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Match Reports

Match report for MK Dons 4 Sutton United 4

27 April 2024

Match Reports

Match report for MK Dons 4 Sutton United 4

27 April 2024

MK Dons 4  (Payne 14, Gilbey 40, Tezgel 60, Harrison 70) Sutton United 4 (Duke-McKenna 50, 75, Lakin 62, Smith 90+1)

In the end Sutton fell short of what was needed to avoid relegation, but amid the obvious disappointment at the end of the game there was an optimistic feel after a stirring second half performance saw U's sign off after three years in the EFL with a draw after three times trailing by two goals. At half time, with U's two down and Colchester a goal up against Crewe, the afternoon seemed set to end in anti-climax, but where U's could easily have allowed disappointment to take hold, instead all guns were blazing in a thrilling second half and while the draw was less than U's needed at the start it was still a hugely praiseworthy effort against a good MK side who Sutton struggled to match in the first half.

There was a bright start for U's, with Josh Coley creating space for himself on the right and seeing his shot saved by goalkeeper Michael Kelly with his legs, and Harry Smith heading over from the resulting corner, but it was MK who went ahead when Harry Beautyman stretched to intercept a Joe Tomlinson cross from the left but could only divert the ball to Max Dean, whose layoff was guided just inside Steve Arnold's left hand post by Jack Payne.

Sutton responded well, Joe Kizzi's header from a corner tipped over by Kelly, but MK always threatened on the attack and Warren O'Hora headed wide from a corner, while Arnold made a fine stop from Dean after U's had been caught napping by a quick throw in. Sutton came close to an equaliser when more good work by Coley set up Charlie Lakin, but he too was denied by the advancing Kelly. It was Coley's last involvement as he was then replaced by Stephen Duke-McKenna, a tactical switch which Steve Morison confirmed afterwards was no reflection of Coley's performance, but before the switch could take effect MK had a second goal, Alex Gilbey exchanging passes with Dean before slotting a shot beyond Arnold and in off the post.

Kelly saved from a near post flick by Harry Smith just before the break, but with news of Colchester's half time lead U's went in at half time with more than one foot in the National League. Out early for the restart, with Craig Eastmond replacing Olly Sanderson, Sutton soon gave a hint of what was to come in a highly entertaining second half as Kelly saved well from Kizzi and Omar Sowunmi, both following left wing corners, and also managed to keep out a Duke-McKenna shot after U's had forced MK In to an error as they tried to play out from the back, and Duke-McKenna seemed to have an open goal to aim at before Kelly recovered to divert the shot wide with his legs. Duke-McKenna's first Sutton goal was not long in coming, though, as he collected Lakin's pass on the right of the penalty area and whipped in a shot that flew past a surprised Kelly at his near post(above).

Sowunmi headed a good chance wide from another corner, while Arnold saved well from Dean, but on the hour Tomlinson's shot diverted off Sowunmi for substitute Emre Tegzel, who had only been on the pitch for four minutes and shot low past Arnold. Sutton replied immediately as Smith's headed Sam Hart's ball forward in to the path of Lakin, who checked inside and lashed a shot past Kelly from the edge of the penalty area, but MK thought they had restored their two goal lead when Tegzel turned in Payne's low cross but was flagged offside. They didn't have to wait long, though, as Tegzel put another substitute, Ellis Harrison, clear of U's back line and he took the ball past Arnold before rolling it in to the net.

With twenty minutes left and Colchester still ahead U's could again have been forgiven for losing heart, but there was none of it and five minutes later Eastmond and Lakin again intercepted MK's efforts to play the ball out from the back, and Tope Fadahunsi's first touch after returning from his loan at Hampton was a low cross that put Duke-McKenna's second goal of the game on a plate.

It set the scene for a breathless last fifteen minutes, with Harrison crashing a shot off the bar after again being set up by Tegzel and at the other end Fadahunsi heading in after Smith's header from a Lakin corner had hit the bar, but referee Thomas Parsons disallowing the effort for a foul by Kizzi on Daniel Harvie. U's weren't to be denied the equaliser, though, and Duke-McKenna cut in from the left and chipped a cross in which Smith glanced superbly beyond Kelly in to the net. Even then MK could have won, Tegzel flashing a shot across goal that any touch would have turned in and which only just evaded the far post, but it was Sutton who finished on the attack when a free kick on the right saw Arnold waved forward to a huge cheer from the Sutton supporters, but it was Smith who made contact with Lakin's delivery, only for his looping header to be saved comfortably by Kelly before the referee's final whistle called time on U's three years in the EFL, with the players and management acknowledging the superb backing of 860 Sutton supporters high in the stands.

Sutton: S Arnold, R Jackson(sub D Moore 74), N Adom-Malaki, O Sowunmi, J Kizzi, S Hart, J Coley (sub S Duke-McKenna 31) O Sanderson(sub C Eastmond H-T), H Smith, H Beautyman(sub T Fadahunsi 74), C Lakin. Subs n/u M Kerbey, L John, C Clay. Booked: Eastmond, Hart

MK: M Kelly, K Lofthouse (sub D Kemp 74) D Harvie, J Tucker, W O'Hora, L Bate, S Wearne(sub E Tegzel 56), A Gilbey(sub E Robson 62), M Dean (sub E Harrison 56), J Tomlinson(sub C Norman 62), J Payne. Subs n/u F Marschall, D Lewington. Booked: O'Hora, Harrison.

Referee: Thomas Parsons 

Attendance: 8.685 (860 away)

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