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  • Writer's pictureBy Dan Evans

Sutton see off Reading to earn pre-season victory

Sutton United (0) 2

Reading (0) 0

Sutton United continued their winning start to pre-season with a 2-0 victory against League One Reading on Saturday afternoon at the VBS Community Stadium.

Matt Gray’s men showed few signs of missing a host of players who featured regularly last season as he continues to rebuild his squad ahead of the start of the League Two season in three weeks’ time.

After keeping Reading at bay in the first, two trialists found the net after the interval to provide the perfect follow up to Tuesday’s 3-2 win at Havant and Waterlooville.

Despite starting with four trialists and welcoming another from the bench at half-time, Sutton were at their organised best against their newly relegated opponents.

Some characteristically direct attacking forced former U’s keeper Dean Bouzanis into a pair of early saves on a windy afternoon at the VBS Community Stadium.

The stadium was given a facelift by a group of volunteers last weekend ahead of Sutton’s third-ever season in the Football League, and the early signs in this non-competitive encounter suggested Sutton are well placed for an even longer stay.

The visitors, who appointed former Southampton stand-in Ruben Selles as manager on Friday, did eventually show their quality after a slow start.

Steve Arnold, Sutton’s new arrival in goal, was forced to sprawl and save a Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan effort midway through the half.

Not long after, another of Sutton’s summer additions, defender Omar Sowunmi, was forced off with a knock.

With Reading beginning to take greater control as half-time approached, young striker Ehibhatiomhan rounded Arnold on 30 minutes before shooting wide of the target with the goal gaping.

Reading had a further chance before the interval when centre-back Tom McIntyre headed wide from a long-range header at a corner.

Arnold was called into action again moments into the second half, palming a deflection from Harry Beautyman over his crossbar.

Even though new striker Harry Smith was introduced at the break, it was a pair of trialists who combined to give Sutton the lead.

The first goal came on 57 minutes when Trialist D broke down the left and picked out Trialist E to take a touch and fire home.

Trialist D did his hopes of a longer stay in south London no harm just moments later, as he drifted infield from the left flank before curling an effort into the net via the underside of the crossbar.

Both sides made a host of changes in the aftermath of the goal, and introduction of Sutton regulars Ben Goodliffe, Craig Eastmond and Lee Angol, along with summer signing Craig Clay, allowed Gray’s side to comfortably see out the win.

Sutton (4-4-2): Arnold (Rose 60) - Kizzi (Goodliffe 60), Trialist C (Dundas 60), Sowunmi (Khinda 23), Milsom (Hart 60) - Trialist B (Trialist E 45), Beautyman (Eastmond 60), N'Guessan (Clay 60), Trialist D (Coley 60) - Fadahunsi (Angol 60), Trialist A (Smith 45). Subs not used: House, Kasimu


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