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Hemel Hempstead Town (H)
Wed Apr 17

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Hemel Hempstead Town (H)
Wed Apr 17 14:00
The National League U19 Alliance

Hogmanay Horror!

Slough Town

Slough Town

Donnellan (47)
Sutton United

Sutton United

Dennis (67), Barnes (71)
League Attendance: 1104 Sean Lahiff
Missed chances spelled disaster for Slough who registered their fourth Vauxhall Conference defeat in five matches when going down 2-1 to Sutton at Wexham Park on New Year's Day. A superbly struck goal from 18 yards by Gary Donnellan two minutes into the second half looked enough to have tipped the game in favour of the Rebels after they had failed to make the most of a following wind in the first.

But the Rebels, reorganised in midfield to deal with the big and boisterous Surrey side, were caught on the hop by two moves in which they were unable to contain Sutton's two quick strikers, Lenny Dennis and Andy Barnes.

Dennis, a former Rebel, did the damage against his old club in the 67th, screaming in at the far post to tuck home the equaliser from a welly planted free kick. Four minutes later Barnes handed another lesson in fishing when he slid onto a cross from the right to outwit the defence.

Sutton always had more fire-power up front and but for some special keeping from Aussie Sean Lahiff might have won by the same kind of margin they had at Gander Green Lane on Boxing Day. Lahiff had some problems kicking upwind in the second half; but otherwise did not put a foot wrong all afternoon. The goals he conceded were top notch Conference quality which spoke more for the U's crackerjack attack than the Rebels' generally sound defence.

Perhaps moving Mark Mallinson into the midfield and switching Donnellan to the right back position was overcaution on the part of Rebel boss Alan Davies. Mallinson lacked the technical ability while Donnellan proved his worth when boring forward on goal. Davies also brought Tony Dell into the side to add some bluster and he did not disappoint in his personal duel with England squad midfielder Paul Rogers.

Sutton's edge was personified by striker Paul McKinnon who did not hesitate to rain shots in on Lahiff from a variety of ranges whenever the fancy took him. The Rebels, by contrast, lacked the same immediacy and the element of surprise was often lost as they tried to make sure of their opportunities.

Even the goal was messy, Langley doing well to hook the ball over his shoulder into the box where eventually Steve Thompson laid it back for Donnellan to unleash. a fierce volley. When Lahiff denied a goalbound header from Barnes two minutes later the Rebels seemed all set for victory.

Dell delivered a wonderful through ball which dropped perfectly over the defence but Thompson attempted to round the keeper before shooting and Gwyn Berry had time to get to the line to keep it out.

Jon Sissons was below his recent good form but had two chances to score when Gary McCann fumbled a cross and Dell was properly placed to receive a cross from the left but sidefooted wide of the mark. Davies brought on Neal Stanley and Barry Rake in a double substitution for Langley and Sissons, but Sutton were not to be denied their Yuletide double.

Frustration spilled over when Darren Anderson collected a booking for ploughing into the back of Dennis in the 87th minute. An exciting game with the sides swapping punch for punch saw the Rebels begin the New Year as they ended the old, in defeat.

Sutton United Lineup

McCann, Gates, Berry, Costello, Golley, Rogers, Rains, Barnes, Dennis, McKinnon, Dawson. Subs Hopkins, Jankins.


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