leyton Orient.

That change might have been made even earlier, Davis taking a knock on the head in the game’s first aerial challenge and looking as though he might struggle to complete the first minute, and although he was able to continue in the short term, it wasn’t long before returning skipper Jamie Collins was signalling to the bench that a change was needed, and Roarie Deacon made his return to action in Sutton colours rather earlier than manager Paul Doswell was hoping but nevertheless to a rapturous reception from the 271 Sutton supporters in the north west corner of The Hive.

It was an untidy start to the game in blustery conditions, and apart from Sutton’s early change the main talking point of the first half hour concerned Barnet defender Dan Sweeney, who having been given a very obvious final warning by referee Tom Brooks following a foul on Gime Toure, inexplicably launched in to a challenge on the striker moments later that some officials would have ruled worthy of more than a yellow card. He was then fortunate not to concede a penalty for what looked a firm push in the back on Brett Williams, but after surviving that scare it was Barnet who fashioned the first chance of note as Ephron Mason-Clark cut through on the right and laid the ball back in to the path of Jack Taylor, but as a sign of what was to come later on, Harry Beautyman’s head diverted the goalbound shot over the bar.

Until then Sutton’s one half-chance had been a volley from Williams that went narrowly wide, but with eight minutes to go to half time they produced what would be the decisive moment, as Williams nodded a Ross Worner clearance in to the path of Toure, who surged past two challenges before being brought down by David Tutonda. It was a little less than thirty yards out, just right of centre, and in the perfect place for Dobson, whose sublime free kick found the top left hand corner of Mark Cousins’ net.

On the stroke of half time Barnet had a similar chance when Shaquille Coulthirst’s run was ended illegally just outside the penalty area by Collins, but Taylor was unable to match Dobson’s quality, the ball ending up halfway back in the stand behind Worner’s goal. It was Taylor’s last touch, as he was replaced at half time by Simeon Akinola, who himself lasted little more than quarter of an hour before being forced off by a leg injury to his obvious distress. Nevertheless it was Barnet who were on the front foot for much of the half, Cheye Alexander cutting in from the right and firing a low shot just wide of Worner’s near post, and then Coulthirst reached a pass down the right before the onrushing Worner but found the angle too narrow and could only hit the side netting.

Williams produced U’s best attacking moment of the second half when he controlled a Worner clearance superbly and, although not connecting cleanly with his shot, still required Cousins to make a save, but it was at the other end that they really excelled as Barnet pushed for an equaliser. Collins and Dale Bennett both put in superb blocks to deny Coulthirst, while several times it was a Sutton head that reached the ball when it came in to penalty area, Craig Eastmond and Williams among those helping out the defence. When Barnet did breach the back line, Worner was equal to it as he superbly tipped over a curling effort from substitute Wesley Fonguck and then did well to keep out a Coulthirst shot that came through a crowded penalty area. They had one more scare when Aswad Thomas fouled Coulthirst right on the edge of the penalty area, but like Taylor in the first half Ashley Charles was unable to reproduce what Dobson has managed, and although his free kick was closer it was wide of Worner’s right hand post, and U’s were able to hold on for a hard-earned three points.

Barnet: M Cousins, C Alexander, D Tutonda, A Charles, C Robson, D Sweeney, E Mason-Clark(sub W Fonguck 68), M Elito, A Boucaud, S Coulthirst, J Taylor(sub S Akinola H-T)(sub B Harrison 62). Subs n/u J Payne, W Huffer. Booked: Sweeney, Boucaud.

Link to photos: Here