Sutton United
Braintree Town

Henry 61, Kelly 77, Eyoma 89

12 March 2019
Vanarama National League
Gary Parsons
1 Ross Worner
16 Nicky Bailey
3 Aswad Thomas
4 Dean Beckwith
34 Neset Bellikli 68 Dobson
6 Jamie Collins
7 Tom Bolarinwa 66 Kearney
8 Kenny Davis
9 Gime Toure 73 Ayunga
19 Harry Beautyman
21 Roarie Deacon
10 Jonah Ayunga
11 Dylan Kearney
26 Jamie Butler
28 Brett Williams
33 James Dobson

Sutton’s recent poor form continued in miserable fashion as a Braintree side bottom of the table and going in to the game on the back of five consecutive defeats recorded a comfortable and deserved victory. Having been criticised heavily by manager Danny Searle following Saturday’s 4-0 reverse at home to Harrogate, Braintree responded as he would have hoped, and despite missing a penalty just before half time and seeming to have the worst of the blustery conditions after the break they scored three without reply as U’s failed to register a goal for the fifth time in six games in what has to be ranked among the poorest performances since promoted to the National League in 2016.

Neset Bellikli was given a first start in Sutton colours and showed some promising touches, particularly in the first half when one low first time volleyed cross from the left deserved to find his strikers rather more advanced in to the penalty area than they were as the ball passed harmlessly across goal before being cleared. Harry Beautyman would also have been disappointed when he found some space on the edge of the penalty area but then shot over the bar when he would have hoped to at least force Ben Killip in to save in the Braintree goal.

At the other end Braintree were already posing a threat, with Robert Atkinson flashing a header just wide, and Sam Kelly’s shot beaten away by Ross Worner, but they were gifted a chance to take the lead just before half time when Luke Allen was shoved over from behind by Dean Beckwith as he cut in to the penalty area from the left. Allen himself took the penalty, but Worner dived to his right to keep the ball out and Allen could only scramble the rebound wide.

Having survived that scare Sutton could even have gone in front before the break as Roarie Deacon shot just wide from the edge of the penalty area, but hopes that with the elements behind them they would go on to claim victory were soon put in to doubt when in the first two minutes of the second half Korrey Henry broke free on the right and Worner had to make a good save to turn the ball away for a corner, the keeper doing well again to block a shot in the scramble from the resulting corner. The warning wasn’t heeded, though, and just after the hour mark when U’s failed to deal with a long clearance Henry was able to get through again, with U’s looking for an offside decision, and this time he gave the advancing Worner no chance.

Sutton’s response was to bring on Dylan Kearney and James Dobson, and Kearney went close to an equaliser with a volley on the turn which went just wide following a corner, while Deacon was just too high with a first time shot when he and Beautyman tried to bring in a corner move from the training ground. Jonah Ayunga replaced Gime Toure, but it was an increasingly laboured performance from U’s and when Davis lost possession in midfield Braintree broke quickly on the left through Aaron Eyoma, and his low pass was met with a sweetly struck first time finish from Kelly.

That was with thirteen minutes left, and U’s supporters could console themselves that they had come from going 2-0 down at a similar stage of the meeting at Cressing Road in November and force a draw, but there was to be no repeat, and when a Sutton corner was cleared with a minute to go, Braintree won possession on the edge of their own penalty area and Eyoma sprinted half the length of the pitch, exchanged passes with Allen and clipped a shot past the helpless Worner to complete U’s misery.

Braintree: B Killip, A Eleftheriou, O Borg, R Atkinson, C James, K Lyons-Foster(sub D Matsuzaka 49), L Allen(sub J Gibson 90+3), A Eyoma, K Henry, C Richards, S Kelly (sub I Allen 83). Subs n/u D Rowe, M Sagaf. Booked: L Allen, Lyon-Foster, Matsuzaka, Henry.

Link to photos: Here