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Match Reports

Match report for Mansfield Town 2 Sutton United 3

15 April 2022

Match Reports

Match report for Mansfield Town 2 Sutton United 3

15 April 2022

Sutton confirmed the lack of any Wembley hangover with arguably the best result of a league season in which there have been quite a few candidates, ending Mansfield's run of eleven consecutive home wins and launching U's back in to the play-off zone.

The result lifted Sutton back in to the top seven at the expense of Newport, Monday's visitors to the VBS Community Stadium, and while it is still extremely tight, with five points separating Northampton in 4th and Salford in 11th, if Sutton maintain this level of performance for the remaining five games then there is every reason to think that the season may be extended and a return to Wembley could remain a possibility.

Ahead early on after Omar Bugiel's opportunist goal, and with David Ajiboye adding a second just after half time, U's always had themselves in front, and responded to Ben Goodliffe's own goal with twelve minutes to go with a superb strike from substitute Richie Bennett before Mansfield could take advantage, Matty Longstaff's deflected shot deep in to injury time giving the scoreline a closer look than U's deserved.

Goodliffe was fit to return to the back four in the only change from the side that beat Orient, while Mansfield were still missing striker Rhys Oates and the suspended George Lapslie, but their home form over the last five months has been the best in the EFL and for U's to strike early was a huge boost. The blow was partially self inflicted as Farrand Rawson dallied on the ball after receiving it from goalkeeper Nathan Bishop, but Bugiel's pressure was as much responsible for the error and the striker dispossessed Rawson, swerved round Bishop and rolled the ball in to the empty net.

For much of the first half U's were in control, and Enzio Boldewijn raced down the left but then shot straight at Bishop when better options might have been available. Mansfield went to the other end, and after a patient build-up Jordan Bowery's low cross found Oliver Hawkins sliding in at the far post but unable to get his shot on target. That was the home side's only serious threat, though, and if they were hoping to put U's under more pressure in the second half they were rocked within four minutes as Rob Milsom came forward on the left to collect Harry Beautyman's pass and laid the ball wide to Boldewijn, who turned Elliott Hewitt inside out before chipping a cross to the far post where Ajiboye arrived to volley home.

Mansfield did exert more pressure as the half went on, Dean Bouzanis making one fine close range save from Lucas Akins after a goalmouth scramble, and U's surviving a penalty claim when Stephen Quinn went over under Isaac Olaofe's challenge, referee Neil Hair booking the Mansfield player for a dive when other officials might easily have taken the opposing view. There was also a superb block by Milsom to divert a shot from substitute Danny Johnson, who also saw a deflected shot saved by Bouzanis.

U's seemed to be on course for a comfortable win until, with twelve minutes to go Hawkins headed on a long free kick from Bishop and Goodliffe, stretching to try and prevent the ball reaching Bowery, looped a header over Bouzanis and in to his own net. It threatened to set up a grandstand finish, but within two minutes Ajiboye's superb crossfield pass sent Bennett away on the left, and with Mansfield hoping for an offside flag that never came, Bennett went on to drill a shot across Bishop and in to the far corner.

There was still pressure to survive for U's but they rarely looked like giving up the points and although, with stoppage time almost completed another long free kick fell to Longstaff, whose shot deflected past Bouzanis off the luckless Goodliffe, it was too little too late for the home side as U's celebrated another superb victory.

Sutton: D Bouzanis, J Kizzi, R Milsom, C Eastmond, B Goodliffe, L John, D Ajiboye, I Olaofe(sub D Wilson 76), O Bugiel(sub R Bennett 68), H Beautyman(sub K Davis 90+2), E Boldewijn. Subs n/u B House, B Wyatt, C Rowe, R Korboa.

Mansfield: N Bishop, E Hewitt, J Perch(sub K Wallace 84), R Stirk(sub G Maris 74), J-J O'Toole, F Rawson, S Quinn(sub D Johnson 66), M Longstaff, J Bowery, O Hawkins, L Akins. Subs n/u J Murphy, M Stech, J Law. Booked: Quinn.

Referee: Neil Hair

Attendance: 6,134 (173 away)

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