Mansfield Town 1(Maris 35) Sutton United 1 (Angol 8)
Sutton continued the battle to climb away from the League Two relegation zone with an excellent point against promotion chasing Mansfield. In a game increasingly spoilt by the strong wind and partly played in swirling rain, U's took an early lead but were pegged back by an equaliser ten minutes before half time having survived a spell of Mansfield pressure. The home side had a lot of the ball again in the second half, but created few clear chances, although substitute Will Swan did miss a golden chance close to the end to deny Sutton the point the performance deserved.
U's lined up in an unfamilar 5-3-2 formation, with Ryan Jackson and Nino Adom-Malaki as wing backs and Olly Sanderson making his debut alongside Lee Angol, and Sanderson almost had an immediate impact when he got across his marker to meet Jackson's low cross but turned his shot just wide. U's weren't to be denied an early lead, though, and it came when Lewis Brunt's misplaced pass after he had intercepted a long Bouzanis clearance presented the ball to Angol on the edge of the penalty area, and the striker placed his shot past Christy Pym in to the corner of the net.
U's defended the lead well as Mansfield enjoyed the majority of the possession, Ben Goodliffe throwing himself in the way of a Louis Reed shot, although there may have been a let off when Jackson grabbed Stephen Quinn's arm in the penalty area as the Mansfield player was about to shoot, Quinn's furious reaction to not being awarded a penalty earning him the third yellow card in an eight minute spell. The first had gone to Brunt for a lunging tackle on Adom-Malaki, and his unhappy evening was ended before the half hour mark as he was replaced by Stephen McLaughlin. It proved a good move from Nigel Clough, as within eight minutes McLaughlin had delivered a low cross from the left that was neatly turned in at the near post by George Maris.
Omar Sowunmi failed to appear for the second half after feeling unwell, with Omari Patrick brought on in a changed formation, and again although Mansfield had more of the ball U's defended well and chances were few and far between. Lucas Akins headed over from close range after a left wing free kick had been flicked on, although the pace of the ball was such that Akins knew little about it, but apart from that U's most anxious moment came when a clearance rebounded off Christian N'Guessan and looped just wide of his own goal.
Sutton had some promising moments on the counter attack, Josh Coley particularly prominent after coming on as a substitute but unable to find the final pass, but Pym was as untested as Bouzanis as the gale began to make playing constructive football difficult and took two balls out of the ground. Mansfield did have one glorious chance, though, when Swan met Jordan Bowery's cross at the near post but put his header wide, and despite ninbe minutes of stoppage time Sutton were able to preserve a well earned point to the delight of the 40 supporters who had followed U's to the One Call Stadium on a miserable day for travelling.
Sutton: D Bouzanis, J Kizzi, N Adom-Malaki (sub S Hart 79), O Sowunmi(sub O Patrick H-T) B Goodliffe (sub L John 72), C Eastmond(sub H Beautyman 64), R Jackson, C N'Guessan, L Angol, O Sanderson (sub J Coley 64), C Lakin. Subs n/u S Arnold, D Moore. Booked: Kizzi
Mansfield: C Pym, L Brunt (sub S McLaughlin 27), S Quinn (sub O Clarke 73), L Reed, A Flint, B Cargill, L Akins, A Lewis(sub W Swan 73), J Bowery, G Maris (sub H Boateng 73), D Keillor-Dunn. Subs n/u S Flinders, G Williams, J-J O'Toole. Booked: Brunt, Quinn
Referee: Ed Duckworth
Attendance: 6,490(40 away)
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