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Sutton United 4-1 Kingstonian

Kingstonian travelled to Gander Green Lane seeking to avenge their three-one defeat in the Surrey Cup ten days before, but managed only to emphasize the chasm between a stylish Sutton side and themselves.

Youngsters Aaron Gilbert and Vidal Graham were paired together up front for the first time as Stafford Browne stepped down, whilst Matt Elverson pulled on the number eleven shirt - although any thoughts of him making a cameo on the wing were dashed when he lined up in his usual centre-back position.

The visitors made an encouraging start and indeed might have taken the lead after just two minutes. Graham made inroads down the right and won a corner, Anthony Savage swung it into the middle where Jermaine Hinds connected, but his header wasn't powerful enough to beat Andy Iga.

The lead then should have been claimed by the County Cup finalists after just ten minutes, but Matt Fowler totally missed his kick from the edge of the box when a left-wing corner was only half cleared. The next corner saw Craig Lewington hack the ball away from close-in, only for the ball to rebound goalwards once more. Lance Key managed to get a hand to it though and kept it out.

Claims for a Sutton penalty were rejected when Jasper Nielsen sprinted onto a long pass from Paul Honey. Elverson had moved over to challenge, and when the ball bounced up it certainly appeared to strike something other than his chest, but the referee waved away the protests.

The opening goal arrived on sixteen minutes, and highlighted the current deficiencies in the K's defence. Eddie Akuamoah played a long ball down the left wing for Jon Nurse to run onto, Hinds moved across to challenge, but one tap of Nurse's shoulder sent the defender literally flying into the air, allowing Nurse's pull back to be planted home by Matt Fowler.

Things should have been made worse shortly after when another raid down the Sutton left saw Key and Nick Bailey compete for a loose ball. Neither got a telling touch and the ball ran loose to Nurse, but his left-footed shot went well wide of an open goal.

Graham had the best two chances of the half for K's, but Iga was equal to the first - saving low down after Gilbert had intercepted a Sutton free-kick - and the second saw the ball fired into the side netting after good play from Lewington.

Ten minutes remained in the half when the home side's lead was doubled. A goal-kick from Key was headed straight back downfield by Tony Quinton, Hinds decided to allow the ball to run and Nurse nipped in to shoot home with his left foot.

A two goal lead certainly didn't flatter Sutton, but K's were back in the game within two minutes of the restart. A free-kick in from the right saw the ball reach Mark Beard on the edge of the area, and his shot went in via a wicked deflection off Bailey.

By this time both Browne and Martyn Williams had been introduced, and the visitors were enjoying the lion's share of the possession. The two substitutes combined well on 65 minutes when the latter played in the former - helped by a flick-on from Beard - only for Browne to shoot over from close in.

The game was effectively killed off though when Sutton scored their third, but it was a goal that will live long in the memory. Substitute Glenn Boosey had been on the field for just two minutes when he picked up the ball just inside his own half. Thirty seconds later four K's defenders had been beaten and the ball had been calmly slotted past Lance Key for a quite superb individual goal.

Three became four just a few minutes later as Sutton threatened to totally embarrass their near neighbours. Tobi Jinadu played a quick free-kick square to Ryan Palmer, who sent a long ball into the K's area. There rose Matt Gray to send a header over the stranded Key and to secure Sutton's third derby victory of an impressive season for the U's.

The match ended after Mark Beard had failed to connect with a cross from Browne, and after the captain, Savage and Lewington had picked up cautions after allowing their frustrations to get the better of them. Sutton were by far and away the better side in this match, but for K's this season really cannot end quickly enough.

Sat 10th Apr 2004
Gander Green Lane
Isthmian League Premier
Sutton United4
1Lance Key
2Stuart Booth
3Anthony SavageCautioned
4Jason O'Connor16
5Max Hustwick
6Jermaine Hinds
7Craig LewingtonCautioned
8Mark BeardCautioned
9Aaron Gilbert
10Vidal Graham15
11Matt Elverson
12Scott Steele
14Bashiru Alimi
15Martyn Williams10
16Stafford Browne4
Match Report By
Gary Ekins