Sutton United

Bolarinwa 13, Wright 82

2 December 2017
Vanarama National League
Sam Purkiss (North London)
26 Jamie Butler
17 Dan Spence
16 Nicky Bailey
22 Simon Walton
27 Simon Downer
6 Jamie Collins
30 Tom Bolarinwa 70 Wright
8 Kenny Davis 38 Eastmond
9 Ross Lafayette
14 Craig Dundas
11 Kieron Cadogan 75 John
5 Louis John
15 Craig Eastmond
20 Tommy Wright
23 Josh Taylor
31 Alfie Egan

Sutton completed the first half of their Vanarama National League campaign at the top of the table after a comfortable win over an Eastleigh side whose only on target shot of the game came just after Sutton substitute Tommy Wright’s delightfully taken goal had given U’s the two goal cushion that they needed to set aside any worries of a late Eastleigh equaliser. In the first half particularly Sutton were well on top, and but for goalkeeper Graham Stack, who had returned to fitness in time to replace the suspended Ross Flitney, they would have had the game wrapped up before the interval.

Neither defence looked particularly certain in the opening stages, some hesitation in the U’s back line allowing Chris Zebroski to knock the ball past Jamie Butler, but Dan Spence was on hand to clear from the striker as he looked to force the ball over the line, and Sutton soon had the lead thanks to some even worse defending at the other end as Fraser Shaw and Callum Howe took too long to clear the ball downfield and Tom Bolarinwa, who had already gone close with a dipping 25 yard shot, dispossessed Howe and slotted the ball under the advancing Stack.

The visitors replied with a low shot from Simon Heslop which went just wide, but much of the rest of the half was one way traffic as Stack went low to his left to turn aside a shot from Kieron Cadogan, and was then off his line quickly to deny the same player before tipping over a fierce free kick from Nicky Bailey, while Ross Lafayette was just too high with a ferocious volley from the edge of the penalty area.

U’s had to make a first half change when Kenny Davis felt a recurrence of his hamstring injury, but this allowed a welcome return for Craig Eastmond, much earlier than had seemed likely when he was stretchered off in such agony at Hartlepool six weeks earlier, and he was welcomed by a nasty challenge from Zebroski which earned the afternoon’s first yellow card.

Eastleigh made a change of their own at half time, bolstering their central defence with the introduction of Ayo Obileye, but they might have fallen behind early in the second half when Dan Spence played a pass in for Cadogan, whose shot from the edge of the penalty area was just over the bar. Sutton couldn’t quite recapture the vibrancy of the first half, but with Simon Walton enjoying a fine game in front of the back line Eastleigh rarely posed any serious threat to the home goal. Nevertheless it was a relief to U’s when, with eight minutes left, Butler’s long clearance was headed on by Lafayette and Wright, brought on for Bolarinwa with twenty minutes to go, coolly lobbed the stranded Stack to double the lead. Mark Yeates did attempt to bring Eastleigh back in to the game with a run and shot which gave Butler his first real save of the game, but U’s were able to defend their lead comfortably and look back on a superb first half of the season.

Eastleigh: G Stack, G Hoyte, F Shaw, S Matthews(sub A Obileye H-T), A Boyce, C Howe, S Heslop, C Miley(sub D Hollands 79), P McCallum(sub C McAllister 68), M Yeates, C Zebroski. Subs n/u J Constable, H Read. Booked: Zebroski, Shaw, Boyce, Hoyte.