Official Match report - source, courtesy Sutton Utd official site LINK
Sutton Utd 0 Truro City 1
Sutton’s hopes of mounting a run towards the Blue Square Bet South play-offs in the closing months of the season received an unexpected blow on Tuesday when they spent long parts of the game on the attack without ever quite giving the impression that they would be able to find a breakthrough, and were left without even a point as a superb free kick from Martin Watts eight minutes from time enabled Truro to make the long trip home with an away win in their pockets.
Despite the Cornish side’s hopeless league position, had they not suffered a ten-point deduction earlier this season they would still be fighting to avoid the drop, and recent results, with the exception of Saturday’s 4-0 defeat at Bromley , and a good record away from home against sides who would be expected to beat them comfortably suggested that U’s wouldn’t find life as easy as the table suggested, and on their second trip to South London in three days they looked some distance from a bottom-of-the-table side, defending well, looking lively on the break, and not flattered by their late winner.
After some high-tempo starts in recent home games Sutton were slow out of the blocks in this one, and Jake Ash twice might have given Truro an early lead, firing just over from a corner and then sending a dipping 20-yard shot just too high. It was ten minutes before U’s made their presence felt, and then they should have been ahead as Harry Ottaway met a fine cross from Michael Boateng with a disappointing header, but Truro countered when a superb crossfield pass from Ash released Barry Hayles, who got the better of Sam Rents inside the penalty area but wasn’t able to beat Tom Lovelock.
Anthony Riviere sliced a shot wide for Sutton after Craig Dundas had guided the ball in to his path on the edge of the penalty area, and just before the half hour it looked as though U’s might be awarded a penalty when Marvin Williams ran on to a pass through the defence and went over as he tried to go round goalkeeper Luke Payne. Referee Carl Fitch wasn’t convinced, though, booking Williams for his tumble and then, seven minutes later, giving out similar punishment to the lively Andy Watkins after he had outpaced Simon Downer before also going down as Lovelock came out. U’s had to make a change just before the break, Riviere injured in trying to get a shot away in the penalty area and Dundas dropping back in to midfield with Williams joining Ottaway in the forward line, but they came close to going in front when Jamie Stuart met a Rents corner with a glancing header that came back off the post.
Although Sutton attacked for most of the second half, for the most part it was a flat performance in front of U’s lowest home league crowd of the season, and although Dundas did threaten to provide the spark that could move it to the next level much of his best work was now done too deep to worry a solid defence. Boateng had Sutton’s best effort, shooting just over after exchanging passes with Ottaway, and Ben Gerring needed to produce a desperate headed clearance to prevent Dundas reaching a Rents corner, but there was always a threat on the break, Watkins almost punishing a mix-up between Downer and Lovelock, and Ash sending a dipping volley just over after Lovelock had punched away a cross.
Ten minutes from time, though, after a promising run by Boateng had been ended on the edge of the penalty area, Truro broke quickly as U’s looked optimistically for a free kick. Marcus Martin led the counter, and when he slipped his pass towards Watkins the striker was checked by Stuart to prevent him reaching the ball. Stuart was booked, and after U’s had made a substitution, throwing Tom Jordan on as a centre-forward, Watts whipped his free kick past the wall and in to the net out of Lovelock’s reach.
He nearly repeated the act two minutes from the end after Downer had tripped Watkins, Lovelock this time down well to his left to make a good save, and Les Afful toe-poked a shot just wide after a defensive mix-up on the edge of the penalty area. When Sutton did get their chance as Jordan was bundled over twenty yards out, Rents sent his free kick harmlessly over and Truro were able to hold out in some comfort for the points.
Truro: L Payne, L Hodges, M Watts, B Gerring, P Kendall, J Ash, C Cooke, M Martin(sub B Williams 88), B Hayles, A Watkins, L Afful Subs n/u C Hall, M Wright, P Hider. Goal: Watts(82). Booked: Martin(31-kicking the ball away), Watkins(36-simulation), Kendall(45-foul).