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Match Previews

🔍 Opposition: Sutton United (H)

Jed Penberthy's in-depth look at the Yellows.

16 September 2021

Newly promoted to the Football League- the first time in their history- Sutton United travel to St James Park for the inaugural occasion.

Ahead of the game, here’s a lowdown of the EFL newcomers.

  • 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 Green shirt with white sleeves, navy shorts and socks
  • Form: DLWWW (15th 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.

The ancient South London borough was first recorded in the Doomsday Book in 1086 and became part of Greater London in 1965. It is home to the Royal Marsend Hospital and the Institute of Cancer Research, where there are plans to create the world's second biggest cancer research campus.

SUTTON TOWN.jpg

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. 

It hasn’t gotten off to an ideal start though from the U’s, they only picked up their first league win of the campaign on Saturday with victory over ten-man Stevenage.

Manager

Matt Gray

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.

Matt Gray.jpg

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.

Stadium

  • Name: Borough Sports Ground (Gander Green Lane)
  • 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.

GANDERGREEN.jpg

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.

One to Watch

Harry Beautyman fired the U’s into the Football League chipping in with 11 goals from Midfield last season. The playmaker has made 125 appearences for Sutton since joining from Stevenage in 2018.

HBeautyman.jpg

Born in London, Beautyman was a key cog in the Leyton Orient youth set-up but failed to register a senior appearance for the U’s. Loans to St Alban’s and Hastings bridge his first move to Gander Green Lane in 2011, where 21 goals in 81 games moved him to Welling.

Whilst at the Bexley club, Beautyman was spotted by Peterborough United, where he initially went on loan, then permanent in 2014/15. He made his league debut against Bristol City in November 2015 and signed permanently the following January.

Spells at Northampton and Stevenage followed before dropping back into non-league with Sutton and being the engine to drag the Amber and Chocolate club to League Two.

Head to head

When Sutton come to St James Park on September 18, 2021 will mark the first ever competitive meeting between the sides.

Sutton’s Last Game

Sutton United 1 Hartlepool United 0 | Sky Bet League Two | September 14, 2021

And finally…

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.     

  


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