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Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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27 February 2024 Venue Meadow Lane Attendance

Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Reports

Report: Notts 3-4 Sutton

Defeat at Meadow Lane

27 February 2024

Sutton United emerged victorious on a difficult night at Meadow Lane.

We had thrice clawed ourselves level thanks to Macaulay Langstaff (pen) and Dan Crowley (2), but we were unable to respond to Charlie Lakin's penalty as Sutton took the points.

Stuart Maynard redeployed a back three for this one, with Kyle Cameron, Aden Baldwin and Jaden Warner providing the last line of defence for goalkeeper Luca Ashby-Hammond.

Ahead of them, Jim O’Brien partnered Scott Robertson at the base of a box midfield which also contained the more advanced Sam Austin and Crowley.

Up front, Langstaff was hoping to get on the end of crosses from wing backs Jodi Jones and Aaron Nemane.

Having conceded an early goal at home to Crewe Alexandra days earlier we’ll have come into the game determined to start on the front foot but those plans were pushed aside on six minutes as a cross from the left was turned home from close range at the back post by Ryan Jackson.

Our response came a minute after the restart as Nemane worked Crowley into the area and watched on as the half-chance was snuffed out by Sutton keeper Steve Arnold.

Four minutes later, Langstaff came within inches of turning home Austin’s floated cross from six yards, the ball just flying past him – but he only had to wait another two minutes to score his 23rd league goal of the season.

It came from the spot after the number-nine had seen a shot blocked by a sprawling defender’s arm – and the finish was emphatic as he sent the ball high and hard beyond Arnold from 12 yards.

We looked destined to take control of the game from there but, three minutes later, Baldwin underhit his backpass which allowed Harry Smith to take the ball into our area and slide it past Ashby-Hammond.

Jones tried his luck with a volleyed effort which was pushed over by the keeper – and then a big moment passed us by as Robertson played Langstaff through on goal, only for Ben Goodliffe to show excellent recovery pace to put the forward off at the crucial moment, with his shot flying high over the bar.

Again, though, our frustration was short-lived as we carved out an equaliser on 33 minutes. It came from yet another Jones cross, which was met by a perfectly-judged looping header by Crowley which nestled in the far corner.

That proved the catalyst for a one-way end to the half as Crowley sent a shot over, Arnold made an instinctive save from Jones and Nemane had an effort blocked before the whistle went.

Shortly before the interval, Warner had made way for Connell Rawlinson due to injury – but Maynard sent the same side out for what was a big second half in the context of both team’s seasons.

We resumed control of the game but it took until the hour to create our first clear-cut chance of the half – and it resulted in an outstanding save from Arnold, who managed to claw Austin’s back-post header out of his net from Jones’ dangerous cross.

But it was the opposite goal that was breached next as Ashby-Hammond’s save from Smith’s effort rebounded to Craig Eastmond, whose shot was blocked by Cameron. The ball ran for Oliver Sanderson, though, and it was a simple finish.

Again, we were able to summon a quick response - and it was more excellent play from Crowley to unlock the door as he played a tight one-two with Robertson, jinked past a man and stroked the ball into the bottom corner from range.

But the topsy-turvy nature of the game continued and, after Sam Hart had missed a golden opportunity in the form of a free header at the back post, we found ourselves behind again as Crowley tripped Lakin in the area and could only watch on as the same player scored from the spot.

With 13 minutes of normal time remaining, and then another six minutes added on, there was still time to haul ourselves back into the game once more.

But we were unable to find another goal as the visitors claimed three big points to aid their battle against relegation.

STARTING XI: Ashby-Hammond; Cameron, Baldwin, Warner (Rawlinson 44'); Jones, Nemane; Robertson, O'Brien (Bostock 71'), Austin (Jatta 71'), Crowley; Langstaff

UNUSED SUBS: Slocombe, Chicksen, Macari, Colkett

BOOKINGS: O'Brien 68'

ATTENDANCE: 7,776 (113)

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