Sutton 2 (Randall 13, Bugiel 69) AFC Wimbledon 1(Davison 40)
Sutton completed a perfect Chrismas period with a third win, ending Wimbledon's ten game unbeaten league run. The Dons' last league defeat had come when the sides met in October at Plough Lane, but Sutton were quickly out of the blocks with a superb first half hour that should have been rewarded by more than Will Randall's 13th minute goal. Missed chances came back to haunt U's as Josh Davison equalised five minutes before half time, but Omar Bugiel's winner midway through the second half ensured a nine point return over the past six days, moving Sutton to within three points of the play-off zone.
Matt Gray said afterwards that the first half hour was U's best showing of the season, and few at Wimbledon would have argued as the visitors, backed by nearly 1,500 supporters in a sell-out crowd of 5,049, were penned in their own half as U's moved the ball well and created several chances. Rob Milsom, back in the side with Sam Hart one of several players suffering from a virus, saw a cross from the left bounce off the crossbar, and Nik Tzanev made a good instinctive save to deny Craig Eastmond a goal on his 350th appearance after Bugiel had played Joe Kizzi's pass in to his path, but the goal the start deserved came when Randall received a pass from Bugiel, cut in from the left across the penalty area, and sent a low shot beyond Tzanev and in off the far post.
There should have been more, with Randall shooting badly wide after Kizzi had crossed low from the right, and Bugiel turning the ball past the post when he should have done better from Enzio Boldewijn's cross, and the fears that the failure to take the chances would prove costly were realised when Milsom was penalised for a foul on Kyle Hudlin just outside the penalty area, and when U's failed to clear Ethan Chislett's free kick Davison swivelled to fire home from close range.
It was the visitors who will have gone in to half time in better heart, level in a game where they could have been two or three down, but Sutton slowly regained the ascendancy in an entertaining game. Randall drew another good save from Tzanev to his right, and Kizzi headed over from close range from Milsom's free kick, another chance that should have been taken. At the other end Chislett had another chance from a free kick after Bugiel was booked for a foul on Paul Kalambayi, but put his shot just over the bar. The greater threat was from Sutton, though, and with just over twenty minutes to go a free kick fell to Ali Smith on the edge of the penalty area and although Tzanev made another save from his shot, this time the ball ran out to Bugiel who hammered it in to the roof of the net (below).
Kylian Kouassi had been standing on the touchline waiting to come on as Bugiel found the net, and the change was still made after the goal, Bugiel having been booked shortly before scoring. Josh Neufville also came on to replace Donovan Wilson, who had returned after missing three games through injury, but they had barely been on the pitch when Wimbledon could have equalised, Jack Rose diving to his right to save superbly from Hudlin's header.
That was the closest Dons came to an equaliser, with Sutton defending the lead with some comfort inside the last twenty minutes. With Aaron Pierre another player affected by the virus, Harry Beautyman came on when Ben Goodliffe was replaced with just over ten minutes to go, Kizzi going to centre back and Boldewijn to right back, and it was Beautyman who might have put any more gloss that was needed on the afternoon in stoppage time when Neufville was put through on the right and pulled the ball back, but Beautyman's shot was blocked on the line by Ryley Towler.
Sutton: J Rose, J Kizzi, R Milsom, C Eastmond, B Goodliffe(sub H Beautyman 77), L John, E Boldewijn, A Smith, O Bugiel(sub K Kouassi 71), D Wilson(sub J Neufville 71) W Randall. Subs n/u L Ward, C Dundas, T Fadahunsi, L Gambin. Booked: Bugiel
Wimbledon: N Tzanev, H Biler, J Currie(sub D Fisher 89), A Woodyard, P Kalambayi, R Towler, N Young-Coombes(sub L Brown H-T), H Pell, J Davison, K Hudlin, E Chislett. Subs n/u C Gunter, G Marsh, A Pearce, A Bendle, N Broome. Booked: Woodyard
Referee: Will Finnie
Attendance: 5,049(1,491 away)