Solihull Moors
Sutton United

Lafayette 29, Dundas 86

11 November 2017
Vanarama National League
David Richardson (West Yorkshire)
26 Jamie Butler
5 Louis John
3 Aswad Thomas
4 Dean Beckwith
23 Josh Taylor 87 Downer
6 Jamie Collins
30 Tom Bolarinwa
8 Kenny Davis
9 Ross Lafayette
14 Craig Dundas
11 Kieron Cadogan 74 Egan
10 Adam Coombes
20 Tommy Wright
24 Anthony Jeffrey
27 Simon Downer
31 Alfie Egan

Sutton were made to battle all the way by the Vanarama National League’s bottom team before being able to claim the three points that the league table suggested should be theirs. Only when Craig Dundas stylishly converted Ross Lafayette’s flick with four minutes to go were they able to be certain of the victory, with Solihull putting pressure on with a succession of long throws from James Bowen and the constant threat of Jermaine Hylton, but it was always a Sutton head that was first to Bowen’s missiles, and for all Solihull’s efforts goalkeeper Jamie Butler was rarely seriously tested in the second half.

Sutton thought they had made a perfect start in only the fifth minute when Tom Bolarinwa, who enjoyed a fine return to Sutton colours, pounced on a blocked clearance and crossed for Dundas to head powerfully in to the net, only for an offside flag that surprised most people in the ground to cut short the celebrations. Soon afterwards goalkeeper Nick Townsend dropped a high ball under pressure from Dundas and had to recover well to block Lafayatte’s effort, but Solihull recovered from this poor start and Hylton began to cause discomfort to both Sutton’s central defenders. One piece of skill close to the right by-line beat Jamie Collins, and only a fine piece of defending from Josh Taylor took the ball off the feet of Shepherd Murombedzi as he was about to shoot, not the first or last time that Sutton’s attacking midfielders put in some timely defensive interceptions, as Taylor was required to make another crucial intervention, again to deny Murombedzi, after Hylton had outwitted Dean Beckwith on the Solihull left.

If Sutton’s defence were having problems with Hylton, Solihull’s back line never seemed to be able to cope with the twin threat of Lafayette and Dundas, and just before the half hour mark they capitulated. Kristian Green made the first error with a back pass that gave Townsend more to do than it should have done, and the keeper’s mishit clearance was then missed by Liam Daly and intercepted by Taylor, whose pass put Lafayette in on the right of the penalty area to drive the ball powerfully through Townsend in to the net.

Having doubled his league tally for the season, Lafayette might have trebled it a minute later when he evaded the attentions of Bowen to meet Kieron Cadogan’s cross with a header that Townsend had to tip over the bar, and Lafayette’s complaints that he had been impeded were matched by those of Beckwith when the resulting corner came in, but referee David Richardson saw nothing wrong and Solihull survived to finish the first half strongly. They were almost level when George Carline met Bowen’s cross with a towering header that came back off Butler’s left hand post, although the keeper may have got a crucial touch, and when the attack was continued, Bowen’s low cross was cleared by Aswad Thomas, although his deflection could have gone anywhere.

Sutton had another scare at the start of the second half when Darren Carter met a low cross with a shot which grazed the angle of post and bar, but that was as close as Solihull were to come as Sutton defended well, again helped by those in front of them as Bolarinwa’s superbly judged tackle prevented Akwasi Asante from latching on to a crossfield pass from Hylton. At the other end U’s threatened a second goal as Cadogan shot just over, Taylor ended a fine run with a shot that was deflected behind for a corner, and one electrifying burst from Bolarinwa saw him pull the ball back for Lafayette, who failed to keep his shot down.

The failure to score a second increased the anxiety for U’s as Bowen kept hurling the ball in from anywhere inside the Sutton half, but they stood firm, and when Lafayette’s header guided Butler’s clearance in to the path of Dundas, arguably closer to being offside than when he had found the net earlier, though still the right side of the defender, a convincing finish past the advancing Townsend finally put the game beyond Solihull’s reach.

Team: N Townsend, K Green, J Bowen, D Carter, L Daly, F Kelleher, S Murombedzi, P Green(sub R Martin 87), G Carline, J Hylton, A Asante(sub O Afolayan 59). Subs n/u J Kettle, A Sammons, C Bannister. Booked: Bowen, K Green, Kelleher.