Brighton & Hove Albion 5 Sutton United 3 [ Hales,Mills,Campbell ]
Last Saturday the Sutton United Community Team travelled to the £32 million American Express Elite Football Performance Centre in Lancing, home of the Brighton & Hove Albion Disability Team.
Sutton United, who have come a long way in 3 years, lead the Surrey FA Premiership but were now playing one of the top disability teams in the country, in preparation for the regional Disability FA Cup in January.
With the U's missing key defender Matt Nesta it was always going to be a tough test keeping the lively Brighton attack quiet but in fact it was a couple of early defensive mistakes that led to Brighton leading 2-0. The excellent Joe Hales pulled a goal back with a super strike from the edge of the box. The U's now were very much on top with Shaun Mills causing the Brighton defence all sorts of trouble and against the run of play Brighton scored a cracking goal on the stroke of half-time, curling the ball into the top corner and leaving U's keeper Mark Heritage with no chance.
The second half started in the same fashion with U's now pushing Brighton back from the start and it seemed only a matter of time before we would score but in a disappointing 5 minute spell Brighton added another 2 goals. It was a shock to find the U's 5-1 down with 30 minutes to go and the unavailable GB gold medalist defender Nesta was proving a massive loss to the U's defence. But this setback seemed to spur the U's on, we were now creating chances every few minutes and it was no surprise when young Tommy Campbell pulled a goal back and with the U's now firmly camped in the Brighton half further chances were created, as Mills and Campbell went agonisingly close and the pressure lead to the referee awarding a penalty which saw the reliable U's striker Mills convert with style. However the home defence held firm and the final whistle blew.
Steve King, U's manger ,said “ I would like to thank Brighton for the invite, it was another great occasion. This team have come such a long way and to be competing with one of the strongest disability teams in England is a fantastic achievement . The fact that the team were so disappointed that we didn't win speaks volumes on far we have come”