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23 March 2024 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 Accrington preview

22 March 2024

After last week's win at Forest Green which moved Sutton within three points of their opponents and Colchester, U's will be looking to back that result up in front of the home support on Saturday when Accrington Stanley make their first visit to the VBS Community Stadium.

The meeting in Lancashire in September was a sobering one for U's, beaten 4-1 although after Omari Patrick had reduced the arrears to 3-1 in the second half U's missed several golden chances to score again before Accrington's stoppage time fourth. Saturday's opponents have been around mid-table for much of the season having been relegated at the end of last term, winning five times away from home this season, and come in to the encounter with one win in their last seven games, a 2-1 win at Swindon which came after four consecutive defeats and the departure of long standing manager John Coleman. After taking over as interim manager, John Doolan was appointed on a permanent basis on Friday after that win against Swindon and a draw against Notts County last Saturday, and he will welcome Lewis Shipley back from suspension with Joe Pritchard, who returned from a long term injury with a goal in that September meeting, may also be fit to play. Goalkeeper Radel Vitek, on loan from Manchester United, is away on international duty with Czechia Under 20s.

Sutton are also affected by international call ups, with Jay Williams away with Wales Under 21s and Stephen Duke-McKenna and Deon Moore both representing Guyana and both playing in Thursday's 1-0 defeat against Cabo Verde. U's have no new injury worries, though, after last week's win at Forest Green and will be looking to record back to back league wins for the first time this season. One of the sides battling along with Sutton to steer clear of relegation, Colchester United, face league leaders Mansfield Town at the One Call Stadium at 12.30pm on Saturday and you can watch that game live on Sky in Ambers' Bar.

Saturday's referee at the VBS is Tom Nield, an EFL referee since 2017 who is making his first visit to Sutton although has taken charge of away games at Newport last season and Crawley in October 2021. He was the referee for last season's League Two play-off final at Wembley.

Of course it's a big day off the pitch as well with Sutton turning out in a special Royal Aubergine kit to mark a link up with the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, with supporters whose families have been treated at the Royal Marsden having the opportunity to accompany the players onto the pitch as mascots before kick-off. You can find further details here.

As it's an international weekend we are offering season ticket holders of any of the other 90 Premier League or EFL clubs the chance to get their weekly football fix at the VBS for just £10. Turn up at the ticket booth with your season ticket, physical or digital, on Saturday to claim a reduced price ticket.

For all others, tickets can be bought on line here, price £21 for adults, £15 for concessions (age 60+/full time students) and £7 for ages 12-18. Tickets for under 12s are free if bought in conjunction with an adult or concession ticket. Seat prices are £4 more in all cases. We would encourage on line purchase to avoid the £2 increase in these ticket prices for tickets sold in person at the ground on the day.

If you can't get to the VBS on Saturday, the international break also means that the game will be live streamed, and a match pass for £10 can be purchased here. A match programme can be ordered on line here, priced £3 plus postage, to be sent out after the game.

As always the fan zone will be open from 12.30pm, with a Signal happy hour until 1.30pm when a pint of beer costs £3.50. As well as the Mansfield v Colchester game at lunchtime in Ambers, you can also watch Stockport v MK Dons later in the afternoon (5.15pm kick off) and in the evening the friendly international between England and Brazil from Wembley (7pm kick off). There will also be a Strikers Are Key draw in Ambers after the game.

We are happy to report that for once there is a Thameslink service through West Sutton on Saturday, although due to engineering works the service is reduced to every half hour and operating via the Wimbledon side of the loop only. Supporters travelling from stations between Streatham and Sutton via Mitcham Junction should use Southern services to Sutton and change to the Thameslink there.

The academy side have an away game against Swindon Town at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, kick off 11am.

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Match Reports

Match report for Sutton United 3 Accrington Stanley 1

23 March 2024

Sutton United 3 (Smith 16, Sowunmi 68, Adom-Malaki 74) Accrington Stanley 1(Bickerstaff 85)

Sutton recorded back to back Sky Bet League Two wins for the first time this season and moved off the bottom of the table with a convincing win over Accrington Stanley. It was the first time U's home supporters had seen a league success since the end of October, and there were nervous moments along the way but once Omar Sowunmi had given U's a two goal cushion midway through the second half the afternoon was topped off as Nino Adom-Malaki put himself firmly in to any goal of the season conversations six minutes later, a late header from Accrington substitute Jake Bickerstaff no more than an annoyance for a U's side that moved above Forest Green on goal difference and within a point of Colchester.

The initial signs weren't hugely encouraging for U's, who wore a special Royal Aubergine kit to mark the club's link up with the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, with a slow start almost punished twice, firstly when a cross shot from Dan Martin evaded both the far post and the sliding Josh Woods, and then when Woods was sent clear through the middle but saw Steve Arnold off his line quickly to save. After surviving that start, Sutton then went in front when Charlie Lakin's through pass held up in the wind and forced a misjudgment from Accrington goalkeeper Jack McIntyre, who came outside his area to clear but was beaten to the ball by Harry Smith, who then made a testing finish from an angle with his left foot look easy.

Sutton were again grateful to Arnold for a superb close range stop to deny Joe Pritchard, the ball looping against the post and rebounding in to Arnold's arms, while at the other end Olly Sanderson sent a glancing header from Josh Coley's cross just too high, and then saw a shot saved by McIntyre after Smith's neat flick had put him through.

Accrington made two changes at half time but with Sutton now having the wind behind them the visitors found it difficult to make any impression on U's defence and it became a question of whether Sutton could find the greater security of a second goal. McIntyre stood in U's way, though, acrobatically turning away a fierce Sanderson volley and then saving from Smith and Coley, both of whom might have done better although Coley looked to be held back as he tried to force his shot past the keeper. When the goal did eventually come it was a scruffy affair, Lakin's inswinging corner possibly on the way in on its own merits before Sowunmi's head made sure from almost on the goalline, the first time since Steve Morison took over as manager that U's had held a two goal lead in a game. If that was scrappy, the third goal six minutes later was one of the outstanding moments on the ground this season, Lakin completing a hat trick of assists with a pass down the left after U's had cleared a free kick, and Adom-Malaki connecting with a stunning volley which flew in to the top far corner of the net.

That put the game beyond Accrington, and although Bickerstaff denied U's a second successive clean sheet with a near post header from Korede Adedoyin's cross it was only a slight dampener on the afternoon which ended with more good news for U's as Vinnie Tume, so impressive for the academy side this season and with two goals against Horley in the Surrey Senior Cup, came on for a brief League Two debut in stoppage time.

Sutton: S Arnold, R Jackson, N Adom-Malaki, O Sowunmi, J Kizzi, S Hart, J Coley (sub O Patrick 82), O Sanderson(sub C N'Guessan 83, H Smith (sub V Tume 90+2), H Beautyman, C Lakin. Subs n/u M Kerbey, L John, C Eastmond, J Taylor. Booked: Smith

Accrington: J McIntyre, C O'Brien, J Gubbins, K Mellor, B Hills, J Nolan (sub J Bickerstaff 82), S Whalley, D Martin(sub B Woods 82), J Woods (sub K Adedoyin H-T), J Pritchard(sub A Henderson H-T), T Leigh. Subs n/u T Savin, L Shipley, S Conneely. Booked: Adedoyin.

Referee: Tom Nield

Attendance: 3,265 (199 away).


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