Stevenage Football Club fall short in the Round of 32 of the Papa John’s Trophy as Sutton United come out on top in a penalty shoot-out…
In his first game since being appointed as manager on Sunday, Paul Tisdale made eight changes to the side that pulled off a 2-2 draw in Rochdale last week, with some key players rested ahead of the upcoming FA Cup clash with Yeovil.
Boro elected to play with a midfield diamond of Chris Lines, Jake Taylor, Jack Smith and Arthur Read, a mixture of youth and experience. In front of the four was the strike partnership of Luke Norris and James Daly.
It was the hosts who earned themselves the first chance of the game as Richie Bennett picked up the ball just outside the Stevenage area, before firing low and wide past the post after eight minutes.
The opening twenty minutes of the game consisted of very little chances from either side, with both attempting to work out the opposition’s tactics. That was until moments later when Jake Taylor took aim from the eighteen-yard line, forcing Brad House to get down and deny, resulting in the first shot on target.
Soon after, Stevenage won a corner with Chris Lines ready to take. His cross fell to the feet of Ross Marshall whose effort went high over the bar for a goal-kick despite many shouts for a second corner.
After the half hour mark, Sutton had a few free kicks from just outside the Stevenage box, but they all went up and over the stand behind the goal which seated the travelling Boro support.
Just before the half time interval, Sutton looked to open the scoring as Ricky Korboa’s low driven effort was aimed at Anang in goal, but the keeper got down quickly to prevent a goal. Overall, the first half was end to end with little for either side to get too excited about.
Just a couple minutes into the second half there was a stoppage in play as Brad Barry collided with Ben Wyatt, with both players requiring treatment. Sutton were forced to make a substitution whilst Barry remained on the pitch.
Stevenage were keen to break the deadlock as a well worked out passing move resulted in Arthur Read taking aim at the Sutton goal before being denied. Similarly, a nice passage of build-up play moments later ended up in the Sutton Area but Luke Norris fired straight at Brad House in goal.
With just over an hour of football played, Stevenage made their first substitutions of the game as Jamie Reid and Elliot Osborne replaced James Daly and Jack Smith respectively.
Following Reid and Osborne was a trio of subs as Elliott List, Jake Reeves and Luther James-Wildin all came on in an attempt to progress to the Round of Sixteen.
Ross Marshall found his name in the referee’s book with ten minutes to go after fouling his man on the counterattack. The resulting free kick was whipped in at the back post with the ball going out for a corner which led to nothing.
Elliott List’s pace seemed to be an issue for the Sutton defence as balls over the top seemed to be the way forward for Boro. After List got on the end of one of those dangerous passes, he played it into the box before the ball rolled out the area to Luther James’ Wildin, whose looming ball caused trouble for the Sutton keeper.
The fourth official held up six minutes at the end of the initial ninety as both sides looked desperate for that crucial goal. With minimal time left, Boro had one last chance at goal as a long ball over the top found Luke Norris who crossed it to Jamie Reid, but the forward headed wide.
Then, the referee blew his whistle to put an end to a rather slow ninety minutes of football. The game would then be decided by a penalty shoot-out.
It was Sutton to take first in front of the Stevenage supporters, as Yellows’ captain Craig Eastmond slotted home. Luke Norris was first to take for Stevenage as he fired with power into the back of the net.
Following on from that, Kenny Davis stepped up and calmly placed the ball past Anang before Jake Reeves made it two apiece. Then, Milsom and Reid scored to continue the 100% success rate.
That success rate soon came to an end as Ricky Korboa blasted over before Elliott List’s penalty was saved. Joseph Anang then comfortably saved Olaofe’s penalty with Luther James-Wildin also missing from the spot. Four missed penalties in a row led to the score being 3-3 going into sudden death.
It was Ben Goodliffe to step up for the South London club, hitting the back of the net with ease. Elliot Osborne had the pressure of taking a ‘must-score’ penalty. The midfielder aimed for the right-hand side of the goal but was denied by Dean Bouzanis, sending Matt Gray’s side into the Round of Sixteen.
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