August has been a month of firsts for Sutton United, and after the first game in the EFL, the first game in the Carabao Cup, and the first home EFL game, there is a debut in the Papa John's Trophy, which is competed for by clubs from Leagues One and Two, and invited Under 21 teams from Premier League clubs.
It's an Under-21 side that provides U's with the opposition in the first of the three group games that will be played before mid-November, with Crystal Palace the visitors to the VBS Community Stadium. It's a meeting that has taken place on several occasions in the past, either in a pre-season friendly or the Surrey Senior Cup, but while Tuesday's game is competitive, it is not a knock-out tie and both sides will have a chance to make up for any setback in subsequent games against AFC Wimbledon and Portsmouth, who meet at Plough Lane next Tuesday.
There is a slightly unusual twist to the group games in that, if the scores are level after 90 minutes, both teams will get a point for the draw, but there will also be a penalty shoot-out, which will earn the winners an extra point. After the group games have been completed in November, the top two sides in the group will progress to the knockout stages, the first two rounds of which will be played on a regional basis before an open draw from the quarter-finals onwards.
The current holders are Sunderland, who beat Tranmere in the 2021 final a day after Salford had won the held-over 2020 final, and Bristol City are the most successful side in the competition's history, winning the trophy three times.
Sutton have faced Premier League Under-21 opposition already this season, in a private practice game against Brighton during the pre-season programme in which U's proved too strong for their opposition, but it promises to be a stern technical test against the Palace youngsters.
The competition represents U's most realistic chance of a Wembley appearance and manager Matt Gray will hope that his team can record a victory that would not only improve prospects in that regard, but also give his team a first win of the season and boost confidence after Saturday's last minute defeat against Oldham. One player who won't feature on Tuesday is midfielder Adam Lovatt, who has joined Tonbridge Angels on loan.
As it is a cup tie, season tickets are not valid on Tuesday and tickets for the game can be bought by home supporters here. Prices are £12 for adults, £6 for concessions and £3 for juniors, with stand seats costing £2 more in each case. Ground admission tickets can be bought at the ticket office by home supporters before the game, but stand seats must be bought in advance.
The club bars will be open for home supporters only from 6pm. Due to an issue with the credit card machines behind the bar payment by cash would be preferred., The matchday programme, price £3, will be on sale inside the ground and at the club shop. The game kicks off at 7.30pm
Games in the Papa John's Trophy up to and including the quarter finals are live streamed in the UK, so if you can't get to the game you can watch all the action for £10 through our iFollow service. Click here to book your pass. There is no option tonight for a live audio-only match pass, but any supporter who is not in a position to watch the game but would like to listen to it can buy a monthly audio pass which will give access to tonight's commentary and every commentary over the next month, which will include Saturday's game at Colchester which is being live streamed due to this weekend being an international weekend.
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