Sutton United in Lockdown

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Sutton United in Lockdown
The Lockdown has been a social necessity, but it came at a crucial time for Sutton United. Tony Dolbear explains why.

As with all other clubs in the country, the suspension of football in March left everyone involved with Sutton United wondering what might happen next. The club started the season with a new manager, Matt Gray, taking over after the long and successful reign of Paul Doswell. A bright start to the season had been followed by a bad run during October, which saw U’s knocked out of the FA Cup in the 4th qualifying round and drop in to the National League’s relegation zone, but the season turned around again in November after a fine win at high-flying Torquay, since when U’s have lost just three times in the league. Their Christmas form was especially impressive, with four wins on the trot including victory over promotion chasing Yeovil in front of the BT cameras, and a double over Surrey rivals Woking, against whom they won 6-2 at Sutton having scored five in the first half.

That run saw U’s up to a mid-table position, and while in theory the U’s needed one more win to guarantee their place in the division next season, and would have had to go to the end of the season with virtually a 100% winning record to threaten the play-offs, some exciting attacking performances had supporters looking forward to the last six weeks of the season.

There was particular frustration for defender Ben Goodliffe, one of a number of players signed during the summer, whose performances had seen him selected for the England C squad to face Wales in Caernarfon at the end of March, a game which was inevitably cancelled.

The frustration was also felt by the club’s increasingly successful women’s section, with the senior women’s side having enjoyed a fine debut season in the Premier Division of the Greater London Women’s League and beating Crystal Palace in the last game played at Gander Green Lane before the shutdown to reach the final of the Capital Women’s Cup, w here they were due to face their rivals in the league championship race, New London Lionesses, on April 26th.

Sutton United encourages all fans & supporters to follow government guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic. For updates relating to SU fixtures, check out their social media channels on Facebook and Twitter. In the meantime, you can learn all about SU’s colourful history and visit their Hall of Fame on their website – check out https://www.suttonunited.net