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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

2-3
21 October 2023 Venue VBS Community Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

Match Preview | Sutton United (A)

20 October 2023

The Shrimps return to Sky Bet League Two action following the international break with a trip to Sutton United.

Derek Adams’ side registered successive 3-1 wins in their previous two fixtures. Firstly, a JJ McKiernan hat-trick brushed aside Colchester United before a dominant performance over Barrow AFC in the EFL Trophy saw Charlie Brown, Cameron Rooney and Cammy Smith all register their first goals for the Shrimps.

The U’s travelled to Doncaster Rovers in their last outing and left empty handed after falling to a 4-1 defeat. The home side scored four before Harry Smith registered a 99th minute consolation.

During the two previous meetings, which came during the 1999/2000 season, the Shrimps came out on top in both fixtures; a 6-2 win at Christie Park was followed by a 1-0 away from home.

The Opposition 

Since their first ever promotion to the EFL in 2020/21, United have enjoyed comfortable finishes season on season. Their first campaign back ended in an 8th place finish, missing out on a play-off place to Mansfield Town by just one point. Last season, they finished 14thwith 15 wins, 13 draws and 18 defeats.

It's been a challenging campaign to date for Sutton this time round. After 13 games played, they currently sit bottom of the League Two table with just two wins, one draw and 10 defeats. One of their two victories came on the opening day; an impressive 5-1 win over current second place Notts County.

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Manager Matt Gray has been in charge since 1 May 2019, having previously spent time as Assistant Manager with the club following a stint in the same position at Crawley Town. 

After 207 games, the 41-year-old holds an average points-per-game total of 1.52 with 89 wins, 47 draws and 71 defeats.

He also guided the club to the EFL Trophy final in 2022, where they ultimately lost by four goals to two against Rotherham United after extra time.

Key Players

Harry Smith is currently the U’s’ top scorer with six goals in all competitions. The 28-year-old has played the majority of his football in England aside from a four-month loan spell north of the border with Motherwell. In 216 professional appearances, Smith has netted 56 times.  

Last season, defender Joe Kizzi enjoyed a strong campaign and ended up scooping the Players’ Player and Supporters’ Player of the Year awards, on the same day he made his 100th appearance for the club. The 30-year-old spent his career in non-league with the likes of Billericay and Bromley before arriving at the VBS Community Stadium in July 2021.

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Midfielder Josh Coley has proven a key player in Sutton’s attacking play so far this campaign with five assists in all competitions to date. The 25-year-old has 42 League Two appearances under his belt and nine in League Two having spent time at Exeter City and Harrogate Town respectively.

Matt Gray’s Pre-Match Thoughts

Ahead of Saturday’s meeting, Gray highlighted why he expects a tough game.

“They’ve got an experienced manager who’s been promoted out of this league, he knows what it takes to go and get results,” he said.

“Five wins, three draws and three defeats is a very steady and good start for them after coming down from League One.

“They’ve got good players, they freshen their squad up a bit, they’ve certainly got threats and, like we all know, it’s another tough game for us.”

Team News

James Connolly misses out through suspension after picking up a red card in our last outing at Colchester United.

Jake Taylor remains side-lined through injury with Eli King still unavailable.

Following international duty, JJ McKiernan, Jacob Bedeau and Michael Mellon are all available to feature.

Meet The Officials 

Neil Hair will take charge of Saturday’s fixture alongside assistants Sam Ogles, Sian Massey-Ellis and fourth official Stuart Kane.

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Hair has taken charge of five games so far this season; one in League Two, three in League One and one in the EFL Trophy. In those games, he’s issued a total of 22 yellow cards and no red cards. 

The official last refereed the Shrimps back in November 2020 where we lost 2-1 away at Salford City.

Listen Live! 

Saturday’s trip to the capital will be available to listen on iFollow Shrimps with an audio match pass for just £2.50.

Click the banner below for more information.

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Match Reports

Report | Sutton United 2 Morecambe 3

21 October 2023

The Shrimps make it three wins from three away from home thanks to Joel Senior’s dramatic injury time winner.

