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MATCH PREVIEW: Swindon Town vs Sutton United

An insight into our opposition for this evening…

13 September 2022

Club News

MATCH PREVIEW: Swindon Town vs Sutton United

An insight into our opposition for this evening…

13 September 2022

Swindon Town return to League Two action this evening as Sutton United visit The County Ground.

Here’s a brief insight into The Us as Scott Lindsey’s side go in search of a valuable three points to push them up the standings.

The lowdown…

The London based club are in their second season in the Football League having missed out on the play-offs last term by a single point.

Finishing up in eighth, Matt Gray’s side also reached the EFL Trophy Final where they were cruelly denied by Rotherham United in extra-time.

The club started playing football in the junior local league’s but progressed into the Athenian League in 1921.

In 1928 they won their first of three league championships, and in 1967, claimed their first of five Isthmian League titles.

Three years later, Sutton entertained Don Revie’s great Leeds side in front of 14,000 people at Gander Green Lane losing 6-0, and the 1970s brought little success other than The Anglo Italian Cup.

In 1979, Keith Blunt masterminded a shock 2-1 victory over Chieti, making Sutton the only English club to claim the competition in it’s semi-professional era, but arguably their most memorable season came in 1988-89, thanks in part to their remarkable FA Cup run.

After entering the competition in the fourth qualifying round, Sutton met Coventry City in the third round. The Sky Blues, who were in the First Division, had won the competition 18 months previously.

Sutton however emerged 2-1 winners, joining a small number of non-league clubs to beat a First Division side.

They then went on to reach the National League in 2016 after romping to the National League South title, which included a 25-match unbeaten run. On their return to the fifth tier, they finished twelfth, however it was once again their FA Cup exploits which stole the headlines.

After beating Leeds United 1-0, they became only the ninth non-league side to reach the fifth round of the competition since 1945.

The reward was a glamor tie against Premier League outfit Arsenal. The following season Paul Doswell’s side suffered heartbreak in the play-off semi-final. However, under the stewardship of current boss, Matt Gray, Sutton reached the EFL thanks to securing the 2020/21 National League title.

The Stadium…

Gander Green Lane, more commonly known as the Borough Sports Ground, is the home of Sutton United.

Based in south London and built in 1898, the ground has played host to England C team and FA Sunday Cup matches previously.

From 2015, the surface was a FIFA 2-Star quality 3G pitch, but after winning promotion to the Football League in 2021, regulations meant the club had to replace it with grass.

During last season, the club installed a hybrid ‘PowerGrass’ pitch.

The last three: previous meetings…

Swindon and Sutton have actually only ever met three times in their respective histories, with Town winning all three encounters.

Last terms double-header in League Two proved a disappointing one for tonight’s visitors, with goals from Josh Davison and Harry McKirdy earning Town a 2-1 win and all three points at SN1 back in March.

The earlier meeting last term saw Swindon emerge victorious by the same score line at Gander Green in October last year, courtesy of goals from Louis Reed and Jonny Williams.

Before that you’ll have to go back to December 1981 for the last meeting, as Town won 2-1 again on home soil in an FA Cup clash.

Their season thus far…

Sutton currently sit comfortably in eleventh place in League Two, and head into this evening’s clash off the back of three straight wins in all competitions.

This after a relatively slow start to the new campaign which saw them win just once in their opening five games, which included a League Cup exit to Milton Keynes Dons.

An upturn in form now sees them unbeaten in their last four across the board, which includes a goalless draw away at Grimsby, and wins over Mansfield Town, Chelsea’s young charges in their EFL Trophy opener, and a 2-1 win at home to Harrogate in their last match.

The manager…

Matt Gray was a product of the Tottenham academy, playing as a defender throughout his time in the National League.

He enjoyed stints with Barnet, Hayes and Havant, where he captained the latter. However, the 40-year-old’s career was curtailed at the age of 25 due to several injuries.

Following retirement, Gray shifted his attention towards a career in coaching. His first jobs came as an assistant at Eastleigh, Aldershot and Crawley Town.

When Paul Doswell stepped down, Gray took interim charge for the final Sutton game of the 2018/19 season and the following summer, secured the job on a permanent basis.

It took Gray just two seasons to mastermind Sutton’s rise to the EFL, with the gaffer scooping the Manager of the Year Award in the process.

Summer recruitment…

There’s been plenty of movement at Gander Green Lane with regards to the look and feel of the squad during the summer, with a few more faces added before transfer deadline day.

Sam Hart has come in from Oldham, while Jack Rose has joined from Walsall.

MK Dons’ Tobi Ogundega has come in alongside Maltese international, Luke Gambin, following a spell back in his homeland at Hamrun Spartans.

Josh Neufville opted for a loan switch from Luton Town before the season got underway.

Aaron Pierre has strengthened the ranks from Shrewsbury just before the September cut-off, with Lincoln City’s Charley Kendall coming in on loan.

A familiar face in Lewis Ward has bolstered their goalkeeping numbers, as the former Town stopper joined late a few weeks ago.

Sutton have only lost three players who have moved elsewhere, with David Ajiboye joining League One side Peterborough, Richie Bennett heading to Barrow and stopper Dean Bouzanis opting for Championship football at Reading.

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