Sutton United (Bugiel 40,47, Angol 88) 3 Crawley Town 0
Sutton moved to within two points of the League Two play-offs with an ultimately comfortable victory over a Crawley side, although it was only when substitute Lee Angol gave Sutton a third goal for the first time in a league game this season with two minutes left that U's could be confident of all three points, with Jack Rose producing two fine saves inside the last fifteen minutes as Crawley looked for a way to get back in to the game.
Ali Smith and Rob Milsom returned to the starting line-up after injury, and Matt Dennis was given a first start alongside Omar Bugiel. Dennis's pace and energy cause the Crawley defence problems early on, and one left foot shot was dragged across the face of goal, but while there were some promising attacking moves from U's they often fell down through the lack of an accurate final pass and Corey Addai was relatively untroubled.
The game turned Sutton's way, though, in a seven minute spell either side of half time, sparked by Will Randall's perseverance to keep a ball in that looked to be going out for a throw-in. Milsom's resultant cross was nodded down by Omar Bugiel for Craig Eastmond who immediately found David Ajiboye on the right, and when the cross came in Bugiel found space to direct a header down and in to the net to Addai's left.
Crawley had a chance to respond within two minutes as Ashley Nadesan was put through on the left by Dom Telford but, with support from Jordon Mutch, he opted to go for goal and Rose saved comfortably at the near post. After little more than a minute of the second half U's had doubled the lead and Bugiel had two goals in a game for the first time since Boxing Day 2019. Dennis was the creator, battling past challenges on the left followinga throw in before crossing low, and in the resulting scramble Ali Smith's stabbed effort was blocked before Bugiel brilliantly and instinctively back-heeled the bouncing ball beyond Addai and inside the far post.
Bugiel had one chance to complete his hat trick as he found space on the left but saw his shot beaten away at the near post by Addai, while Joe Kizzi sent a shot fizzing across goal after a free kick had fallen to him on the right of the penalty area as Sutton looked to press home the advantage. Crawley were always dangerous, though, and when Aramide Oteh's low cross was met first time on the turn by Telford Rose made a superb stop with his feet. Nadesan headed just over from a right wing cross, and Rose saved again to keep out James Tilley's low shot to his right, but by then Crawley were down to ten men. Joel Lynch might have been lucky only to see yellow for an aerial challenge which left Bugiel on the ground ten minutes earlier, but when he blocked substitute Kylian Kouassi off the ball as Angol burst through referee Tom Reeves originally waved play on, only to award the free kick after a delay, seemingly on the advice of the fourth official, advice which extended to showing Lynch a second yellow card.
It was still a relief to U's supporters when Angol ran on to Rose's clearance through the middle of the Crawley defence and confidently shot past the advancing Addai, whose protests at the lack of an offside flag earned him a booking. It should probably have finished 4-0, with U's players and supporters convinced that Kouassi had scrambled the ball over the line following a corner just before the final whistle but the officials failing to confirm that the ball had gone in before being cleared.
Sutton: J Rose, J Kizzi, R Milsom, C Rowe, B Goodliffe, C Eastmond, D Ajiboye(sub H Beautyman 90), A Smith, O Bugiel(sub E Boldewijn 75), M Dennis(sub L Angol 66), W Randall(sub K Kouassi 75). Subs n/u B House, S Hart, A Lovatt.
Crawley: C Addai, K Gordon, D Conroy, J Mutch(sub J Tilley 58), T Johnson(sub T Fellows 71), J Lynch, A Oteh, J Powell(sub J Roles 50), D Telford, A Nadesan, B Mason(sub M Ogungbo 58). Subs n/u R Schofield, L Francillette, R Khaleel. Booked: Mutch, Roles, Lynch, Addai Sent Off: Lynch(foul-second bookable offence)
Referee: Tom Reeves
Attendance: 3,253(496 away)