18.02.23 vs Birmingham United



Sutton United 1st Team scored twice in stoppage time to win a 10-goal thriller against Birmingham United at Coleshill Road.

It was a superb performance by captain Josh Duggan who led Sutton to a dramatic comeback after they trailed their visitors for most of the match. Sutton conceded four goals in a frenetic first half and it was only thanks to two spot kick conversions from Duggan that they were still in the match before the break.

It wasn’t until late in the second half, when Leyton Hines’ close range header reduced the deficit, before Tom Massey’s 85th minute wonder strike finally pulled the MFL 2 leaders level. Sutton’s resilience was rewarded as Joe Delaney found a dramatic winner in the 91st minute, with Duggan making it safe deep into added time, when he tucked away his third penalty of the match.

When Sutton last met Barnt Green Spartak, as they were called back in October, they enjoyed a 7-0 victory. Since then, today’s visitors have undergone a major restructure: a name change to Birmingham United, new management and a complete overhaul of the squad; today fielding only one player from that starting line-up in October.

This new Birmingham United were full of energy and pace, both in defence and attack and they were winning challenges that put Sutton under pressure, as they stormed into a two-goal lead in the opening quarter of an hour. The first goal came from a set-piece as Aaron Evans crossed the ball to the back post, where Anechi Eze-Sunday headed down and into the net.

The visitors had a second in the 14th minute when Eze-Sunday ran onto a pass played down the centre and as defender Matt Hurrell challenged, the ball looped over Reiss Wagstaff as he scrambled back to his goal.

Sutton pulled a goal back just three minutes later, when Matt Bishop delivered a dangerous ball into the penalty area and Massey’s close-range header was cleared off the line by a defender, before Hurrell was brought down trying to head the follow up. Duggan made no mistake with the resulting penalty, despite coming up against ex-Sutton keeper Josh Bennett, who switched to Birmingham United at the beginning of February.

However, within another three minutes the visitors had scored again, when Evans struck from the right with a powerful shot that found the far corner of the net to restore their two-goal advantage.

The goals kept coming, as Sutton were awarded another penalty in the 32nd minute, when Kaine Donald’s header from a deep corner was cleared off the line, before Hurrell was involved again with the rebound and a penalty was awarded for handball. Up stepped Duggan to despatch the spot kick and reduce the deficit once more.

Just as Sutton were getting themselves back into the match, they conceded a fourth before the break when Wagstaff punched away a Birmingham corner and Raheem Akhtar produced an overhead kick from the edge of the box that looped goalward and despite Jonny Grigg’s best effort to clear it off the line, the goal stood.

The electric pace continued in the second half with the visitors looking threatening going forward, Ben Sanogo with their best effort fired narrowly wide of the post. But it was Sutton who scored next, when a corner came out to Brad Gregory who headed back across goal for Hines to head in from close range.

With opportunities coming at either end, Wagstaff made an important one-on-one save in the 80th minute to keep Sutton in the match, and finally they drew level in the 85th minute, when Duggan spread the ball wide to Massey on the right and his fantastic strike curled into the top corner of the net giving Bennett no chance.

The momentum had turned in Sutton’s favour and they were rewarded for their determination in the 91st minute, with Duggan involved again as he did exceptionally well to win the ball and sweep down the right wing, delivering a cross that fell to Sef Semlali on the left, and he set up Delaney on the edge of the box to execute a fantastic shot for his 20th goal of the season.

Sutton made sure of the win in the seventh minute of stoppage time, when Delaney was pulled back in the penalty box and Duggan calmly converted his third spot kick, completing a sensational comeback and an important three points in the race for promotion.

Sutton travel to Lane Head next Saturday for another league fixture, with the opportunity to get revenge for the cup exit they suffered last month.

Team: Sutton United
1. Reiss Wagstaff
2. Jake Murrell
3. Matty Lewis – Sef Semlali 53’
4. Matt Hurrell – Leyton Hines 66’
5. Matt Bishop – Brad Gregory 50’
6. Josh Duggan (c)
7. Jonny Grigg – Remi Bell 70’
8. Kaine Donald
9. Tom Massey
10. Joe Gildea
11. Joe Delaney

Liam Burke
Matt Gough
Louis Singh
Derek Cullen

Team: Birmingham United
1. Joshua Bennett
2. Gerson Ladila – Dennis Sesay 91’
3. Raheem Akhtar (c)
4. Hannibal D’Aguilar–Abdullah Dangor 88’
5. Jake Coleman
6. Aaron Evans – Nasir Islow 98’
7. Jordan Kondo
8. Filimon Asfha
9. Anechi Eze-Sunday
10. Mario Mendez – John Hammer 68’
11. Ben Sanogo

Joe Sims
Sirat Hussain
Chris Fleet

Match Officials: Andrew Gopsill, Alana-Mai White

Sutton UnitedStatisticsBirmingham United
11Attempts on Target10
7Fouls Committed8
0Yellow Cards3
0Red Cards0

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