Tuesday 8th October 2019 | 19:45
Damson Park | Attendance: 3,043
Address: Damson Parkway, Solihull, B91 2PP
A week of two away games begins on Tuesday night as Sutton head up the M40 to face Solihull Moors in the MANarama National League. Solihull made a fine start to the season, thirteen points from their first five games suggesting that they would justify their place as one of the pre-season favourites following last season’s play-off appearance and summer signings such as striker Paul McCallum from Eastleigh and highly rated Harrogate defender Callum Howe, but then a run of six games without a win saw them drop down the table. Since then two wins and a draw have seen them back in to a mid-table position although they lost to a late goal at Boreham Wood on Saturday.
They are still expected to feature at the top of the table, though, and have continued to add to their squad, with striker Adi Yussuf returning on loan from Blackpool, James Ball moving from Ebbsfleet last week, and striker Jake Beesley joining on loan this week from Salford having scored 21 goals for Bradford Park Avenue last season.
Fifteen of Solihull’s 21 points have come at home, with only Bromley and Yeovil having better home records, but Yeovil and Eastleigh have won at Damson Park this season. The three meetings between Solihull and Sutton on the ground have seen honours shared, with one win each and, last season, a 2-2 draw in August (above, Tommy Wright scoring Sutton’s second goal) which was then matched at Sutton in December.
Dale Bennett is hopeful of a return to the Sutton starting line-up as U’s look to end a run of three games without a win or a goal, currently in 18th place, five points and five places behind Solihull.
Remember that there is no admission charge on Tuesday, with honesty boxes at the ground for supporters to pay what they want, but it is necessary to have a ticket before entering the ground and these can be obtained on line or from the ticket office on the night – please see details above this preview. Supporters should also check the travel details above this preview for information regarding parking and admission, which has changed slightly since Saturday’s programme went to press.
We will have commentary on the game on our Mixlr site from 7.45pm.
Sutton endured an evening of frustration at both ends of the pitch as a performance that had plenty to commend it was undermined by U’s continued failure to find the net, and the concession of two soft goals to a Solihull side who put U’s under pressure, particularly in the first half, but whose number of clear cut chances wasn’t greatly different from those created by their visitors.
U’s welcomed back Dale Bennett after his injury lay-off, the right back assuming the captain’s armband in the absence of the injured Jamie Collins which gave Dan Matsuzaka his first start since his unfortunate appearance at Aldershot, while there was also a first full start for Kyel Reid, whose performance on the left wing was probably the high spot of the evening for Sutton supporters.
The first opening came for U’s, Aaron Jarvis challenging goalkeeper Ryan Boot for a cross from the left and penalised by referee Joe Hull as the ball bounced towards the Solihull goal, and Kenny Davis then went close with a free kick. Playing in to the elements and up the slope, though, it was inevitable that U’s would find themselves under pressure from a powerful Solihull side, but they defended a succession of long throws and corners well and Jamie Butler was relatively untroubled. The one exception, though, was costly, as Liam Daly headed on a long throw-in from Lee Vaughan and Jake Beesley, on his debut after signing on loan from Salford, headed in rather too easily.
Sutton might even have gone in at half time level when a fine link-up on the left between Reid and Davis ended with Reid’s cross finding Tom Bolarinwa, who spun to hit a low shot that was heading for the corner of the net until Boot diverted it wide of the post.
U’s came out on the front foot in the second half, Reid a constant threat on the left, and there was a real chance when his cross was laid off by Jarvis to Bolarinwa, whose return pass left Jarvis clear in front of goal but caught in two minds between shooting and setting up the onrushing Davis he could only poke the ball harmlessly wide.
There were chances at the other end, Beesley hitting the post with a low shot on the turn after Jamie Reckord had headed back Daly’s deep volleyed cross, and Butler diving to turn away Jamey Osborne’s 20-yard shot, but Sutton would have gone in to the last twenty minutes hopeful of getting something from the game, David Ajiboye’s introduction for Bennett a statement of attacking intent. However Ajiboye had no time to make an impact before Solihull doubled their lead. Beesley collected a long pass as U’s looked for an offside flag, and although he was held up by Butler and Milsom his chip back found Osborne, who had already laid the ball off when Matsuzaka came in with a late challenge. There could be no arguments with referee Joe Hull’s penalty decision, and Danny Wright beat Butler from the spot.
U’s came close to pulling one back when a superb turn by substitute Tommy Wright close to the corner flag saw him cut in and pull the ball back for Harry Beautyman, whose goalbound shot was blocked by the excellent Vaughan, and just before the end Ajiboye just failed to get on the end of another Reid cross (above) as U’s run of goalless games extended to four.
Solihull: R Boot, L Vaughan, J Reckord, C Howe, L Daly, A Gudger, J Osborne, K Storer(sub J Ball 74), D Wright(sub A Yussuf 82), J Beesley(sub J Neufville 88), G Gunning. Subs n/u M Hancox, T Hawkridge.
Referee: Joe Hull