Sutton United

Kearney 51, Dobson 63 pen, Beckwith 86, 89

Olley 44, 46

16 March 2019
Vanarama National League
Richard Hulme
1 Ross Worner
2 Dale Bennett
3 Aswad Thomas
4 Dean Beckwith
19 Harry Beautyman
21 Roarie Deacon 86 Ayunga
7 Tom Bolarinwa
8 Kenny Davis 16 Barden
28 Brett Williams 52 Toure
33 James Dobson
11 Dylan Kearney
9 Gime Toure
10 Jonah Ayunga
25 Jon Barden
26 Jamie Butler
34 Neset Bellikli

Sutton revived their play-off challenge in spectacular style, coming from two goals down early in the second half to score four for the first time this season. When Greg Olley raced through to score in the first minute of the second half having put Gateshead ahead before the break, Sutton supporters can scarcely have expected anything other than a repeat of Tuesday’s miserable defeat at home to Braintree, and had the midfielder completed a hat trick soon afterwards when he again broke clear of the Sutton defence that might well have been the outcome, but having knocked the ball past Ross Worner he was unable to reach it before it ran just the wrong side of the post. Minutes later Dylan Kearney opened his Sutton account with a close range header from a James Dobson cross, and from that point, with Dobson enjoying his best game since joining from Slough, Sutton didn’t look back and, albeit with the help of a questionable penalty decision,  restored some of the confidence that had been ebbing away during a run of seven games without a win.

The blustery conditions made it difficult for both sides, but with five of the six goals scored against the wind any advantage was debatable, and indeed U’s could have benefited from facing the elements as Olley would probably have reached his hat trick chance had the ball not been travelling with the wind. Certainly Gateshead started well playing in to the gale, Worner saving in the first minute from Connor Thomson and Jon Mellish then flashing a twenty yard shot just wide.  Sutton had to make an early change when Kenny Davis suffered another head injury in a clash with Jack Hunter, who was booked, giving Jon Barden a debut, but they had moments of threat, Kearney denied when Aynsley Pears dived at his feet as the ball came in from the left, and Roarie Deacon trying his luck from distance with the wind behind him and seeing his shot fly just over.

The closest to a goal in the first half hour came when Tom White’s placed shot from just outside the penalty area beat Worner but came back off the post, but Gateshead weren’t to be denied a half time lead as Thomson found space to go through on the left and played the ball across goal to give Olley a tap-in. That was a minute before the interval, and less than a minute after it Olley struck again, racing clear of Thomas and driving a shot across Worner inside the far post. At that point there was almost an air of resignation amongst U’s fans, and when Olley’s well timed run beat the offside flag soon afterwards, he guided the ball past the advancing Worner and looked set for another tap in until the ball gathered pace and rolled past the post before he could catch up with it.

It was a crucial moment, as U’s went straight to the other end, Dobson ended an incisive run with a fine cross, and Kearney headed in from close range. U’s had been about to make two changes but instead it was just Gime Toure who entered the fray, replacing Brett Williams, but the momentum had shifted and, less than quarter of an hour after they might have been three down, they were level as referee Richard Hulme adjudged slightly harshly that Scott Barrow had handled Deacon’s fierce shot, the distance that the ball travelled probably counting against the defender even though his arm was close to his body. With regular penalty taker Jamie Collins watching injured from the stand, Dobson assumed responsibility and tucked the spot kick in to the corner of the net.

The turn round might have been completed more quickly when another superb cross from Dobson was headed wide by Kearney, and Dale Bennett also headed wide from a corner when he might have done better, but Sutton were still grateful to Worner for two fine saves as Gateshead still looked capable of regaining control of what was a fine game given the conditions. First he tipped a shot from Olley away for a corner, then dived to his right to push out White’s well struck shot. The keeper was rewarded with four minutes to go when Deacon, who was on the point of being replaced by Jonah Ayunga, signed off with some fine work on the left and a cross which was scrambled away for a corner. The substitution was still made, but barely had Deacon sat down before he was on his feet again as Dean Beckwith met Dobson’s flag kick with a firm header for his first goal of the season. Three minutes later Toure risked the wrath of several team mates by going for goal rather than pulling a cross back, but a deflection off Pears led to a corner, and Beckwith did it again, this time from Beautyman’s delivery, to round off the most stirring of victories.

Gateshead: A Pears, R Tinkler, S Barrow, T Devitt, J Mellish, JJ O’Donnell(sub C Salkeld 73), C Thomson, J Hunter, G Olley, S Rigg(sub L McGeoch 77), T White. Subs n/u L Maloney, B Slater, M Foden. Booked: Hunter, Tinkler, Barrow.

Link to photos: Here