The Skrill South.
Sutton United 1 Boreham Wood 0,
by John Mead.
Wood tasted defeat for the first time in seven matches in a tight match with the third placed outfit from Surrey. It was a deflated side that trooped off the field at the final whistle, knowing they had done enough to win the game over ninety minutes.
With Sutton missing two key strikers through injury their main threat throughout the whole evening remained the delivery of Dale Binns into danger . His persistence paid off , creating the winner after 82 minutes, the diminutive wide player the difference between the two sides on the night.
Ian Allinson went for youth up front, with Junior Morias playing just behind Lee Angol, giving the superb Charlie Clough in the heart of the United defence a lot to think about through the game.
Wood soaked up the early pressure, breaking with speed on the counter attack. With Greg Morgan reverting to a left back role, he operated with confidence, his attacking instincts working to Wood’s favour often turning defence into attack with an assured performance. After a sober start to the game Binns started to stamp his authority on the game, yet his deliveries were either smothered by an alert James Russell or were well marshalled by the Wood defence.
Josh Hill tasted defeat in a Wood shirt for the first time, with the 21 year old turning out to be one of the signings of the season after his faultless display.
Wood produced the best move of the game to date after 21 minutes when Morias swept a central pass into the path of Matty Whichelow. His rising thunderous drive required a two fisted save from Jason Brown to keep the scores level.
Angol and Morias on occasions linked up seamlessly and Morias enjoyed the rub of the green when he accepted a rebound off of Clough before bearing down on goal. However the presence of Clough tracking back made the final effort weak and easy for Brown between the sticks.
A bizarre refereeing decision looked to have cost Wood in the 52nd minute. Binns skinned Ben Nunn only for the Wood right back to execute a superbly timed challenge sliding in to retrieve possession inside the penalty area. To the credit of the Sutton side they made no appeal, yet Mr Pollard pointed to the spot which even the Sutton bench found amusing. It even felt strange that Craig Dundas’ effort from the spot was a trifle half hearted in response, the forward playing his 301st game for the U’s stroking his effort well wide of Russell’s right hand post.
Morias tried desperately hard all evening in front of goal , yet the teenager was up against one of the best central defenders in the Division in Clough and after out pacing his marker, he was stopped in his tracks by a brilliant tackle.
It was Clough again that the Sutton Manager Paul Doswell had to thank when he cut out a fine cross from the right from Whichelow, before Montgomery hit a traditional screamer that was just wide.
United’s first shot on target of the half came from Jamie Taylor after 72 minutes that Russell was equal to, before Mario Noto mopped up to end Kane Haysman’s mazy run into the penalty area.
Allinson introduced three substitutes with twelve minutes remaining, with the home side scarcely letting them settle. Taylor was played through on goal with Russell ensuring the scores remained level with a brilliant blocking save.
However two minutes later Binns got his reward for perseverance, passing Nunn before cutting back into the path of Michael Spillane who stroked the ball home beyond Russell.
Wood tried with every last ounce of energy to force a draw, with Karl Brown and Lee Angol combining well, before Russell denied Gavin McCallum late on.
After the game Ian Allinson expressed his disappointment for his players. “ I feel very sorry for them tonight, they put in a tremendous effort and we created the clearer chances on the night. I made the substitutions with a view to introducing fresh legs to go on and win the game. Sutton deserve credit for the way they defended and one mistake in not clearing our lines has let them in to grab the points. Other results tonight narrows the gap to eight points from the drop zone, so we need to post a win at home to Chelmsford on Saturday to keep ourselves from the ”looking over our shoulders culture”, that we have done excellently to banish of late.”
Team: Russell, Nunn, Morgan, Noto, Hill, Reynolds, Whichelow (Brown 78), Shakes ( Pires 78), Morias ( Oyenuga 78), Angol , Montgomery.
Subs not used; Jones, Courtnage.
Goals: Sutton United: Spillane 82.
Wood Man Of The Match: Josh Hill.