1:58pm Wednesday 2nd February 2005
By Tony Dolbear
Sutton United gained revenge on Woking for their Surrey Senior Cup final defeat last season with a 2-1 win in the same competition at Gander Green Lane on Tuesday.
United bounced back from a traumatic seven days, which had seen them beaten 3-0 at home by Woking in the GLS Cup and 6-0 at home by Grays in the league, with a hugely spirited performance.
With Matt Gray, Scott Corbett and Lewis Gonsalves all injured and recent signing Romauld Bouadji ineligible the chance was there for players like Craig Howard, Danny Dray and on his debut Richard Blackwell to make names for themselves.
Blackwell's debut ended painfully ten minutes from time after a clash of heads left him with a nasty cut, but the reception he was given from all round the ground spoke volumes for an assured performance that once again highlighted the quality of player coming through the youth and reserve ranks.
With Raphael Nade joined by England squad member Amos Foyewa in the Woking attack, United looked in for a hard nigh,t but Nade was never allowed the freedom he had received last week.
With Michael Johnson playing as an orthodox left back and unable to have the same attacking impact, United more than held their own in a first 20 minutes of few chances.
They went ahead when Joff Vansittart, whose aerial prowess was always too much for the Woking defence, outmuscled Gary McDonald on the edge of the area to win the ball and find Eddie Akuamoah on the right of the penalty area.
While McDonald remained on the ground, Akuamoah pulled the ball back in to Vansittart's path. He turned inside his marker before firing low across Adriano Basso in to the far corner.
Even a harsh booking three minutes later for what referee Eamonn Smith perceived as kicking the ball away after being penalised for handball failed to blunt Vansittart's threat.
He laid on what should have been a second goal with a flick from a Peter Fear throw-in that found Chris Nurse arriving in the six yard box but unable to put enough on his shot to beat Basso.
Towards half time Woking threatened for the first time but Andy Iga, deputising confidently for the suspended Phil Wilson, made a brilliant save to turn aside Neil Smith's shot after Steve Ferguson had set him up, and Ferguson shot wide from a low Foyewa cross on one of the rare occasions that the striker got the better of Dray.
Early in the second half a Ferguson cross just eluded Foyewa at the far post, and Steve Evans was allowed to run a long way before shooting just wide Otherwise United defended well, and the work rate of the players further forward made it difficult for Woking to launch any concerted pressure.
The departure of the increasingly anonymous Foyewa twenty minutes from time was a testament to Sutton's effort, but it got no easier with Louis replacing him, and there was a scare when Ferguson broke clear on the edge of the area and was brought down by John Scarborough.
Once Mr Smith had decided it was a foul, although Scarborough seemed to get plenty of the ball, United were happy to settle for a free kick right on the 18 yard line and a yellow card for Scarborough, when it could easily have been a penalty and red, and Scott Canham's free kick rebounded to safety off the defensive wall.
Fear cleared off the line from McDonald's header following a corner and Blackwell then went off to be replaced by Tony Quinton, making his first appearance since breaking an ankle in Sutton's win at Farnham in the previous round. He had only been on the pitch two minutes when United eased the pressure with a priceless, and superb, second goal.
Paul Honey broke up an attack on the edge of his own penalty area and released Akuamoah, who ran directly at the backpedalling defence with Vansittart to his left and Nigel Brake to his right.
The pass when it came was perfectly placed for Brake, who swept a first time shot past Basso.
There was still work to be done, however, with Louis outpacing Quinton and firing past Iga with three minutes left, and Mr Smith then forcing U's to endure seven minutes of stoppage time, but it would have been an injustice if all the effort had counted for nothing, and remaining resolute to the end U's ensured their place in the quarter finals.
Sutton: A Iga, C Howard, D Dray, J Scarborough, R Blackwell(sub T Quinton 80), N Brake, C Nurse, P Honey, P Fear, J Vansittart, E Akuamoah. Subs n/u C Watkins, G Tydeman.
Booked: Vansittart(26-dissent), Scarborough(74-foul).
Attendance: 182 Sutton will be away to Egham Town in the quarter finals. Egham are currently 17 points adrift at the foot of the Southern League Western Division without a home league win and the last time the sides met was at the quarter final stage of the 1993-94 Surrey Senior Cup competition when goals from Dominic Feltham, Paul Barrowcliff and Ollie Morah saw United win 3-0 on their way to a final defeat against Woking. U's have no game this Saturday with their original opponents, Bishop's Stortford, engaged in the FA Trophy-the game has been rearranged for Tuesday 1 March.
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