We were ahead at the interval thanks to goals from Michael Mellon and Adam Mayor before Harry Smith pulled one back just before the break.

The U's equalised on 62 minutes after Ben Goodliffe found the back of the net, though Joel Senior's incredible 91st minute strike from distance secured all three points.

An early chance for the hosts saw Christian N’Guessan whip in a corner which was met by a United man, Stu Moore was equal to the header with a comfortable save down to his left.

The Shrimps responded with a speedy counter-attack as Tom Bloxham broke down the right, his resulting cross looked to pick out a red shirt in the middle but was ultimately cut out by a Sutton defender.

Two pieces of Stu Moore brilliance in the 12th minute kept the scores level; firstly, a strong wrist was required to keep Sutton at bay before a Shrimps’ looping defensive header was vitally clawed away.

Mellon came close to breaking the deadlock on 23 minutes. An excellent cross field ball from Jordan Slew found Bloxham, who played a one-two with Joel Senior before finding the head of the Burnley loanee whose effort sailed narrowly wide.

Three minutes later, the U’s responded with a counter of their own; the ball worked toward Smith who looked to curl one, though the strike was lacking power and placement.

At the other end, hesitation from Bouzanis presented Mellon with a one-on-one effort at point-blank range, though the home ‘keeper made amends with a vital block.

The Shrimps were awarded a penalty on 29 minutes after Jacob Bedeau was pulled down in the box by Goodliffe. Mellon stepped up and made no mistake from 12-yards with a cool finish into the top-right corner.

Mayor doubled our advantage in the second minute of first half added time following a blistering counter-attack. David Tutonda cleared the danger at the back, Bloxham latched onto the clearance and broke forward before picking up Mayor in the middle who was able to pick out the bottom corner.  

In the dying seconds of the first half, the hosts pulled one back after Smith was in the right place at the right time to head an attempted shot beyond Moore and into the back of the net.

Half-time: Sutton United 1 Morecambe 2

Four minutes into the second half, United were presented with a half chance as Dion Pereira, fresh from the bench, cut in from the left and looked for the top corner, though he failed to find the target.

Moments later, Pereira again looked dangerous after controlling an aerial ball with a deft touch, his attempted cross took a deflection from Senior which allowed Adam Smith to collect.

The U’s levelled proceedings just after the hour mark through Goodliffe who found time and space in the box, he pulled the trigger on the turn to equalise from close range. 

The Shrimps thought they had a penalty on 76 minutes after Mellon looked to be tripped in the box under pressure from a Sutton defender, but the referee waved away protests and pointed for a goal kick.

With just over ten minutes of normal time to play, Pereira once more managed to cut inside from the left and produce a shot which took a deflection and rolled behind for a corner. 

As the clock ticked over to the 90th minute, JJ McKiernan saw a stinging attempt blocked at close range. 

After continuing to knock on the door, it paid off for Morecambe in the 92nd minute. Defender Senior picked up possession and advanced forward under no pressure, he struck from distance and found the bottom-right corner.

Full-time: Sutton United 2 Morecambe 3

Sutton United: Bouzanis, Sowunmi, Goodliffe ©, Coley (Fadahunsi, 90+3’), N’Guessan, Smith, Patrick (Pereira, HT), Clay, Kizzi, O’Brien (Beautyman, 90+2’), Hart (Milsom, 90+6’).

Subs not used: Arnold, John, Jackson.

Goals: Smith (45+4’), Goodliffe (62’).

Bookings: Coley.

Red cards: None.

Morecambe: Moore (A Smith, HT), Love ©, Tutonda, Bedeau (Stokes, 82’), Rawson (Songo’o, HT), Bloxham, Mellon, McKiernan, Mayor, Senior, Slew (Davenport, 75’).

Subs not used: C Smith, Walker, Brown.

Goals: Mellon (30’), Mayor (45+2’), Senior (90+1’).

Bookings: Tutonda, Love.

Red cards: None.

Attendance: 2,603 (176 away).

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