York City 2-2 Sutton United
For the second week running Sutton returned home from a long trip north with a point, and while the sense of relief might have been similar to that at Southport as Jamie Collins netted his second penalty two minutes from the end of normal time to earn the point, there was a greater sense of entitlement after a battling performance, particularly after U’s had been reduced to ten men thirteen minutes from time as Dean Beckwith was sent off for two yellow cards.
Collins’ later equaliser meant that York were denied victory in the dying minutes for the second week in a row and have now gone ten league games without a win, and there was little doubt that the home supporters viewed referee Joseph Johnson as the villain of the piece for the two penalties he awarded Sutton and also the one he didn’t award York early in the second half, even if he did reduce U’s to ten men. Both the Sutton penalties seemed fair enough, but even manager Paul Doswell, while claiming that both Beckwith’s yellow cards had been very soft, admitted that York’s shout, when substitute Daniel Galbraith seemed to be brought down by Roarie Deacon, looked an equally valid claim.
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The first of Sutton’s penalties came in the 17th minute by which time York goalkeeper Scott Flinders had already made two good saves. The first, on the line with his legs, denied Adam May a first Sutton goal after Collins had headed on Ross Stearn’s corner, and the second pushed away Stearn’s low free kick after Jack Higgins had been booked for hauling back Dan Fitchett. Then Craig Eastmond burst in to the penalty area with the aid of a fortunate deflection and when he went down in a tangle of legs with home captain Simon Heslop the fact that he was in front of the York player persuaded the referee to point to the spot. Collins sent Flinders the wrong way with the penalty, and U’s had struck what might have been a damaging blow to York’s confidence. For that reason, giving their opponents a way back six minutes later will have been hugely frustrating, as George McLennan failed to clear a throw-in from the right and Daniel Nti clipped an angled shot past the advancing Worner, whose decision to come racing off his line was questionable with the ball only just inside the penalty area.
Worner was called in to action again just before half time, turning away a free kick from Sean Newton, who had beaten him at Wrexham and who was making his debut for York having followed manager Gary Mills from the Racecourse Ground, and there was a significant substitution at half time as Higgins, who had endured a traumatic half and following his yellow card had walked a thin line with two further transgressions, was replaced by midfielder Galbraith, with Clovos Kamdjo dropping in to the back line and giving an impressive performance. Galbraith had an immediate impact, and had only been on the pitch for six minutes when he outpaced Deacon in to the penalty area on the left, and when he went over under the Sutton player’s challenge there was general disbelief as the referee awarded a goal kick rather than the penalty. Deacon had been struggling after a knock on the hip in the first half, and it was his last action as Maxime Biamou replaced him and proceeded to give the York defence a torrid time. Kamdjo was booked for one late challenge as Biamou laid the ball off to Stearn, whose low shot came back off Flinders, and Fitchett was also denied by the keeper following a corner, U’s slow to react to the rebound on both occasions, but just as Sutton seemed to be gaining the upper hand they were rocked by a goal from nothing as Galbraith found a little space 30 yards out after U’s had initially done well to prevent York getting through, and unleashed a shot that dipped late under the bar with Worner helpless.
York should have been on the way to three points moments later when the referee played advantage after Beckwith’s foul on Nti leaving substitute Kaine Felix, who had come on immediately after Galbraith’s goal, clear with just Worner to beat, but a weak finish allowed the keeper to save. Beckwith was booked for the challenge, and when he collided with Felix off the ball ten minutes later the referee viewed it as worthy of a second yellow card.
It might have been a terminal blow for U’s, but they continued to look for an equaliser and after Newton had been boked for another foul on Biamou, the Frenchman came close when he headed just over from Stearn’s chip after Collins, playing much of the game with a bandaged head after an early clash of heads with Richard Brodie, had pulled the ball across from the left by-line. Bedsente Gomis saw something in the incident to complain about and the completely needless yellow card he received for dissent will see him join Beckwith on the sidelines at Dartford. There was time, though, for one more chance, and when Biamou found space to turn and shoot from the edge of the area, U’s were this time on to the rebound as it came back off Flinders and Fitchett was sent tumbling by Newton. After Shaun Rooney had been booked for his protests Collins kept his cool in front of the home supporters to again send Flinders the wrong way, and Sutton had the point they deserved.
York: S Flinders, S Rooney, A Whittle, C Kamdjo, J Higgins(sub D Galbraith H-T), D Nti, S Heslop, R Brodie(sub K Felix 64), M Dixon, C Cooper, S Newton. Subs n/u S Fenwick, F Clarke, A Bruton. Booked: Higgins, Kamdjo, Newton, Rooney.