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Match Reports

Match report for Sutton United 2 Crawley Town 2

20 April 2024

Match Reports

Match report for Sutton United 2 Crawley Town 2

20 April 2024

Sutton United 2 (Lakin 48, Sanderson 79) Crawley Town 2(Kelly 42, Lolos 90+1)

For the second week running two sides desperate for a win served up a hugely entertaining game which ended up with a result that suited neither. Sutton now need not only to win at Milton Keynes next Saturday but also to hope that Colchester lose their last two games and that in the process a goal difference deficit of seven can be wiped out. Crawley meanwhile are the most vulnerable of the clubs in the playoff zone to a continuation of Doncaster's unstoppable form, which means that both teams will be following events on Tuesday, as Colchester host Doncaster, with more than the usual interest.

Sutton showed terrific spirit to be within minutes of a victory that would have put Colchester under more pressure, having trailed at half time, but a goal from Klaidi Lolos as the game entered stoppage time earned Crawley a draw that on the balance of play they deserved, and they might even have gone on to win as Joe Kizzi cleared off the line from substitute Adam Campbell while Danilo Orsi saw an even later effort ruled out for offside.

It was Orsi who came close to an early goal as Crawley started the game well, but Steve Arnold made a superb close range save, and U's were again fortunate to survive as Lolos blazed over the bar after a long throw had fallen to him, and Nick Tsaroulla also sent a shot too high when he should have done better. Although U's created one chance when Nino Adom-Malaki, who would later pick up the Goal of the Season award for his strike against Accrington last month, nearly trumped that effort with a run and shot from 25 yards that flew just over, it was Crawley still having the better of things and U's needed Arnold to be at his best as he saved from Lolos and Orsi. However as the half went on Sutton posed more of a threat, and Olly Sanderson was put through by Josh Coley only to be denied by the oncoming Corey Addai. The keeper saved another low effort from Sanderson, and kept out an Omar Sowunmi header, but the deadlock was broken three minutes before half time when Orsi rolled the ball in to the path of Liam Kelly, who curled a superb shot beyond Arnold in to the far corner of the net.

It was a crushing blow for U's but the second half response was superb and within three minutes a Charlie Lakin free kick eventually found its way back to him after Kizzi's header had been cleared, and his volley deflected off Jay Williams to loop over the helpless Addai and render arguments as to whether Williams had handled academic. With Colchester soon going behind at Notts County U's knew that an extra goal could now prove priceless, but a tendency to stray offside frustrated several promising positions while Crawley, equally keen for a winner, saw Will Wright send a free kick just wide while Arnold saved well again from Harry Forster.

Eleven minutes from time Crawley appeared to have sabotaged their play-off chances, and handed U's survival hopes a huge boost when Addai's pass out was miscontrolled by Williams. Harry Beautyman seized on the error and immediately played a pass through to Sanderson who kept his cool to sidestep a defender and place a shot beyond Addai to spark wild celebrations among those of a Sutton persuasion. It wasn't enough, though, as with the game entering stoppage time Lolos collected a pass from Jeremy Kelly and weaved his way to the edge of the penalty area as Kizzi slipped before sending in a shot that deflected over Arnold off the challenging Sam Hart, who had before the game received the Supporters' Club Player of the Year award.

In a finish similar to that at Harrogate last week both sides threw everything at grabbing a decisive goal, but Addai kept out Sutton's best effort from Deon Moore. It was at the other end that the game was nearly won as Campbell shot past the advancing Arnold only for Kizzi to get back and clear inside the six yard box, and then crossed for Orsi to shoot in off the post. An offside flag ruled out the effort, but Arnold's attempts to take a quick free kick and launch a counter attack were frustrated by referee Lewis Smith with Crawley's players still celebrating,  the second time the official had stopped a Sutton attack for no good reason, with a clear attack on the left in the first half also brought to a halt owing to a leg injury to a Lolos which ultimately required only brief treatment. The final whistle brought more frustration to both teams, who now face an anxious evening on Tuesday before knowing what, if anything, they can do next Saturday to achieve their aims.

Sutton: S Arnold, R Jackson, N Adom-Malaki (sub S Duke-McKenna 67), O Sowunmi, J Kizzi, S Hart, J Coley(sub D Moore 67), O Sanderson(sub C Eastmond 84), H Smith, H Beautyman, C Lakin. Subs n/u M Kerbey, L John, C N'Guessan, C Clay. Booked: Hart, Sowunmi

Crawley: C Addai, W Wright, D Conroy, L Kelly, L Maguire, J Williams(sub A Campbell 86), H Forster(sub A Adeyemo 76), K Lolos, D Orsi, R Darcy (sub J Roles 72), N Tsaroulla(sub J Kelly 72). Subs n/u R Sandford, J Mukena, R Khaleel. Booked: L Kelly

Referee: Lewis Smith

Attendance: 4,675 (1,152 away)

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