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Match Reports

Match report for Harrogate Town 2 Sutton United 2

13 April 2024

Match Reports

Match report for Harrogate Town 2 Sutton United 2

13 April 2024

Harrogate Town 2 (Thomson 49, Muldoon 80) Sutton United 2 (Beautyman 45+1, Moore 87)

The sight of both sets of players dropping to the ground in disappointment when referee Adam Herczeg blew the final whistle at the Envirovent Stadium underlined the impact of a result that did neither side any favours. Harrogate's chances of featuring in the end of season playoffs were left hanging by a thread, while what for Sutton would normally have been regarded as a good, hard earned point became less of a welcome result as news came through of Colchester's win at Crawley which pushed U's back in to the bottom two of the League Two table.

Sutton will be the more frustrated, having deservedly led at half time and then conceded two avoidable goals in the second half which meant that Deon Moore's continuation of his Surrey Senior Cup form was worth only a point. After Moore's 87th minute strike, both sides went for a winner and both might have grabbed one, Steve Arnold making a fine save from Jack Muldoon, who had come off the bench to put Harrogate ahead ten minutes from time, and Harry Smith sending a shot too high from inside the penalty area.

Sutton welcomed back captain Craig Eastmond and defender Ryan Jackson from injury, while Charlie Lakin was fit to play after coming off at half time against Stockport, and with the advantage of the elements on a blustery afternoon U's had the better of the first half, with Harrogate's only glimpse of goal coming when Anthony O'Connor headed over from a George Thomson free kick. It was in the other penalty area that O'Connor impressed, though, clearing several crosses in to the penalty area, but even so Sutton had moments when they might have gone ahead, Josh Coley's volley from the edge of the penalty area saved by James Belshaw, who was less comfortable with a Charlie Lakin free kick that he scrambled round the post. Nino Adom-Malaki also saw a shot from the edge of the penalty area go just wide, but with the game entering first half stoppage time Coley, who spent part of last season on loan at Harrogate, battled his way through on the right edge of the penalty area before pulling back a low cross that was turned in by Harry Beautyman.

Harrogate were sent out early for the second half and looked a much greater threat with the wind behind them, and within four minutes they had levelled when Matty Foulds evaded a sliding Omar Sowunmi on the left and crossed for Thomson to place a shot beyond Arnold. Chances for both sides were at a premium after that, with Joe Kizzi sending a header wide for Sutton and Thomson volleying over from the edge of the penalty area for Harrogate. Thomson was also presented with an opening by a poor clearance from Arnold, but his attempt to lob the stranded keeper from distance veered off course and wide.

Ten minutes from time Harrogate went in front when a Jackson throw in was cleared and Kizzi was adjudged to have fouled Muldoon just inside the Harrogate half. Thomson took advantage of U's players still coming back from the throw in  by taking a quick free kick to release substitute Sam Folarin on the left, and he squared a pass for Muldoon, whose two goals had won the reverse encounter for Harrogate at the VBS In January, to make himself the potential match winner again with a powerful finish.

He wasn't the match winner this time, though, because with three minutes left, two of U's own substitutes combined as Olly Sanderson sent Moore through on the right and he sent his shot under the advancing Belshaw to record his first EFL goal four days after his hat trick against Corinthian Casuals. The sight of Smith rushing back to the centre circle with the ball emphasised that U's needed more, and with Harrogate's playoff hopes now diminishing both sides went for it in the eight minutes that were subsequently played. Within a minute of the equaliser Muldoon was put through by Matty Daly only for Arnold to come out and make a fine save, and in stoppage time Smith ran on to a Lakin pass on the left of the penalty area but sent his shot too high, leaving both sides having to settle for a result that neither wanted.

Sutton: S Arnold, R Jackson, N Adom-Malaki(sub S Duke-McKenna 74), O Sowunmi, J Kizzi, S Hart, J Coley(sub D Moore 74), C Eastmond (sub O Sanderson 56), H Smith, H Beautyman, C Lakin. Subs n/u M Kerbey, L John, C N'Guessan, C Clay. Booked: Eastmond, Hart.

Harrogate: J Belshaw, D Abu, M Foulds, A O'Connor, L Sutton(sub S Dooley 75), R MacDonald, G Thomson, D Cornelius, A Odoh(sub S Folarin 70), M Daly, J March(sub J Muldoon 63). Subs n/u M Oxley, J Falkingham, W Burrell, J Sivi

Referee: Adam Herczeg

Attendance: 2,526(193 away)

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