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  • Writer's pictureBy Dan Evans

Bugiel brace leaves Sutton dreaming of a Wembley return

Sutton United (1) 3 Bugiel 40, 47 Angol 88

Crawley Town (0) 0

Sutton United continued their wonderful recent form in League Two with an Omar Bugiel-inspired 3-0 win against Crawley Town at the VBS Community Stadium.

A towering header and an otherworldly volley were somehow only Bugiel’s fourth and fifth strikes of the season, and they were just reward for another strong performance from a side that is now unbeaten in eight and just two points shy of the play-off spots.

A late Lee Angol strike was a just reward for their dominance.

Given how well their first season in league football went last term, missing out on the top seven by a single point and visiting Wembley for the Papa John’s Trophy final, Matt Gray’s men are now well-positioned to make the sequel even more memorable.

Although they took their time to get going against a woefully out-of-form opponent, they wrestled their way in front before the break and were playing some exceptional football by the end of the evening.

The visitors, who handed a first start to former Crystal Palace midfielder Jordan Mutch, started with a defensive resolve that belied their lowly league position of 23rd.

Although Mutch was only involved fleetingly, counter-attacks down the flanks ensured Sutton had little room for complacency.

A defence that has conceded just four goals in the last six games showed few signs of creaking though, and Sutton’s forward line soon began to have an influence on proceedings.

Matt Dennis, who is still searching for a first goal in Sutton colours since arriving in January, wasted the best chance of the opening quarter when he flashed a shot across the face of goal on twenty minutes.

Although the game remained scrappy for the remainder of the first half, the U’s continued to gain more and more control.

The pressure eventually told when Bugiel expertly steered a header into the bottom corner from a delightful David Ajiboye cross.

Crawley tested Jack Rose for the first time just before the interval, but the ‘keeper was well positioned to hold Ashley Nadesan’s stabbed effort.

Given how long it took the first half to come to life, supporters of both sides could have been forgiven for taking their time collecting their half-time refreshments, but those who did missed one of the goals of the season across any division.

After determined work form first Dennis and then Alistair Smith saw the ball bounce loose in the Crawley box, Bugiel reacted brilliantly to pick out the top corner with a back-heeled volley.

It was the sort of goal you rarely see in League Two but regularly pops up in goal of the season competitions.

With Gray continuing to roar from the touchline despite the dominance of his team, it was little surprise that the play-off chasers continued to make all of the running, confidence now understandably sky high.

Bugiel almost had a hat-trick before the hour mark, but his near-post strike surprisingly offered Corey Addai an opportunity to save, and he obliged.

Sutton seemed well aware that tougher tests are waiting down the line if they are to make their promotion dreams a reality, sacrificing attacking threat for even greater control.

Bugiel was withdrawn with 15 minutes to play in the clearest sign that Gray was happy with his lot. The striker’s hopes of a first football league treble put on hold until the weekend at least.

A second yellow card for Crawley defender Joel Lynch was the final confirmation that a comeback that never looked on the cards was not going to materialise.

A final flourish from substitute Angol as he raced clear and slotted home was further proof that questioning the judgement of Gray will become near-on impossible if Sutton continue on their current trajectory.

Sutton: (4-4-2) Rose – Kizzi, Goodliffe, Rowe, Milsom – Ajiboye (Beautyman 90), Eastmond, Smith, Randall (Kouassi 75)– Dennis (Angol 66), Bugiel (Boldewijn 75). Subs not used: House, Hart, Lovatt

Crawley: (4-2-3-1) Addai – Gordon, Johnson (Fellows 72), Lynch, Mason (Ogungbo 58)– Conroy, Powell (Roles 50) – Mutch (Tilley 58), Telford, Oteh – Nadesan. Subs not used: Schofield, Francillette, Khaleel


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