Sutton Utd 4-0 Saints U21 – Report

By SFC Media time Thu 09 Aug Club

It proved a night to forget for Saints' Under 21 side as they were beaten 4-0 at Sutton United.

Martin Hunter's men travelled to Gander Green Lane for a Thursday-night friendly for some extra match practice ahead of the Barclays U21 Premier League campaign.

But their Blue Square South opponents had the better of the game throughout, going in front through Kezie Ibe after 20 minutes.

Strike partner Kyle Vassell added another seven minutes later, before Ibe grabbed his second shortly before the break.

Saints looked to have found their feet in the second half, but could not find a way through an experienced Sutton defence.

Instead it was the home side who troubled the second-period scoresheet as substitute Anthony Riviere slid home their fourth after 76 minutes.

Sutton: Scriven (Lovelock 46), McLaren (Jones 67), Stuart (c) (McKim 77), Downer (Reece 72), Gwillim (Carr 67), Rents, Kavanagh (Daramola 67), Dundas (McCrae 67), Vassell (Abnett 46), Beautyman (Watkins 46), Ibe (Riviere 46).

Goals: Ibe (20 & 41), Vassell (27), Riviere (76)

Bookings: n/a

Saints U21: Cropper, Young, Stephens, Turnbull, Dickson, Chambers (Rickard 84), Reeves, Moore (Curtis 60), Hoskins (Forte 63), Barnard (c), Sinclair (Isgrove 60). Subs not used: Johns (GK).

Bookings: n/a

Referee: Matthew Westlake

Coach Hunter selected a team that consisted of two players who have featured in the First Team friendlies this pre-season in the shape of Jack Stephens and Calum Chambers.

Cody Cropper took his place between the sticks behind a defence made up by Matt Young, Stephens, Jordan Turnbull and Ryan Dickson.

Chambers was joined by Ben Reeves and Corby Moore in a three-man central midfield, with Jake Sinclair and Sam Hoskins supporting central striker Lee Barnard.

The first chance of the game went the way of the home side as striker Kyle Vassell drifted through the Saints defence and into the area, but his shot was excellently tipped wide by Cropper.

Sutton forced another opportunity less than 60 seconds later as Ibe twisted his way onto his right foot only for his effort to curl just wide.

It was lively striker IBE who did fire the home side into the lead, though, when he finished off a scramble in the Saints area by hooking inside Cropper's left post with 20 minutes on the clock.

Paul Doswell's men went in search of a second, and almost got it three minutes later as the ball fell invitingly for Craig Dundas on the edge of the box but his drive flew just over.

They would indeed double their lead just before the half-hour as VASSELL snatched the ball off a Saints midfielder before rounding Cropper and sliding the ball into an empty net.

United went close to extending their lead further eight minutes before the break as Vassell's volley span off Ibe's head and onto the post, though the eventual attempt at goal was judged to have come from an offside position.

Vassell then saw a strike ruled out for offside as he latched onto Dundas's through-ball and slid past Cropper, though there was no denying the hosts from registering a third when IBE turned his man and curled home with 41 minutes gone.

HALF TIME: SUTTON UNITED 3-0 SAINTS XI

Sutton sent on four new players at the break and it was one of those, Craig Watkins, who almost added an immediate fourth as the latched onto Stephens' back-pass only to see his shot blocked by Cropper.

Some excellent touches then allowed Hoskins to work space on the edge of the Sutton box, but his attempt rebounded off an opposition defender and into the grasp of substitute goalkeeper Tom Lovelock.

Some sloppy play in the Saints half then allowed Dundas to take up possession 18 yards out but, after some trickery, his attempted lob landed the wrong side of the crossbar.

Left-back Dickson then almost grabbed a goal for the visitors as his fizzed attempt from the left touchline left the Sutton goalkeeper stranded, though the ball flew narrowly wide of the far post.

With an hour gone Hunter threw on Joe Curtis and Lloyd Isgrove as he sought to inject some life into his side.

And the changes almost paid off immediately as some excellent play down the left by Isgrove led to his whipped cross being spilled by Lovelock, but the stopper gathered at the second time of asking.

Jonathan Forte replaced Hoskins soon afterwards, while Sutton made another four substitutions as they sought to preserve their clean sheet.

Instead the changes would see United add another goal, as replacements Michael Abnett and RIVIERE combined for the latter to slide in Sutton's fourth with 76 minutes gone.

Forte had an opportunity to reduce the arrears when he got on the end of Isgrove's inswinging corner, but Lovelock did well to hold the forward's shot.

FULL TIME: SUTTON UNITED 4-0 SAINTS U21


Stay tuned to saintsfc.co.uk and Saints Player for Martin Hunter's verdict on tonight's match.

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