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Match Reports

Match report for Forest Green Rovers 0 Sutton United 1

16 March 2024

Match Reports

Match report for Forest Green Rovers 0 Sutton United 1

16 March 2024

Forest Green Rovers 0 Sutton United 1 (Coley 39)

Sutton kept alive hopes of escaping the Sky Bet League Two drop zone thanks to a Josh Coley goal six minutes before half time which saw U's move to within three points of their hosts and Colchester, who both have games in hand. It was a thoroughly deserved victory, and a first clean sheet under Steve Morison's management, and U's will now hope that the performance can be matched in the seven remaining games to have a chance of escaping a return to the National League.

After hitting the woodwork twice in the first ten minutes Sutton could have been forgiven for thinking that it was to be another of those days, but Coley's superbly taken goal after a fine crossfield move gave U's the lead at half time and, apart from a Ryan Inniss header and a late Kyle McAllister shot, Steve Arnold had a pleasingly quiet second half as U's defended the slender advantage.

Sam Hart, one of three players brought in to the starting line-up as U's continued to be affected by illness in the lead up to the game, set the tone early on with a crunching ball-winning tackle in the first two minutes, and it was Hart who set up U's first chance soon afterwards, moving down the left before finding Olly Sanderson, who took advantage of some hesitant defending to get his cross in from the left and Coley's header at the far post bounced over via the angle of post and bar. U's were even more unfortunate when Charlie Lakin seized on a headed clearance and struck a low left foot shot from 25 yards that hit the inside of the far post and ricocheted across goal and out for a goal kick.

Forest Green also struck wood in the first half hour, Tyrese Omotoye holding off Omar Sowunmi's challenge to stab a left foot shot past Arnold but against the foot of the post. Christian Doidge, fresh from his two goals against Bradford in midweek, showed his instincts as he stretched a foot around Sowunmi to lift a shot just wide, but Sutton regained control towards half time and after Harry Beautyman had volleyed wide from the edge of the penalty area when he might have done better, the decisive moment came as Sanderson beat a challenge to come in from the right, and via Beautyman and Lakin the ball reached Coley on the left edge of the penalty area, and he checked back inside and found the top far corner of the net with Vicnete Reyes helpless.

U's continued to impress in the second half without being able to add the second goal that would have made the closing stages less anxious for the nearly 300 supporters who had made the trip to Gloucestershire. Several crosses just evaded their target in the middle, Reyes getting to a Joe Kizzi cross just before Sowunmi, and Harry Smith just unable to reach a cross from the right, where Stephen Duke-McKenna and subsequently Omari Patrick were a constant threat and Jamie Robson picked up the afternoon's only booking for a foul on Duke-McKenna that halted one dangerous attack. U's best effort came from Lakin with another low effort from range that Reyes dealt with, albeit uncertainly.

At the other end Forest Green saw any promising moves of their own fall down on some dominant defending and misplaced passing, and when Inniss found space to meet a corner from the left unmarked, his downward header was straight at Arnold. Other than that the U's keeper was largely untroubled, but the fragility of a single goal lead was nearly demonstrated in what would have been devastating fashion for U's when, deep in stoppage time, McAllister almost produced a replica of Rob Apter's goal for Tranmere two weeks earlier, but after cutting in from the right of the penalty area his shot was too close to Arnold who clung on gratefully.

Sutton: S Arnold, R Jackson, S Hart, O Sowunmi, J Kizzi, C Lakin, J Coley(sub D Moore 70), O Sanderson, H Smith, H Beautyman(sub C N'Guessan 85), S Duke-McKenna(sub O Patrick 64). Subs n/u C Clay, J Taylor, J Williams, M Kersey.

FGR: V Reyes, J Moore-Taylor, J Robson (sub m Lavinier 71) H Bunker(sub C Jones 71), R Inniss, D Thompson, K McAllister, C McCann, T Omotoye(sub J Maddox 72), C Doidge, E Osadebe(sub R Keogh 89). Subs n/u J Searle, D Bernard, D Johnson. Booked: Robson

Referee: Ben Toner

Attendance: 2,664(278 away)

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