City make the first ever trip to Gander Green Lane on New Years Day as the Grecians look to kick off 2022 with a bang.
Ahead of the game, here’s a lowdown of the London side.
- Founded: 1898
- Nickname: The U’s, The Amber and Chocolates, The Yellows
- Honours: National League (2020/21), National League South (2015/16), Anglo-Italian Cup (1979)
- Home Kit: MACRON Yellow shirts with chocolate brown sleeves, Yellow shorts and socks/
- Away Kit: MACRON Navy blue shirt with white sleeves, navy shorts and socks
- Form: WWLDW (4th in League Two)
Formed in May 1898, Sutton United retained the colours of Sutton Association when the club amalgamated with Sutton Guild Rovers to create the modern club we see today. By 1902, The amber and chocolate kitted club earned their first honour, winning the Herald Junior Cup- the first of three successive triumphs.
In 1910, Sutton assumed senior status and joined the Southern Suburban League and gained use of Gander Green Lane- the ground still in use today. Throughout the 20th Century, the trophies continued to flood the cabinet at the “Borough Sports Ground” with the Surrey Senior Shield and the first of fifteen Surrey Senior Cups. In 1946 United reached the First Round Proper of the F.A Cup for the first time, after multiple appearances in the semis of the F.A Amateur Cup. By 1963 they reached Wembley for the inaugural occasion, in the final of that same competition.
In ’69, Sutton gained national acclaim, drawing Leeds United in the 4th Round of the Cup, earning a record 14,000 attendance- yet to be topped today. In more contemporary times, Sutton have been knocking on the door of the Football League for a while and last year finally broke through to the EFL.
A wonderful season was capped off with a win over fellow promoted side Hartlepool which secured the fact that the U’s will be playing League football for the first time in the club’s history. The consequence of promotion required Gander Green Lane to be fitted with a grass pitch rather than the 3G Astroturf used in recent years, but its just water off a duck’s back given the magnitude of their debut season as a Top 92 English club.
Since we last met Sutton United, the U’s have elevated from 23rd up to a staggering 4th going into 2022. A remarkable achievement for the EFL newcomers.
Matt Gray is the General of the Sutton Army. Appointed manager in May 2019 after the departure of Paul Doswell, he originally joined the coaching staff in December 2018 having previously had spells as assistant manager in the National League at Eastleigh, and in League Two with Aldershot and Crawley.
As a player he began his career with Tottenham Hotspur and played for Cardiff City, Hayes and Havant & Waterlooville before forced to retire early through injury. When he’s not guiding the U’s to history, Gray is a keen Golfer and a member of two luxury clubs in Barnet and Kent.
- Name: VBS Community Stadium
- Capacity: 5,032
- Year Opened: 1912
- Record Attendance: 14,000 (vs Leeds United, FA Cup 1970)
- Address: Gander Green Lane, Sutton, Surrey, SM1 2EY
Officially known as the Borough Sports Ground, the most commonly named Gander Green Lane has been home to Sutton United since the club’s formation. During the 19th century it was a field of allotments before its redevelopment into a football ground.
In the 1980s, two small wooden stands were replaced by a covered standing terrace, known as the "Rec Terrace". A small remnant of one of the original wooden stands remained for nearly 40 years, next to the Rec Terrace, and was known by Sutton supporters as the "Shoebox.”
After Sutton’s promotion to the EFL, ground requirements meant for the artificial pitch to be replaced and the Shoebox demolished for a new away end to be installed, limiting tickets for City fans this weekend.
At the start of the season, Sutton joined forces with Vulcan Building Services to gain naming rights to Gander Green Lane.
One to Watch
Coming in from the right, David Ajiboye offers one of many threats to City’s goal on Saturday. Six strikes to his name joint leads the way at the top of the scoring list with Donovan Wilson.
The former Brighton U18 signed from Worthing FC in 2019 and has been an integral part of Matt Gray’s plans so far at the Borough Sports Ground. Three goals in his last four games finds the number 7 in great form and with a couple of assists too to his name, the United winger will have all eyes on him to deliver the goods.
Exeter City 2 Sutton United 0 | Sky Bet League Two | St James Park | September 18. 2021
In the head-to-head it's one game, one win for City. Courtesy of Sam Nombe’s beautiful brace in front of the Big Bank back in September.
Kevin “bigger than a tractor” Amankwaah and Jamie Mackie are among a couple of ex-Grecians to have played for both Sutton and Exeter.
Kevin made over 100 appearences for the U’s and went on to appear in United’s historic fifth round cup run. Jamie scored twice in five matches in a brief loan-spell to Gander Green Lane after he joined the Grecians in 2005, before promptly being recalled and becoming a regular first-teamer at SJP.