Sutton United 2 Ebbsfleet United 0
Sutton repeated April’s 2-0 National League South success over Ebbsfleet when the sides met in a pre-season friendly recently. Whereas in April the goals came in the first half, this time it was two in a five minute spell early in the second half that proved decisive after a first half in which there had been few clear chances.
Nicky Bailey had Sutton’s two efforts of note, a dipping volley that just cleared the corner followed by a fiercely struck 25 yard shot that went narrowly wide of the post. There was also a threat from Roarie Deacon, who exchanged passes with Ryan Burge but found himself crowded out on the edge of the six yard box, an offside flag bringing the attack to a close. Sutton’s defence was impressive in the first half, with Ross Worner relatively untroubled, and the visitors’ first shot worthy of the description was from Bradley Bubb early in the second half, the ball hitting the side netting.
Seven minutes after half time U’s achieved the breakthrough when Ross Stearn’s corner was met by a downward header from Jamie Collins, and although Nathan Ashmore got both hands to the ball he was unable to prevent it squirming over the line. There was almost a remarkable equaliser as Jack Powell saw Worner off his line direct from the kick off, U’s keeper back-pedalling to tip the ball over, but five minutes later Nicky Bailey headed clear an Ebbsfleet corner and Stearn produced a superb counter attack on the left, travelling from the edge of his own penalty area deep in to the Ebbsfleet half before turning inside and sending over a deep cross which was headed down firmly past Ashmore by Dan Fitchett.
Fitchett’s reward was to be the in the first batch of the afternoon’s substitutions for U’s before play restarted, and the second batch five minutes later saw a debut for new signing Chris Dickson, the 31-year-old former Charlton striker signing this week after several seasons playing in Cyprus. Dickson ended the game with an ice pack on his neck after an awkward fall, but showed some good touches and linked well with Stearn on one occasion, setting him free on the right but unable to stretch enough to direct the header from the resulting corner.
That was the closest to a third goal, while there was little threat at the other end as U’s comfortably defended their lead for a third victory of the pre-season campaign.
Sutton: R Worner, S Downer(sub K Amankwaah 62), D Wishart, D Beckwith, C Eastmond(sub J Doherty 71), J Collins(sub L John 68), R Deacon(sub C Dundas 68), N Bailey(sub S Cooper 62), R Burge(sub C Dickson 68), D Fitchett(sub B Hudson-Odoi 62), R Stearn
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