Sutton United

Walton 47

Quigley 20

17 February 2018
Vanarama National League
Alan Young (Cambridgeshire)
26 Jamie Butler
5 Louis John
6 Jamie Collins
22 Simon Walton
27 Simon Downer
19 Terell Thomas
30 Tom Bolarinwa
15 Craig Eastmond 80 Coombes
34 Byron Harrison
20 Tommy Wright 80 Hudson-Odoi
11 Kieron Cadogan 70 Davis
3 Aswad Thomas
7 Bradley Hudson-Odoi
8 Kenny Davis
10 Adam Coombes
14 Craig Dundas

On a day when Macclesfield won the battle of the top two sides in the Vanarama National League, Sutton and Wrexham couldn’t be separated at the Knights Community Stadium, sharing the points in front of Sutton’s biggest home crowd since the first day of the season. It was an absorbing game, albeit one that never really took off in terms of entertainment, and at the end a draw was considered by most to be a fair outcome, although both sides could have snatched victory in the closing stages.

U’s gave a debut to on-loan striker Byron Harrison, who having played for Barrow against Sutton on Tuesday became one of those rare players to have played for and against the club in consecutive games, but it was clear from the early exchanges that Wrexham viewed Tom Bolarinwa as the major threat, the winger fouled four times in the first fifteen minutes and striker Scott Quigley the recipient of the yellow card when referee Alan Young’s patience ran out. Wrexham had created an early chance through the inside left channel, Chris Holroyd’s low shot pushed just wide by Jamie Butler, but the same line of attack saw them break through in the 20th minute when Quigley ran on to Scott Boden’s pass and rifled it past the advancing Butler.

For much of the half U’s struggled to create much to worry the team with the best defensive record in the division, and when there was an opening the final ball was often misdirected and too close to goalkeeper Chris Dunn. Harrison did climb high to send a header against the crossbar, although the offside flag was up, but manager Paul Doswell admitted that in general U’s first half performance was enough to provoke some stern words at the interval, and within two minutes of the start of the second half the desired effect was achieved. Kieron Cadogan battled well on the left before firing in a low cross which was turned behind for a corner, and his resulting corner was met by a Bolarinwa header of no great power that looped against the crossbar, with Simon Walton the quickest to react and force home his first goal for the club from open play.

With the sides now level there was little to choose between them for much of the rest of the game. U’s defence looked every bit as solid as the visitors’ back line, in which there were a couple of moments of uncharacteristic uncertainty when crosses came in, but apart from a Harrison header which just cleared the crossbar and rippled the roof of the net from the outside there were few signs of either side being able to grab the decisive goal. That was until the closing stages, when Wrexham substitute Akil Wright, only on the pitch for five minutes, struck a powerful shot from 25 yards out that was beaten out by Butler, who then executed a superb defender’s tackle with his feet to deny Jonathan Franks from the rebound. In the last action of the game the ball fell to Bolarinwa on the edge of the Wrexham penalty area, and his deflected volley was dipping inside the angle of post and bar until Dunn managed to tip it away for a corner and make sure that Wrexham returned home with their unbeaten run extended to ten games, albeit seven of them drawn.

Wrexham: C Dunn, K Roberts, J Jennings, M Smith, S Pearson, S Wedgbury, M Kelly(sub A Wright 85), S Boden (sub J Franks 62), S Quigley (sub J Mackreth 90+3), C Holroyd, N Deverdics. Subs n/u C Dibble, D Raven. Booked: Quigly, Smith, Pearson, Kelly