Mansfield Town 0 Sutton United 0
Sutton and Mansfield were unable to find a goal at the One Call Stadium, Mansfield's second goalless draw at home in the space of four days while U's last two away games have both finished with the scoreline blank. As at Barrow it was a game when defences were largely on top and neither goalkeeper had a great deal to do, although U's came close to breaking the deadlock in a flying start to the second half which saw three opportunities inside the first six minutes.
U's had suffered training injuries to skipper Craig Eastmond and Matt Dennis, while Lee Angol was also missing with tonsillitis, and Hisham Kasimu, named in the squad for the first time, pulled up injured in the warm up. Harry Beautyman captained a side of players all of whom except goalkeeper Jack Rose had been with the club last season, and there was little to threaten Rose's goal in a first half short on goalmouth activity but containing plenty of stoppages, including a lengthy one after twenty minutes as Coby Rowe and Riley Harbottle clashed heads, Rowe able to continue with a bandage but Harbottle forced off. Apart from a wayward long range effort from Ben Goodliffe there was little prospect of a goal and not a huge amount of incident, although Omar Bugiel again fell foul of referee Simon Mather, who had sent him off at Stockport and who this time booked him for persistent infringement five minutes before half time. U's medical team were in action again just before half time as David Ajiboye sustained a hand injury that saw him unable to come out for the second half, Enzio Boldewijn the replacement.
If there had been little to get excited about before the break U's started the second period on the front foot and Goodliffe's downward header from Will Randall's corner was cleared off the line, albeit comfortably, by Kieran Wallace within a minute of the restart. Seconds later James Gale was booked for a high challenge on Joe Kizzi, and from the free kick Goodliffe again went close and might be disappointed he didn't hit the target with his header at the far post. When Christy Pym launched the goal kick downfield Beautyman had to be alert to prevent Danny Johnson going through, guiding a header back to Rose, but Pym was soon in action again as perhaps the best chance of the game fell to Ali Smith as Omar Bugiel turned a Kizzi cross in to his path but he was unable to get enough on the shot to beat the advancing keeper (above).
Rose had his first action as he easily collected Alfie Kilgour's header from a corner, and was prevented from needing to make another save when Wallace's shot struck Kilgour when it might have troubled U's keeper. Mansfield's best chance fell to Davis Keillor-Dunn, who shot wide of the far post after Lucas Akins had beaten Rob Milsom on the by-line and laid the ball back in to his path, while some fine defending by Rowe and Kizzi halted a dangerous run from Keillor-Dunn, but neither side could find the required quality with the final pass as the game fizzled out to a result that kept both sides in touch with the battle for the play-offs. U's finished with a strike force separated by 23 years, as had happened at Oldham almost exactly a year earlier, as Craig Dundas came on to join Kylian Kouassi, who had replaced Bugiel just before the hour mark.
Sutton: J Rose, J Kizzi, R Milsom, C Rowe, B Goodliffe, D Ajiboye(sub E Boldewijn H-T), D Wilson(sub C Dundas 83), A Smith, O Bugiel(sub K Kouassi 59), H Beautyman, W Randall. Subs n/u B House, S Hart, L Gambin, H Kasimu. Booked: Bugiel, Kizzi, Randall, Beautyman
Mansfield: C Pym, J Gale(sub H Boateng 65), K Wallace, E Hewitt, A Kilgour, R Harbottle(sub J Perch 20), L Akins, O Clarke, J Bowery, D Keillor-Dunn(sub J Law 90+3), D Johnson(sub R Oates 65). Subs n/u S Flinders, T Anderson, L Reed. Booked: Gale
Referee: Simon Mather
Attendance: 6,288 (196 away)