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07 April 2023 Venue VBS Community Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

Sutton v Stockport preview

6 April 2023

It's an important Easter weekend for Sutton's Sky Bet League Two play-off aspirations with two games against teams above U's and currently sitting in the play-off positions.

On Monday U's head north to face sixth placed Bradford City but first on Friday welcome Stockport County, who are one place above Bradford, to the VBS Community Stadium (3.00pm).

Stockport are making a concerted effort for back to back promotions having won National League championship last season under Dave Challinor, who had the previous season guided Hartlepool to promotion via the National League play-offs. They made a slow start at the higher level, winning three of their first thirteen games before a strong run of seven wins in their next ten games saw them climb the table and, with just one defeat in their last thirteen games, they are currently four points short of the automatic promotion places. Recent games have been tight affairs and the last time they either scored or conceded more than one goal in a game was in the 2-1 win at Rochdale six weeks ago. Stockport's squad on Friday should include Isaac Olaofe, such an integral part of Sutton's success over the past two seasons while on loan from Millwall.

Sutton will be oping to atone for October's 3-0 defeat at Edgeley Park at a time when Stockport were in fine form, a result that was shaped considerably by the controversial third minute dismissal of Omar Bugiel. Coby Rowe has recovered from the mild concussion that forced him to miss the draw at Walsall, while winger Josh Neufville, who has been sidelined since January, is also now back to fitness and available for selection.

Referee Neil Hair is making his second visit of the season to Sutton, having taken charge of the game against Harrogate in September. He was also in the middle for the Boxing Day win at Crawley and is in his fifth season as an EFL referee.

Tickets are on sale on line right up to kick off, and can be bought here. Prices are £20 for adults, £14 for concessions and £6 for juniors aged between 12 and 18. Tickets for under 12s are free if bought in conjunction with an adult or concession ticket. Stand seats are £5 more in all cases. 2022-23 season tickets are of course valid. While tickets will be on sale at the ground on Friday afternoon, prices for adults and concessions rise by £2 for tickets bought on the day in person, an increase not applicable to on line sales, and with a large crowd expected we would recommend buying on line.

The match programme is available to order on line to be sent out after the game. Click here to order yours.

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If you can't get to the game it is being live streamed through our iFollow service, and passes can be bought for £10 here. Monday's game at Bradford will also be live streamed.

The fanzone opens at 12 noon as usual tomorrow offering pre-match food and drink for Sutton supporters. Tomorrow we welcome back Pizza di Prato who will be selling wood fired pizzas.

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Match Reports

Match report for Sutton United 0 Stockport County 1

7 April 2023

Sutton United 0 Stockport County 1 (Stretton 53)

Sutton came out on the wrong end of a tight game as Jack Stretton's goal early in the second half was enough to boost Stockport's hopes of a second consecutive promotion and leave Sutton seven points short of the play-off area with six games to play. It was just about a deserved win for the visitors, who dominated possession in the first half, albeit without creating many clear chances, and then managed the game well in the closing stages as U's looked for an equaliser, but the margins were fine, with the winning goal coming from a free kick Sutton felt shouldn't have been awarded, and Coby Rowe then slipping when he would otherwise probably have cleared the resulting cross.

Rowe's return after concussion was the only change to Sutton's starting line-up, but another change was forced on U's after just six minutes when Craig Eastmond looked to jar his knee in a challenge and, having tried to carry on after treatment, eventually had to limp off to be replaced by Harry Beautyman. It was a tough first half hour for U's with Stockport having the majority of possession, but U's defended well, both Rowe and Ben Goodliffe producing several timely interceptions, and Stockport's only clear chance came when Kyle Wootton put Stretton through, but Jack Rose was out to save well with his legs.

Towards half time Sutton showed more as an attacking force, with David Ajiboye a threat coming in from the right and seeing one promising run ended by an excellent tackle from Fraser Horsfall inside the penalty area. Ajiboye also sent a shot just over from twenty yards as U's finished the half on the front foot, but it was the visitors who started the second half the stronger, Wootton shooting over the top from the edge of the penalty area when he should have done better, and Kyle Knoyle's shot deflected just wide of Rose's left hand post.

The decisive goal came soon afterwards, U's upset that Ajiboye was penalised for what seemed an innocuous challenge on Akil Wright, and Stockport taking the free kick quickly in to the space on the Sutton right. Ryan Rydel made ground on the left before crossing, and Rowe's untimely slip saw the ball run on to the far post where Stretton beat Sam Hart and shot low past the helpless Rose.

Sutton responded well, and Will Randall tested Ben Hinchliffe from twenty yards with a shot that the keeper turned away for a corner. Randall's flag kick was met by Joe Kizzi's head, but Hinchliffe clawed the ball away and Rowe's follow up header was cleared off the line before Stockport cleared the danger. Having almost equalised, U's could then have gone two down as Rydel's free kick was tipped superbly on to the post by Rose but the rebound seemed to be a tap-in for either Stretton or Neill Byrne, only for the two of them to impede each other under pressure from Kizzi and the ball to loop harmlessly over the bar.

Sutton pressed for a leveller that wouldn't have been a complete injustice, Ajiboye's shot on the turn saved by Hinchliffe and the goalkeeper also keeping out a long range snap shot from substitute Enzio Boldewijn, who had replaced the injured Randall, an even better save from Lee Angol's follow up effort rendered irrelevant by an offside flag. Stockport brought on former Sutton favourite Isaac Olaofe with twelve minutes to go, and one run on the right was ended by a foul which earned Sam Hart a booking, and despite U's efforts the visitors held on for their valuable win to move within two points of the automatic promotion places.

Sutton: J Rose, J Kizzi, S Hart, C Rowe, B Goodliffe, C Eastmond(sub H Beautyman 7) , D Ajiboye, A Smith, O Bugiel(sub K Kouassi 70) D Wilson(sub L Angol 70) W Randall (sub E Boldewijn 73). Subs n/u B House, J Neufville, R Milsom.  Booked: Smith, Hart

Stockport: B Hinchliffe, J Stretton(sub I Olaofe 78), K Knoyle(sub A Sarcevic 87), A Wright, N Byrne, F Horsfall, W Collar(sub R Johnson 78), R Croasdale, K Wootton, M Hippolyte(sub C Evans 87) R Rydel. Subs n/u P  Madden, C Hussey, V Jaros. Booked: Croasdale, Collar, Hippolyte

Referee: Neil Hair

Attendance: 4,253 (702 away)

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