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Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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29 December 2022 Venue VBS Community Stadium Attendance

Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

Sutton v Gillingham preview

28 December 2022

After picking up maximum points at Crawley on Boxing Day, Sutton return to the VBS for the remainder of the Christmas holiday schedule, and ahead of the New Year's Day derby with Wimbledon U's welcome Gillingham for the first time in a league game on Thursday (7.45pm)

Relegated from League One at the end of last season, Gillingham would have been expected by most to have been among the sides challenging for promotion, but the season has so far gone in the opposite direction and they come in to Thursday's game bottom of the table, with just two wins and six goals to their name so far. One of those wins was against U's at the start of October when Alex McDonald's stoppage time header settled the game, but they have failed to win any of their ten subsequent league games, although in the FA Cup wins against Fylde and Dagenham & Redbridge, both after replays, have earned a home time with Leicester City next week Away from home they are still looking for their first league win, with four draws and six defeats.

A recent change of ownership has created optimism for the second half of the season at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium, and the signing of striker Tom Nichols this week from Crawley has been an early statement of intent, although he will not be eligible for Thursday's game.

Sutton moved up to 15th with Monday's win at Crawley in what is becoming a congested mid-table area, with 4th placed Carlisle and 16th placed Grimsby separated by just nine points. Donovan Wilson was forced to pull out of Monday's game after a recurrence of the injury that had kept him out at Leyton Orient, but could be in contention to return on Thursday.

The referee on Thursday is Thomas Parsons, who is in his first EFL season and making his first visit to Sutton, although he did referee the game at Crewe in August and has also taken charge of Sutton games in the National League.

Tickets are available on line for the game here, priced £20 for adults, £14 for concessions and £6 for juniors age 12-18. Tickets for children under the age of 12 are free provided they are bought in conjunction with an adult or concession ticket. Prices rise by £5 for seats. Gillingham supporters have their own link to buy tickets for the away end here.

Tickets will be on sale on Thursday at the ticket kiosk, but prices for adult and concession tickets rise by £2 for tickets bought in person on the day, an increase that does not apply to tickets bought on line, even on the day of the game.

The fanzone will open at 6pm with a selection of food and drink for supporters who want to arrive early and look forward to the game.

A double programme has been produced that also covers Sunday's game against Wimbledon, and anyone not able to be at the games can order one on line here, price £4 plus postage.

Sutton v Gillingham iFollow 29.12.22.png

For supporters unable to be at Thursday's game there will be a live stream on our iFollow service, both in the UK and overseas, and match passes, priced £10, can be bought here. Overseas supporters can now buy a half season pass for £85, clicking on the same link, which will cover all games from now until the end  of the season. This offer, which runs until January 31, is for overseas supporters only, as coverage in the UK will revert to audio commentary for Saturday afternoon games with effect from next week's game at Tranmere.

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Match Reports

Match report for Sutton United 2 Gillingham 1

29 December 2022

Sutton United (Baggott og 43, Eastmond 90+3) Gillingham(McKenzie 78)

After being on the wrong end of several stoppage time goals this season, Sutton produced one at the right end through captain Craig Eastmond to grab all three points for U's and deliver a shattering vlow to a Gillingham side who had battled back from conceding a first half own goal and seemed set for a hard earned point thanks to Robbie McKenzie's superbly taken equaliser twelve minutes from time. However Eastmond, who had sent two earlier efforts too high, found his range when set up by substitute Tope Fadahunsi to leave the Kent side still at the bottom of the League Two table.

There was good news for U's supporters early on as Ben Goodliffe returned to the starting line-up for the first time since his injury against Newport on the opening day of the season. Joe Kizzi reverted to right back allowing Enzio Boldewijn to move further forward as Josh Neufville continued to deputise up front for the injured Donovan Wilson, although before half time Boldewijn was back at full back, this time on the left, after Sam Hart, in for Rob Milsom, was forced off after a clash of heads with Kizzi.

In his more advanced position Boldewijn saw an early shot deflected in to the side netting, but it was Gillingham who had the better chances and should have added to their six league goals when Alex McDonald's cross found Dominic Jeffries unmarked on the edge of the six yard box but he headed badly wide. Jack Rose also beat away a fierce long range effort from Callum Harriott before the luckless Hart collided with Kizzi as they tried to clear a Gillingham attack and after lengthy treatment, one of several stoppages that led to twelve minutes being added at the end of the first half, a facial injury saw him replaced by Harry Beautyman with Boldewijn dropping to left back.

Having failed to take their chances, Gillingham then found the net but at the wrong end as Eastmond whipped in a superb cross from the right that was headed back across goal by Omar Bugiel and turned in to his own net by Elkan Baggott to give U's the half time lead.

U's struggled to press home that advantage in the second half, though, and Gillingham responded well to the criticism from their supporters that had been heard at the end of the first half. Their finishing was still off target, though, as Hakeeb Adelokun sent a low shot wide and Mikael Mandron turned the ball wide at the near post from a low Jeffries cross.

Goodliffe's return ended with just under twenty minutes left, Aaron Pierre returning from his own lay-off, but within five minutes Gillingham had the equaliser they deserved as Scott Kashket nipped in to beat Pierre as he tried to clear, and although his cross was cleared the ball ran to McKenzie, who sidestepped two challenges before placing his shot in to the far corner of the net.

Jolted by conceding, Sutton finished the game on the front foor, Boldewijn getting forward and Neufville a threat on the left after a switch had seen Fadahunsi replace Will Randall. Boldewijn forced a save out of Jake Turner with a low shot, and a low cross from Neufville fell for Beautyman, whose shot was blocked by a combination of Max Ehmer and Kylian Kouassi. However deep in to stoppage time Boldewijn's cross was laid back by Fadahunsi to Eastmond, whose two earlier efforts in the second half from a similar range, had flown over the bar, but who this time created space for a more measured shot that beat Turner low to his left and clinched a second Sutton win of the holiday period.

Sutton: J Rose, J Kizzi, S Hart (sub H Beautyman 35), C Eastmond, B Goodliffe (sub A Pierre 73), L John, E Boldewijn, A Smith, O Bugiel(sub K Kouassi 79), J Neufville, W Randall(sub T Fadahunsi 72) Subs n/u C Dundas, L Gambin. Booked: Eastmond, Bugiel

Gillingham: J Turner, E Baggott(sub M Mandron H-T), D Tutonda, W Wright, M Ehmer, S Williams, A McDonald(sub S O'Keefe 85) McKenzie, S Kashket(sub O Lee 90+2), D Jeffries, C Harriott(sub H Adelokun 62). Subs n/u C Alexander, J Green, T Holtam. Booked: Jeffries

Referee: Thomas Parsons

Attendance: 3,316 (774 away)

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