Fielding a side stronger than originally intended, Sutton progressed to the second round of the Surrey Senior Cup with a single goal win over Combined Counties League Sheerwater thanks to a fine first half free kick from Tobi Sho-Silva.
The postponement of the Boxing Day game at Bristol Rovers changed manager Matt Gray's plans for a game that was originally going to be played by an entire team of academy players, and as well as academy players Anton Matthews, Harry Cole, Michael Agwu and Oliver Khinda, the line-up included goalkeeper Filip Chalupniczak as well as Joe Kizzi, Enzio Boldewijn, Craig Eastmond, Ricky Korboa, Sho-Silva and Craig Dundas, with Richie Bennett not involved as he was still feeling the effects of the bang on the ankle he received in the closing seconds of Saturday's game against Harrogate. Boldewijn was, however, forced off with less than half an hour gone with a hip injury, although Eastmond happily avoided a recurrence of events against Leatherhead two years ago, where he played while suspended in the National League and picked up an injury that prolonged his absence.
Boldewijn was lively early on and just wide with a shot from twenty yards, the ball hitting the stanchion behind the goal, while Sheerwater goalkeeper Alfie Mickley tipped over a fiercely struck half-volley from Korboa, but it was far from one way traffic and Chalupniczak turned aside a low shot from Anthony Ogbanufe that might have been creeping inside the near post.
Dundas was also causing the visitors' defence problems, and after he had been fouled some thirty yards from goal, Eastmond was too high with the free kick. However another foul on Dundas, much closer in, led to the decisive moment as Sho-Silva clipped his free kick over the wall and inside Mickley's left hand post.
Some uncertain defending early in the second half almost gifted Sheerwater an equaliser, Billy Nutbeam's low free kick causing confusion and falling to Ogbanufe, with Chalupniczak again required to turn his shot round for a corner, and twice more the visitors went close to an equaliser that could have forced a penalty shoot out, with Jacob Breckon's close range effort deflected wide and a dipping volley from substitute Morris Musselwhite not dipping quite early enough and landing on the roof of the net.
At the other end Mickley's fingertip save denied Dundas's low shot just before the striker was replaced by academy captain Gucci Soulya-Osekongo, while Eastmond was twice too high from just outside the penalty area and Korboa also sent a shot just wide. The closest to a second goal came just before the end, when Mickley misjudged a shot from Euan Mutale, who had been lively since replacing Boldewijn, and was relieved to see the ball hit the inside of the post and rebound across goal before going out for a goal kick.
Sutton: F Chalupniczak, J Kizzi, M Agwu, C Eastmond, A Matthews, H Cole, E Boldewijn(sub E Mutale 27), O Khinda, T Sho-Silva(sub J Fitzgerald 88), C Dundas(sub G Soulya-Osekongo 64), R Korboa. Subs n/u B Manning, T Fisher.
Sheerwater: A Mickley, A Hitchinson(sub B Roberts 79), B Nutbeam, N Pooley, R Letch, J Pearce, M Ogbanufe, M Leech, J Breckon, D Sulnis(sub M Musselwhite 64), J Casson-Kinch(sub T Martin 85). Subs n/u N Roissetter, R Shelley.
Referee: Andy Bennett