• By Yann Tear at Gander Green Lane

Sutton fall short for once but let impressive Swindon Town know they were in a game


Sutton United (1) 1 Beautyman pen 39

Swindon Town (2) 2 Reed 17, Williams 31


Sutton fell to only their second home defeat of the season – but played their part in a fine game which was another great advert for League Two.

Their season has so far been pretty miraculous but they could have no complaints about a narrow loss, which in truth should have been more pronounced.

They clawed their way back into the game from 2-0 down with a Harry Beautyman penalty but the lion’s share of chances and possession were Swindon’s.

The club built for fleeting FA Cup glory and a bit of success against disadvantaged opponents on a plastic home pitch has forged a very different persona this season.

Gone is the plastic. Gone is the feeling that replicating great cup runs of the past is the main route to contentment.

They were predicted to be among those fighting for survival at the wrong end of League Two, but instead find themselves emulating the Forest Green and Harrogate Town blueprints, by thriving in their first venture into the Football League.

They are loving every minute of this great adventure.

Saturday’s 1-0 win at Crawley in the Commuter-Belt Derby – thanks to a late winner from Millwall loanee Isaac Olaofe and a Dean Bouzanis penalty save - took them up to fifth place and made it six wins out of seven.

Visiting Swindon, unbeaten on their league travels, arrived one place below, level on points knowing that Gander Green Lane represents a tricky assignment this season. Matt Gray’s men are flushed with ambition.

Yet they themselves look primed for a serious promotion assault. They have the best possession stats in the division. Sutton have the second lowest. And it showed.

The U’s could easily have been dead and buried before half-time, with former Charlton and Wales midfielder Jonny Williams bossing the game.

He won a free-kick from which Louis Reed blasted over the wall and into the corner of the net after 17 minutes and then struck a sumptuous drive from outside the box after half an hour which gave Bouzanis no chance.

There should have been more, such was Swindon’s early dominance. When Ben Wyatt made a hash of a clearance, the livewire Harry McKirdy clipped the outside of a post and the Town striker forced another couple of saves in that opening 45 minutes.

Somehow, Sutton held on and their resilience paid off on 39 minutes when Beautyman calmly converted from the spot after a handling offence in the box.

The U’s continued to hang on by a thread after the break, even though they contested possession far more and had spells of decent pressure.

Swindon kept creating the chances. Jack Payne bent a free-kick narrowly wide and Bouzanis kept up his fine form, rushing out to thwart McKirdy once more in a one v one, before beating away another shot from the striker.

Ben Gladwin came on and forced another save from the overworked Sutton stopper.

Right at the death, Joe Kizzi got his head on the end of a free-kick from deep but with not quite enough power and direction to beat Town keeper Jo Wollacott. They had done well to stay in the hunt until the end, but in truth, a point would have been a bit of a steal.

Sutton will no doubt bounce back quickly but may have to do without their skipper for a bit. Beautyman went off with a strapped-up shoulder injury, looking in some pain.

United: (4-4-2) Bouzanis – Kizzi, Goodliffe, John Wyatt – Ajiboye, Beautyman (Barden 70), Smith, Randall – Olaofe (Wilson 65), Bugiel (Bennett 76). Subs not used: Rowe, Korboa, Boldewijn, Palmer, Wilson

Town: (5-3-2) Wollacott – Hunt, Odimayo, Baudry, Crichlow, Iandolo – Williams (Gladwin 72), Reed (East 72), Payne – McKirdy (Mitchell-Lawson 88), Simpson. Subs not used: Ward, Gilbert, Hayden, Grant

Attendance: 3,443