22/10/22 vs AFC Birmingham



Sutton United are through to the next round of the Les James Challenge Cup after beating AFC Birmingham 4-3 on penalties.

Reiss Wagstaff was United’s hero as he saved three penalty kicks in the shootout after Sutton had been held to a closely contested 2-2 draw in normal time.

Sutton made a few changes for their first cup match of the season, as Rory Regan and Damel Smith came in. The opening exchanges were very even with Birmingham having the first sight of goal in the 5th minute, when Dylan Robinson found space in the middle of the pitch to have a go from 30 yards and his effort whizzed narrowly wide of the post.

As Sutton began to gain more possession, they still struggled to break down a well drilled defence and their usually dependable set-piece takers never quite found the right deliveries to capitalise on several corner kicks.

It was the home side who took the lead on the half hour mark when Musah Abubakari sprinted to pick up the ball on the right and carry into the box, before finding the bottom corner of the net with a composed finish.

Sutton’s best effort of the half came just before the break when Joe Delaney curled a shot from the right that had keeper, Tom Parsons, stretching to tip over his cross bar.

The second half continued much the same, with both teams passing the ball around well and both defences looking difficult to break down. Then, in the 60th minute, Sutton brought on their top goal scorer, Joe Gildea, and he had an immediate impact with two goals in seven minutes that turned the game in United’s favour.

His first goal came from some quick thinking by Wagstaff to send Sutton off on the attack; Gildea headed on his goal kick for Massey to square it back to the striker on the edge of the penalty box, who then fired in under the keeper.

The home side almost responded immediately when Louis Jones pounced on a short back pass from Sutton, and with Wagstaff stranded, Chad Duggan sprinted back to make a fantastic clearance off the goal-line, whilst suffering a nasty collision with the upright, though thankfully he was ok to continue.

Sutton took the lead in the 67th minute when Delaney won the ball high up the pitch to feed Gildea, who drove into the box to net his second with a rasping finish from the left of goal.

However, United were pegged back just four minutes later when Birmingham caught them out on the break. Taylor Homer found himself in acres of space out on the left to pick out substitute Sam Collins to finish from six yards.

Neither side could find a winner in the final stages and a pitch invasion from a dog was the highlight of the last ten minutes, and so the match had to be decided by a tense penalty shootout.

After five penalties each the score remained level at 3-3 when Chad Duggan executed his spot kick to put Sutton 4-3 ahead. It was then down to Wagstaff to make his third save of the shootout to send Sutton through to the next round, where they will meet Lane Head.

After three consecutive away games Sutton return home next Saturday for another cup match, this time in the Fazeley Charity Cup, against Lichfield City Casuals.

AFC BirminghamStatisticsSutton United
2Attempts on Target7
9Fouls Committed5
1Yellow Cards1
0Red Cards0

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