Sutton United (Fadahunsi 5) 1 Chelsea U21 0
Sutton's bid for a second successive run in the Papa Johns Trophy began with a win against a talented Chelsea Under 21 side who moved the ball well and at times attacked with great pace, but lacked the composure in front of goal to cancel out Tope Fadahunsi's strike inside the first five minutes that ultimately proved to be the winner.
Manager Matt Gray refreshed his starting line-up as he had promised, with first competitive starts this season for Brad House, Sam Hart and Luke Gambin, as well as Kylian Kouassi and Fadahunsi, who were given the chance in attack and took less than five minutes to justify their inclusion. After Louis John had won a good tackle in midfield, Ali Smith found Kouassi, who played a perfectly weighted pass through for Fadahunsi to hold off the challenge of Chelsea captain Bashir Humphreys and shoot low past the advancing Teddy Sharman-Lowe.
It wasn't all good news for U's as the luckless Hart had to be replaced by Rob Milsom before the game could restart after suffering a slight groin injury, and either side of the goal U's had been given a taste of what might come in the evening, firstly with a dash down the left by Dion Rankine that set up Cesare Casadei for a shot that went just over from twenty yards, and then, minutes after Fadahunsi's goal, Josh Brooking's run from just inside the Sutton half ending with a shot that was beaten away by House.
Chelsea's main threat came down the flanks, with the pace of Rankine and Omari Hutchinson catching the eye, and Hutchinson sent in two dangerous crosses, one of which was tipped away by House, and the other bouncing just wide of the far post, but U's came close to a second goal just before half time when Sharman-Howe punched clear a cross and had to react quickly to keep out Milsom's skimming shot from the edge of the penalty area.
There was a scare for Sutton early in the second half when John lost control of the ball to leave Mason Burstow with a clear run on goal, and the striker then went over as John tried to recover his mistake but referee Alan Young waved play on. U's changed both centre backs just after the hour, Craig Eastmond and Coby Rowe the partnership for the last half hour, and although Chelsea still had plenty of the ball. for all their skilful and pacy approach work they lacked a convincing finish. Humphreys blazed one good opportunity high over the bar, and when Hutchinson did get his shot on target after a good move had ended with Burstow flicking the ball in to his path, House made an excellent save to his left. Indeed it was Sutton who went closest to a second goal when a quick counter attack led by Gambin set up Enzio Boldewijn for a first time shot from 25 yards that crashed back off the bar.
Chelsea's cause wasn't helped with five minutes to go when Casadei, already booked for a foul on Smith, lost out to Harry Beautyman in midfield and grabbed the ball while he was on the ground to prevent Beautyman breaking away, the referee left with no option but to show a second yellow card. U's safely saw out six minutes of stoppage time to join Oxford on three points at the top of the Southern Group G.
Sutton: B House, J Barden, S Hart (sub R Milsom 7), L Gambin (sub J Neufville 77) J Kizzi(sub C Rowe 62) L John (sub C Eastmond 63) E Boldewijn, A Smith, K Kouassi(sub C Kendall 77), H Beautyman, T Fadahunsi. Subs n/u J Rose, K Thomas. Booked: Milsom, Smith
Chelsea: T Sharman-Lowe, J Brooking, Z Sturge(sub D Williams 79), C Casadei, A Gilchrist, B Humphreys, O Hutchinson (sub J Soonsup-Bell 79) L Hall(sub B Elliott 90+4), M Burstow (sub L Castledine 79), J Taurianien(sub H Vale 63), D Rankine. Booked: Brooking, Casadei, Gilchrist. Sent Off: Casadei (deliberate handball - second bookable offence)
Referee: Alan Young
Attendance: 2,189(348 away)