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01 January 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 AFC Wimbledon preview

31 December 2022

A spell of three games in six days over the Christmas period ends for Sutton and Wimbledon on Sunday with a League Two local derby at the VBS Community Stadium, kicking off at 3pm. The game is a sell out, with no tickets available for sale on the day of the game.

The sides met at Plough Lane in October, Craig Eastmond's goal proving decisive as Sutton picked up a first away league win of the season, but that was the last game that Wimbledon lost in the league, and they extended their unbeaten run to ten games on Thursday, coming from behind to beat Colchester 2-1 in Essex. With U's picking up a second away win at Crawley on Monday, and then grabbing a last minute victory against Gillingham on Thursday, both sides are in the congested group of clubs behind the top three, with Carlisle in 4th separated from U's in 15th by seven points. Wimbledon are in 11th place, two points ahead of Sutton with a game in hand - infact all the clubs above Sutton in the table except Swindon have played fewer games than U's.

Wimbledon have already gained a measure of revenge for the October defeat by knocking U's out of the Papa Johns Trophy, Kyle Hudlin scoring the only goal of the game in November, and the tall striker will be eligible to play after his sending off against Newport on Monday was rescinded.

Sutton welcomed Ben Goodliffe and Aaron Pierre back to action on Thursday after injury layoffs, but may again be without Rob Milsom and Donovan Wilson, while waiting to see if Sam Hart has recovered from the facial injury that forced him off against Gillingham.

Sunday's referee is Will Finnie, in his fourth EFL season and making his second visit of this campaign to the VBS after taking charge of September's game against Hartlepool.

Before the game a minute's applause will be held in tribute to Pele, who passed away on Thursday evening.

The home fanzone will be open from 12 noon, while there will also be a fanzone for Wimbledon supporters behind the visiting accommodation which will be open from 1.30pm, both offering food and drink in the run-up to the game. Please note that the terrace between the main stand and the usual visiting accommodation (the Tardis terrace) will be used for Wimbledon supporters on Sunday. We would also ask supporters with car park passes to arrive as early as possible, and in general would recommend supporters to arrive at the game early to ease any congestion around the turnstiles.

As mentioned above, the game is a sell out but supporters unable to see the game in person can watch the game live through our iFollow service, with a match pass costing £10 and available to buy here. Overseas viewers can use the same link to buy a half-season pass for £85, which will give access to all games for the remainder of the season. This offer, which is for overseas viewers only, is available until 31 January.

As this is already a sell out, any half-season tickets bought will NOT be valid for this match.

Copies of the match programme, which is a double issue combined with the Gillingham game, is still available to order on line here, price £4 plus postage.

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Match Reports

Match report for Sutton United 2 AFC Wimbledon 1

1 January 2023

Sutton 2 (Randall 13, Bugiel 69) AFC Wimbledon 1(Davison 40)

Sutton completed a perfect Chrismas period with a third win, ending Wimbledon's ten game unbeaten league run. The Dons' last league defeat had come when the sides met in October at Plough Lane, but Sutton were quickly out of the blocks with a superb first half hour that should have been rewarded by more than Will Randall's 13th minute goal. Missed chances came back to haunt U's as Josh Davison equalised five minutes before half time, but Omar Bugiel's winner midway through the second half ensured a nine point return over the past six days, moving Sutton to within three points of the play-off zone. 

Matt Gray said afterwards that the first half hour was U's best showing of the season, and few at Wimbledon would have argued as the visitors, backed by nearly 1,500 supporters in a sell-out crowd of 5,049, were penned in their own half as U's moved the ball well and created several chances. Rob Milsom, back in the side with Sam Hart one of several players suffering from a virus, saw a cross from the left bounce off the crossbar, and Nik Tzanev made a good instinctive save to deny Craig Eastmond a goal on his 350th appearance after Bugiel had played Joe Kizzi's pass in to his path, but the goal the start deserved came when Randall received a pass from Bugiel, cut in from the left across the penalty area, and sent a low shot beyond Tzanev and in off the far post.

There should have been more, with Randall shooting badly wide after Kizzi had crossed low from the right, and Bugiel turning the ball past the post when he should have done better from Enzio Boldewijn's cross, and the fears that the failure to take the chances would prove costly were realised when Milsom was penalised for a foul on Kyle Hudlin just outside the penalty area, and when U's failed to clear Ethan Chislett's free kick Davison swivelled to fire home from close range.

It was the visitors who will have gone in to half time in better heart, level in a game where they could have been two or three down, but Sutton slowly regained the ascendancy in an entertaining game. Randall drew another good save from Tzanev to his right, and Kizzi headed over from close range from Milsom's free kick, another chance that should have been taken. At the other end Chislett had another chance from a free kick after Bugiel was booked for a foul on Paul Kalambayi, but put his shot just over the bar.  The greater threat was from Sutton, though, and with just over twenty minutes to go a free kick fell to Ali Smith on the edge of the penalty area and although Tzanev made another save from his shot, this time the ball ran out to Bugiel who hammered it in to the roof of the net (below).

Bugiel goal v Wimbledon 1.1.23.jpg

Kylian Kouassi had been standing on the touchline waiting to come on as Bugiel found the net, and the change was still made after the goal, Bugiel having been booked shortly before scoring. Josh Neufville also came on to replace Donovan Wilson, who had returned after missing three games through injury, but they had barely been on the pitch when Wimbledon could have equalised, Jack Rose diving to his right to save superbly from Hudlin's header.

That was the closest Dons came to an equaliser, with Sutton defending the lead with some comfort inside the last twenty minutes. With Aaron Pierre another player affected by the virus, Harry Beautyman came on when Ben Goodliffe was replaced with just over ten minutes to go, Kizzi going to centre back and Boldewijn to right back, and it was Beautyman who might have put any more gloss that was needed on the afternoon in stoppage time when Neufville was put through on the right and pulled the ball back, but Beautyman's shot was blocked on the line by Ryley Towler.

Sutton: J Rose, J Kizzi, R Milsom, C Eastmond, B Goodliffe(sub H Beautyman 77),  L John, E Boldewijn, A Smith, O Bugiel(sub K Kouassi 71), D Wilson(sub J Neufville 71) W Randall. Subs n/u L Ward, C Dundas, T Fadahunsi, L Gambin. Booked: Bugiel

Wimbledon:  N Tzanev, H Biler, J Currie(sub D Fisher 89), A Woodyard, P Kalambayi, R Towler, N Young-Coombes(sub L Brown H-T), H Pell, J Davison, K Hudlin, E Chislett. Subs n/u C Gunter, G Marsh, A Pearce, A Bendle, N Broome. Booked: Woodyard

Referee: Will Finnie

Attendance: 5,049(1,491 away)

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