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Match Reports

Notts 1-1 Sutton

Thomas strike cancelled out as we share the points

7 December 2019

We drew 1-1 with Sutton United in front of over 5,600 supporters at Meadow Lane on Saturday afternoon.

Wes Thomas gave us a deserved lead after 14 minutes, turning home a low cross from Enzio Boldewijn, and we kept the visitors at arms-length for much of the opening 45.

The game struggled to get going in the second half, with much of the contest played out in midfield, but, inside the final 15, the U's levelled through Harry Beautyman, who also scored in our meeting earlier this season.

Neal Ardley selected the same XI that started against Boreham Wood in our last home game. That meant there was just one change from our Emirates FA Cup loss at Northampton, with Regan Booty dropping to the bench as Sean Shields returned on the left side of midfield.

Seconds after Sutton striker Omar Bugiel had shown good speed and strength on the right flank before shooting wide, it was the incoming winger who claimed the game's first effort on target, but Nikola Tsanev was able to hold onto his seventh-minute strike from the edge of the box.

Moments later, a Mitch Rose long throw dropped kindly for Richard Brindley just outside the area and he caught the ball well on the volley, but it deflected wide off Kyle Wootton.

Rose himself had the chance to open the scoring with 13 played, but he fired wide after Michael Doyle had teed him up on the edge of the area following Shields' free-kick.

But we did take the lead inside the opening quarter of an hour, when Thomas clinically converted our next opening. 

Ben Turner's long ball forward was headed into Boldewijn's path by a Sutton defender and the Dutchman drove at Ben Wyatt, forcing him to back-pedal into his own area. The winger had him guessing which way he'd go before he chose to take the full back on around the outside and drove a low ball across the six-yard box, which Thomas turned home for his eighth of the campaign.

Beautyman drove a free-kick into the wall and David Ajiboye saw a couple of dangerous crossed cleared to safety as we denied the U's an immediate response. 

After weathering the brief storm, we went in pursuit of a second as we worked the ball around neatly in midfield before Boldewijn released Brindley on the right wing. He whipped a cross into Thomas at the front post, who flicked goalwards on the volley but Tsanev made the save low to his left.

A spate of knocks affected the pace of the game, and it wasn't until the 36th minute that the next opening came, when we struggled to clear our lines and a miscued Boldewijn header presented Sutton with possession on the edge of our area. They worked it to Beautyman, but his 20-yard shot was easily saved by Sam Slocombe. 

Ajiboye blazed over following Rose's excellent sliding challenge on Beautyman, as we continued to restrict the visitors to efforts from distance.

Three minutes were added on for stoppages, during which Shields' deep-free kick just evaded Turner at the back post and Kyel Reid's low 20-yard shot was comfortably held by Slocombe, before the referee called time on the opening period.

The sides reemerged unchanged but an injury to Louis John quickly slowed the tempo of the half and it became a stop-start affair.

The Sutton defender was fit to carry on and his next involvement was to pick up a yellow card for hauling down Wootton on the edge of the area. Damien McCrory stepped up to try and double our lead, but whipped his effort narrowly off target.

Shields was forced off with an injury on 73 minutes and Booty came on in his place.

His first involvement was to whip a corner into Connell Rawlinson, whose glancing header went just wide of the far post.

The near-miss seemed to spark the visitors into life and Tommy Wright beat Slocombe to a ball over the top before crossing to the back post, where Brindley made an important intervention. 

That proved to be only a temporary let-off, however, as a high ball into our area wasn't dealt with and it broke for Beautyman, who finished well from a tight angle with 76 on the clock.

Kristian Dennis replaced Thomas three minutes later, but Sutton were next to go close when skipper Craig Eastmond picked up a loose ball and dropped his shoulder to work space for a shot from the edge - he dragged it narrowly wide.

Booty's free-kick was pushed away by Tsanev, but Doyle drove it back in on the volley and forced the keeper into an alert save as both sides chased a winner, and Rose was booked for a foul on Eastmond 30 yards from goal - the free-kick came to nothing. 

Four minutes were added on for either side to turn one point into three, during which Booty fired over a set piece from just outside the box as the teams shared the spoils.


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