Sutton Common Rovers FC
2 - 2
Saturday September 18, 2021, 12:30 pm
Gander Green Lane
The Bulls made their debut on national television. The B.B.C. choose one match per qualifying round and the F.A. were in contact with the club to notify them of the broadcaster’s choice within two and a half hours of the draw’s release.
Sutton Common Rovers share Sutton United’s Gander Green Lane ground in South West London, which has now had to revert to “hybrid” grass from 4G following their landlord’s elevation to the Football League. The ground used to be surrounded by a running track with three concrete steps sweeping around either end but both of those ends have now been squared off with a small amount of cover behind each goal.
Founded in 1978 they only entered Saturday leagues as recently as 2004 when known as Mole Valley S.C.R. and entered the Combined Counties Premier Division in 2015 when they dropped their prefix. They won the League Cup in 2019 and were leading the Premier Division with a 11-2-0 record in 2021 which helped them gain their elevation to the Isthmian League for this season. There they play in Division 1 South-Central, alongside Guernsey. Jersey’s victims in the last round, V.C.D. Athletic, play at the same level, but in the South-East section.
Sutton Common Rovers started the season slowly with a goalless draw at Steyning Town of the Southern Combination Premier Division in the F.A. Cup before a 4-0 win in the replay. They then beat Cray Wanderers of the Isthmian Premier in the last round. It has been a similar story in the league with loss, loss, draw, win being their progressive record as they adapt to the higher level they now play in.
The Bulls made two changes to the team that defeated Tooting Bec last week. Kieran Lester replaced the injured Daryl Wilson and Luca Margaroli came in for Ruben Mendes-Pestana. Mendes-Pestana had had a whirlwind few days in Ibiza and had only arrived back the previous evening to take a place on the bench. Alongside him there were two other returning holiday makers, Jonny Le Quesne and Jake Prince. Lorne Bickley was still soaking up the sun and so was unavailable, as was the injured Euan Van der Vliet.
Sutton Common Rovers had a well built side and gave a debut to goalkeeper Mackenzie Foley. Foley was replacing former captain Michael Eacott who had just transferred to Rovers table topping rivals Bracknell Town after 98 first team appearances for S.C.R.
Bulls kicked off attacking Collingwood Road End to the East on a warm afternoon with Sutton Common Rovers having to look in to the sun. Kieran Lester charged down a ‘keeper clearance early on but it cannoned back wide of the goal and Sol Solomon was brought down on the edge of the box after quarter of an hour but nothing resulted.
Just before the half hour Solomon sashayed through the defence in typical manner and it was a “Smith must score” moment only for Foley to be out quickly to pull off the first of many fine saves he made during the afternoon.
Eight minutes later Bulls did take the lead. A Jay Giles corner on the right was met with a stooping header from an unmarked Luke Campbell six yards out in the centre of the goal with Foley stranded at the near post.
Solomon doubled the lead shortly afterwards when latching on to a pass from Luca Margaroli. He set off on a fine run down the right channel, outpacing the defence, rounding Foley and tucking the ball home from a narrow angle. This took him to 8 F.A. Cup goals this season, joint leader in the competition.
Crucially Sutton Common Rovers responded within a couple of minutes as a Brendan Murphy-McVey cross from the left eluded the Jersey defenders. New skipper Ryan Dacres-Smith’s strong run was rewarded with an unmarked header to reduce the arrears and change the complexion of the half time team talks.
After the interval Jersey looked to re-assert themselves. Lester was put clear but too wide and too far out for him to have much chance of converting. He was then left forlorn in the centre when Margaroli shot from the left and Foley saved again, whereas a subtle cross might have paid dividends.
Just after the hour S.C.R. threw on their final substitute and within two minutes had equalised. Murphy-McVey did well to squeeze in a cross from the right byline and Kyle Henry was on hand to volley home from a couple of yards.
Upon the restart Prince replaced Lester and in the following minute Jersey “scored”. Margaroli netted from a Fraser Barlow through ball, but he had moved just too soon and was pulled up by the assistant before the celebrations could escalate.
For the final quarter of an hour Jonny Le Quesne replaced Margaroli and the Bulls pushed forward looking for the winner. Solomon had a shot blocked and then had another from 25 yards which went straight to Foley. Sutton Common Rovers had ideas of their own and Murphy-McVey with a free kick from a similar distance forced Jonny Willows to palm the ball over for a corner.
The Bulls returned to the attack and Le Quesne put a shot just wide, Solomon hit a snap shot that was straight at Foley, and in added time the ball sat up invitingly for a Le Quesne volley. He hit it well but unfortunately wide.
Therefore a replay it was and initially it was hoped that this would be back in Jersey at Springfield. A crowd of 1,500 to 2,000 might have been expected. However F.A. rules determine that any “offshore club” replay must be held on the mainland unless both clubs can agree otherwise. One interesting suggestion was that the F.A. rules should be amended in the future to allow the possibility of a weekend replay at the offshore team’s home ground.
Consequently the Bulls will have to travel back to Gander Green Lane for the replay on Tuesday evening.
Sutton Common Rovers 2 (Ryan Dacres-Smith 42, Kyle Henry 66); Jersey Bulls 2 (Luke Campbell 36, Sol Solomon 40)
Programme £2, 52 pages, full colour (double issue along with intended league match v South Park on Monday 20th, that now had to be re-arranged)
Sutton Common Rovers – Mackenzie Foley, Dominic Bates, Matt Tanton, Ryan Dacres-Smith (c), Aaron Bogle, Niran Butler, Malachi Robinson, Adam Allen, Danny Fernandez, Brendan Murphy-McVey, Kyle Henry
Substitutes – Jake Hill (not used), Ryan Healey (for N. Butler 59), Shawn Lyle (not used), Kieran Campbell (not used), Tyrell Butler (not used), Kiyo Brown (for Bates 43), Phil Page (for Fernandez 64)
Darren Salmon (Manager), Chris McGinn (Coach), Charlie Acres (GK Coach), Liam Joyce (Player Analysis), Geoff Moxey (Physio.), Anah Browne (Physio.)
All Yellow (Blue trim); GK All Light Blue
Jersey Bulls – Jonny Willows, James Queree (c), Jay Giles, Jack Griffin, Luke Campbell, Kamen Nafkha, Fraser Barlow, Adam Trotter, Kieran Lester, Luca Margaroli, Sol Solomon
Substitutes – Joe Kilshaw (for Nafkha 89), Jonny Le Quesne (for Margaroli 75), Jake Prince (for Lester 67), Ruben Mendes-Pestana (not used), only four substitutes
Gary Freeman (Manager), Kevan Nelson (Assistant), Dan Seviour (Coach), Jason Carpenter (GK Coach)
Red/White/White; GK – All Green
Referee – Adrian Harris (Fareham)
Assistants – Maros Valko (Lambeth) and Fabien Le Houezec (Wallington)
Cautions – Nafkha (JB) 79, Bogle (SCR) 84
Corners – Sutton Common Rovers (2) 4, Jersey Bulls (1) 3
Player of the Match Award (commentators) – Sol Solomon (JB)
Player of the Match Award (home team) – Mackenzie Foley (SCR GK) (debut)