05.08.23 vs Smethwick Rangers

Sutton start step six in seventh heaven

Andrew Delaney

A hat-trick from Leyton Hines helped Sutton United make a dream start to life in MFL 1 with a superb 7-0 victory against Smethwick Rangers at Coleshill Road.

A strong crowd turned out in miserable conditions to witness Sutton United’s first ever match at Step 6, and they were treated to a seven-goal cracker as Sutton produced a strong team performance along with some clinical finishing. After back-to-back promotions, any pre-match nerves there may have been at competing in MFL 1 were swept aside with a sensational start from Sutton, storming into a two-goal lead within the opening seven minutes.

Their first MFL 1 goal fell to prolific striker Joe Gildea, who slid the ball home at the back post from Jonny Grigg’s sweeping cross. And just two minutes later Sutton had a second, when Lewis James delivered one of his dangerous throws into the penalty box and Hines executed a fantastic finish from ten yards.

Despite the two early goals, it wasn’t going all Sutton’s way, and the visitors had a couple of great chances that had they scored, could have changed the game entirely. Bassit Mandey’s shot from distance went wide of the upright and Jack Tallack’s effort inside the box found the side netting. And when Sutton lost possession in their own half in the 27th minute, new club captain Reiss Wagstaff made an important save to deny Callum Nevey.

There was an early exit for Sutton’s Will Jones who picked up a knock and was replaced by Kye Billingham-Belle on his debut for the club, and he was soon involved in a clever build-up that had Gildea unleashing a shot heading for the bottom corner, only for the Smethwick keeper, Joshua Hazlett, to pull off a fantastic save.

United did extend their lead before the break when Tom Massey found the net with a clinical finish in the 39th minute. Then the visitors almost pulled one back on the stroke of half time when Mandey hit the crossbar with a well taken free-kick.

As the rain continued to fall, the second half got underway with another strong save from Wagstaff to push behind Resharn Donegan’s shot from distance.

Sutton then increased their lead in the 51st minute, when Jake Murrell’s cross from the left was touched on by Massey, before Grigg controlled on the edge of the box to curl a shot into the top corner of the net.

There were more debuts for Sutton as Tion Pearce-Copeland, Kieran McConville and Lewan Tobin were introduced in the second half, with the latter bagging an assist from some high pressing, that Hines then finished with a superb volley.

United continued to look a threat going forward, netting two more goals in the closing stages. Kaine Donald capped off a superb defensive performance with a neat assist for Joe Delaney, who found the bottom corner with a composed finish across Hazlett. And in the 85th minute, Hines completed his hat-trick, and man-of-the-match performance, with a clinical finish from the edge of the penalty box.

Smethwick finished strongly, coming close to a goal in the final minutes, but Sutton defended well to hold onto their clean sheet and record a historic victory for the club. Sutton’s next game is on Tuesday 8th August when they play host to Nuneaton Griff in the 7.45pm kick-off.

Team: Sutton United
1. Reiss Wagstaff (c)
2. Lewis James
3. Jake Murrell
4. Kaine Donald
5. Brad Gregory
6. Will Jones – 22’ Kye Billingham-Belle
7. Jonny Grigg – 56’ Joe Delaney
8. Sef Semlali – 56’ Lewan Tobin
9. Joe Gildea – 65’ Kieran McConville 81’
10. Tom Massey – 72’ Tion Pearce-Copeland
11. Leyton Hines

Richard Heath
Matt Gough
Chris Bratt-Rose
Derek Culling

Team: Smethwick Rangers
1. Joshua Hazlett
2. Joseph Lowe
3. Luis Painter
4. Callum Lee (c)
5. Heilo Santos
6. Jack Tallack
7. Bassit Mandey
8. Steve Weladji
9. Callum Nevey
10. Resharn Donegan
11. Shane Edwards

Substitutes: Elijah Cooper, Leon Toupon, Shiekh Barrow, Cory Patterson, Chayangkoon Panratanakorn

Dan Lee, Francis Fransico, Stuart Richards, Dave Lowe

Match Officials: Graham Hill, David Wood, Steven Chappell

Sutton UnitedStatisticsSmethwick
9Attempts on Target4
9Fouls Committed15
0Yellow Cards1
0Red Cards0

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