For the second consecutive game, Sutton and Eastbourne Borough could not be separated, after finishing 1-1 this time at Gander Green Lane, writes George Sessions.
The point does little for either sides hopes of automatic promotion or beating the drop.
The two teams had played each other at the weekend and drew 0-0 at Priory Lane. Sutton made four changes from the weekend starting line up. Craig Watkins, Anwar Uddin, Craig Dundas and captain Sam Page coming into the team in place of Leroy Griffiths, Lewis Hunt, Paul Telfer and Simon Downer.
Telfer’s presence was needed on the touchline with manager Paul Doswell absent from the game. Assistant manager Alan Payne and Telfer took charge of the team.
After a scrappy opening, it was Eastbourne who settled quickest. Ben Watson, a sub on Saturday, escaped the attention of Ex Barnet defender Anwar Uddin before lifting the ball over Kevin Scriven in the Sutton goal. Luckily the ball bounced off the crossbar and was cleared, this was to be one of many close shaves for Sutton in a first half that Eastbourne dominated.
They eventually took the lead in the 43rd minute. Gary Hart played an acute ball around the Sutton defence for Watson to round Scriven and slot home to give his side the lead.
Less then three minutes later Sutton were level. Man of the match Craig Dundas played a slick pass to winger Tony Taggart. After cutting inside the fullback, his cross appeared to be blocked by an Eastbourne hand. As several united players protested, full back Michael Boateng was tripped and Referee Ben Knight awarded the spot kick.
Top Scorer Craig Watkins then sent the keeper the wrong way for his 13th league goal of the season. The Eastbourne Manager was visibly furious over the awarding of a penalty kick as the referee brought an end to an eventful first half.
Sutton started the second half much brighter. Kyle Vassel fired over after neat build up play by Harry Beautyman. As the U’s tried to break down a stubborn Eastbourne side, clear cut chances were few and far between.
It wasn’t until the final 10 minutes that both sides had good chances to win it. Firstly Taggart’s cross was fumbled by the Borough’s keeper in the six yard box but Beautyman, on his heels wasn’t able to fully capitalize.
It was those two again in stoppage time causing problems for Borough. Beautyman put in a terrific cross that Taggart looked destined to score from, only to see Eastbourne Borough’s Keeper Mitchell Walker fingertip over the bar.
Eastbourne then could of stole it themselves. After winning a free kick on the edge of Sutton’s area, Matt Crabb wasted the chance to take all three points by hitting his shot well wide as both sides had to settle for a point. Sutton remain 4th four points off 3rd placed Welling, whilst Eastbourne Borough are now one point clear of the relegation zone in 19th.