Sutton beat Portsmouth by a single goal in Trophy competition

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Sutton United 2 Portsmouth 1 – – for the Andrew Letts Trophy  

Both teams started brightly on a warm afternoon but it was the U’s who drew first blood after just seven minutes. Dan Spence found space on the right and fed newcomer Roarie Deacon, who took the ball inside onto his left foot and finished with a low shot into the corner from 16 yards.

The visitors responded with a slick move down their left flank but Chaplin’s tame shot from 12 yards out was easily saved by Ross Worner. The U’s were playing some confident football with some slick interchanges and after one promising attacked was ended by a foul just outside the box, Ryan Burge curled a free-kick about a foot over the bar.  A minute later Ross Stearn tried his luck from 35 yards with a first-time chip, having spotted Bass of his line, but he cleared the bar as well as the keeper.  The U’s had their tails up though and Dan Wishart robbed a ball-watching Sessegnon on the left and surged forward to fire in a powerful cross-shot that Bass blocked and was relieved to see the follow-up effort diverted wide for a corner, which Bedsente Gomis headed wide.

That should have been a warning for Portsmouth but five minutes later good work by Dan Fitchett allowed Deacon to whip in a cross that Gomis headed firmly against the bar and saw the U’s win a corner. Still the lesson hadn’t been learnt and when the corner was touched short to Stearn, his deep cross found Gomis unmarked beyond the far post and this time his towering header cannoned into the back of the net.

Despite looking nervy at the back Portsmouth were playing some good football in Sutton’s half and Lalkovic brought a good save out of Worner.  It was Bass though who probably prevented another goal before the break when he was out quickly to take the ball off Fitchett’s toe as the hard-working forward threatened to leave himself with a tap-in.

The second half had barely started when Craig Eastmond found himself with space and time 12 yards out but put his first-time effort way over the top.  Fitted then gave the ball away on the half-way line with a lazy pass and Portsmouth broke quickly, ending with Main hitting the bar with a clever lob. The U’s then started to make substitutions, changing five players in a ten minute spell and, having already replaced Burgess, the visitors then changed the rest of their outfield line-up.

The match didn’t have the feel of a mid-July friendly with the pace barely dropping and both sides looking for the win, although it was the full-timers who were getting on top in the last 25 minutes and they started to create some good openings. Craig Dundas made a good block from Widdrington after Worner had failed to gather a free-kick from the right  and Baker put a free-kick narrowly wide from 25 yards before seeing Worner keep out another effort with his legs. A goal felt inevitable but the U’s were slightly aggrieved when it came, feeling Hunt was offside before winning a free-kick on the edge of the box and they were still arguing when the kick was taken swiftly and Baker crossed low for Oxlade-Chamberlain to score from 6 yards.  Despite some scares at the other end, it was the U’s who came closest to another goal; Kevin Amankwaah’s run and cross almost resulting in Bass fumbling the ball over his own line.


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