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Match Reports

Sutton progress on penalties to make second round debut

8 August 2023

Match Reports

Sutton progress on penalties to make second round debut

8 August 2023

Sutton United 2 (Smith 38, Beautyman 82 pen) Cambridge United 2 (Okenabirhie 18, 60 pen). Sutton win 6-5 on penalties

Sutton reached the second round of the Carabao Cup for the first time, beating League One Cambridge United on penalties after the teams had been locked at 2-2 after 90 minutes. Sutton came from behind twice in normal time to force the shootout, Harry Beautyman's penalty cancelling out Fejiri Okenabirhie's second goal of the game, also from the spot, although neither player was on the pitch at the end to take another penalty in a shoot out in which nine of the first ten players to take a penalty, plus Sutton goalkeeper Jack Rose, who made the two crucial saves, were substitutes.

Until Rose followed up his save from George Thomas by diving to his left to keep out Harrison Dunk's effort, it had been a mixed night for the Sutton keepers, with Steve Arnold, given a starting place and making a superb early save from Elias Kachunga, then involved in the mix-up with Louis John that presented Okenabirhie with his first goal, and having to come off at half time with a hip problem. Rose then conceded the penalty that allowed Okenabirhie to restore Cambridge's lead before coming out on top in the shootout.

Arnold and John were two of four changes from the team that had swept Notts County aside on Saturday, Craig Clay and Aiden O'Brien also starting, and O'Brien nearly gave Sutton the home U's the lead with a header which was well saved by Will Mannion, with Beautyman and O'Brien unable to force home the rebound, Dunk clearing off the line. Cambridge immediately broke downfield and Kachunga was left clear by Joe Kizzi's slip, but Arnold saved brilliantly to his left to deny the striker. Eight minutes later, though, as they tried to deal with a ball over the top, John headed past the onrushing Arnold and Okenabirhie was able to walk the ball in to the empty net.

Sutton levelled seven minutes before half time when a long throw from Milsom fell on the edge of the six yard box and was fired in off the underside of the bar by Harry Smith (above), and both sides came close to grabbing the interval leade as Okenabirhie headed just wide at the far post and Kizzi's shot at the other end was saved by Mannion.

Sutton started the second half brightly and Beautyman put a header just over the bar before the excellent Mannion dived to his left to pish away Omari Patrick's shot, and then superbly tipped over Smith's header when Beautyman chipped the ball back in to the penalty area. It was a valuable save, as on the hour Rose, who had replaced Arnold to make his 50th Sutton appearance, came out to meet Okenabirhie as the striker chased a pass down the left and the resultant collision, after Okenabirhie had touched the ball past Rose but out of play, saw referee Daniel Middleton point to the spot, Okenabirhie comfortably converting the penalty.

Ben Goodliffe, who had replaced John at half time, blocked a shot from Lewis Simper, but it was Mannion who again proved their saviour when he went to his left to push away a Beautyman header. However the Sutton captain on the night wasn't to be denied, and after his turn inside had drawn a foul from Dunk, he buried the second penalty of the night low to Mannion's right.

With neither side able to force the winner in eleven minutes of stoppage time it was down to penalties, and a largely impressive collection of spot kicks was tarnished halfway through as Goodliffe and Thomas each saw their team's fourth penalty saved. There were no other failures, though, until Rose saved from Dunk to push Sutton in to uncharted Carabao Cup territory.

Sutton: S Arnold (sub J Rose H-T), J Kizzi, R Milsom, O Sowunmi, C Clay, L John(sub B Goodliffe H-T), J Coley (sub C Eastmond 65), A O'Brien, H Smith (sub L Angol 65), H Beautyman (sub S Kashket 83), O Patrick. Subs n/u T Fadahunsi, O Khinda, H Kasimu, J Taylor. Penalties: Eastmond, Angol, Milsom, Goodliffe(saved), Kashket, Patrick, O'Brien.

Cambridge: W Mannion, L Bennett, Z Ibsen-Rossi (sub D Andrew 71), J Cousins(sub P Digby 71), J Okedina, L Simper, J Brophy(sub G Thomas 61), E Kachunga(sub J Lankester 61), F Ojinabirhie(sub G Ahadme 80), S Janneh, H Dunk. Subs n/u J Holden, G McConnell. Penalties: Ahadme, Lankester, Andrew, Thomas(saved), Digby, Janneh, Dunk(saved).

Referee: Daniel Middleton

Attendance: 1,761(525 away)

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