Monday 5th April 2021 | 15:00
Address: Damson Parkway, Solihull , B91 2PP
Sutton’s Easter on the road takes U’s to the Midlands on Monday to face Solihull Moors after the Good Friday trip to Boreham Wood produced a point in a goalless draw.
The recent re-appointment of Mark Yates as manager following the departure of Jimmy Shan has seen a change in fortunes for The Moors, who have won their last three games against Aldershot, Wealdstone and Barnet having failed to win any of their previous nine, and that poor run has left them as long shots for a play-off place as they go in to the game in 15th place, nine points behind 7th placed Wrexham.
The game at Sutton in December was a memorable one, with spectators allowed for the first time this season and U’s rewarding the supporters with an exciting 4-1 win, and U’s will look to repeat that level of performance as they defend a two point lead at the top of the table.
Will Randall will be a doubt after limping off at Boreham Wood, while for Solihull Mitch Hancox will return after suspension although James Ball, who scored their goal at Sutton in December, is still ruled out after his sending off against Aldershot. On-loan winger Ryan Barnett fractured an eye socket at Barnet so will be missing.
Solihull will be live streaming the game, and you can buy a pass for £7.50 here. There are also a limited number of hard copy programmes being produced for the game, price £3, which can be bought here.
We will also have a Mixlr commentary live from the ground.
Sutton completed a goalless Easter both from an attacking and defensive point of view, extending an unbeaten National League run to fourteen games against a Solihull side in confident mood after three straight wins, and who themselves were claiming a fourth clean sheet in a row. The goalless scoreline was a slightly less fair reflection of a competitive game than Friday’s at Boreham Wood had been, but a draw looked a fair result with Solihull having the better of the first half with the wind behind them and U’s enjoying the same advantage after the break, although there was a huge scare for U’s with eleven minutes left when Dean Bouzanis had a clearance blocked by Kyle Hudlin and the ball looped just over the bar.
The game almost had a remarkable start as U’s, having chosen to play in to the wind in the first half, almost paid for that decision in unexpected fashion as, after Joe Sbarra had touched the ball back from the kick off, skipper Kyle Storer launched the ball goalwards from the centre circle and Bouzanis had to backpedal and tip the ball over the bar. That set the tone for an eventful first quarter in which U’s were convinced they should have had a penalty when David Ajiboye’s pass sent Isaac Olaofe away, and he went over as he tried to go round goalkeeper Ryan Boot. Solihull’s defenders immediately reacted angrily towards Olaofe, and referee Martin Woods, who had been in charge at Hartlepool the last time Sutton tasted defeat in the league, took their view as he booked Olaofe for simulation. The striker clearly felt he had been clipped, though, and Louis John was also booked two minutes later for continuing the protests. When Rob Milsom was also yellow carded for a challenge on Cameron Archer just outside the penalty area, although the Solihull player seemed to have run in to him, U’s had seen three players cautioned inside thirteen minutes, although Jamie Ward’s wayward free kick spared any further punishment.
With the long throws of Jordan Cranston and Ben Usher-Shipley a weapon with the wind behind them, Solihull continued to have the better of things, and came close when Reiss McNally met a right wing corner with a low first time volley that went inches wide. U’s weren’t without chances, though, and when Omar Bugiel laid a right wing cross in to the path of Harry Beautyman, the midfielder saw his shot blocked by Boot when he would have hoped to have scored. Ajiboye did get the ball in the net after a fine solo run but was penalised for a foul on Cranston when he was quite entitled to feel that at that point the referee should have given him the free kick for the earlier pull back by Storer.
If Solihull might have scored in the first five seconds of the first half, U’s almost started the second in similar fashion as Milsom’s long ball diverted off McNally in to the path of Olaofe, who mis-hit his shot at Boot with just ten seconds gone. That set the tone for a half in which U’s gradually got on top but were unable to find a breakthrough. Ajiboye showed great touch to collect a crossfield pass and cut in to the penalty area but Cranston did just enough to stop him getting a shot in as Boot came out, while Beautyman saw a shot deflected wide by Storer and, five minutes from time, Craig Eastmond powered a shot against the stanchion behind the goal after lively substitute Donovan Wilson had finished a good run with a shot that was blocked.
Apart from his one moment of self-inflicted anxiety Bouzanis had little to trouble him in the second half. Ben Goodliffe producing one outstanding interception to prevent Callum Maycock being left with a clear run on goal, while Storer blazed a free kick high over the bar after Joash Nembhard, otherwise quietly impressive on his first start, had been adjudged to have fouled Sbarra just outside the penalty area, but U’s were able to protect a second clean sheet of the Easter weekend and retain a two point lead at the top of the table.
Solihull: R Boot, T Williams, J Cranston, K Storer, R McNally(sub J Piggott 83), B Usher-Shipley, J Sbarra, C Maycock, K Hudlin, C Archer(sub J Donawa 74), J Ward. Subs n/u C Coxe, M Hancox, N Clayton. Booked: Ward, Sbarra.
Referee: Martin Woods
Photo courtesy of Richard King