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Match Reports

Match report for Sutton United 2 Doncaster Rovers 0

18 February 2023

Sutton United 2 (Rowe 49, Ajiboye 88) Doncaster Rovers 0

Sutton leap frogged Doncaster in to 9th place in League Two, just two points outside the play-off zone, with two second half goals that rewarded a performance that got better as the game went on. The first twenty minutes were a struggle, with U's on the defensive for most of the time, but even then the closest to a goal came when Harry Beautyman's shot was saved by Jonathan Mitchell, and an injury to Doncaster defender Joseph Olowu in the same incident allowed Matt Gray to gather his team and make a few tweaks, after which U's were far more prominent in the game and deserving of a victory against a side who played some good football but too often lacked an incisive final pass.

With Omar Bugiel joining Craig Eastmond on the suspended list Lee Angol started up front alongside Donovan Wilson, while Will Randall was fit to return on the left, but the attacking players had few opportunities in the opening stages as Doncaster dominated possession without ever testing Jack Rose. The closest they came was when George Miller was put in on the right and his low cross ran through to James Maxwell, whose low shot was deflected over the bar a stretching Beautyman. 

After surviving this awkward early stage Sutton then responded as the ball fell for Beautyman in the other penalty area and his fierce shot was tipped away by Mitchell, who had frustrated U's at the Eco-Power Stadium in August and threatened to do so again as he also had to be alert to field a long range effort from Angol, before Rose was called in to action, pushing away Charlie Lakin's low shot with Rowe beating Miller to the rebound.

Rowe was a key figure in the early stages of the second half, two mistakes in the first fifteen seconds of the half allowing Doncaster to launch an early attack, and when Maxwell squared the ball for Miller the Doncaster supporters were already celebrating what looked a certain goal when Rowe arrived to atone for his errors with a brilliant block. Three minutes later, after Mitchell had saved from Randall's low shot and scrambled the rebound away for a corner, Rowe was in the penalty area at the other end of the pitch and when Ben Goodliffe headed back Randall's deep corner his close range header gave U's the lead.

Rowe tried his luck from further out six minutes later, his volley drifting harmlessly over the bar, but Randall came closer moments later as he drifted in from the left and sent a curling shot inches wide of the far post. With U's now in the ascendancy Doncaster made a change, Luke Molyneux replaced by Caolan Lavery, and the substitute should have equalised with his first touch as he ran on to Tommy Rowe's cross but shot over the top.

That was as close as Doncaster would come to cancelling out Rowe's goal, but bearing in mind the events of the closing stages in August U's needed the insurance of a second, and it arrived with two minutes to go as Ali Smith spotted David Ajiboye's run and played a superb pass in to the path of the winger, who slotted his shot past the advancing Mitchell to clinch the points.

Sutton J Rose, J Kizzi, S Hart, C Rowe, B Goodliffe, D Ajiboye, L Angol(sub M Dennis 77), A Smith, D Wilson (sub K Kouassi 69), H Beautyman, W Randall(sub E Boldewijn 90). Subs n/u B House, C Dundas, A Lovatt, L Gambin. Booked: Dennis

Doncaster: J Mitchell, J Brown(sub C Seaman 87), J Maxwell, B Nelson, J Olowu, K Hurst, L Molyneux(sub C Lavery 60), C Lakin, G Miller, T Rowe, B Close(sub H Biggins 71). Subs n/u A Long, A Barlow, T Miller, J Oram. Booked: Nelson

Referee: Darren Drysdale

Attendance: 3,163(501 away)


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