Sutton United promotion dreams dashed by the 10 men of Dover
Sutton United's dreams of promotion out of the Skrill South were left shattered after a 3-0 second leg defeat at home to 10-man Dover Athletic on Saturday.
The reverse came on the back of a 1-1 draw in the first leg the previous Wednesday, and continues boss Paul Doswell's miserable play-off record of four attempts, four failures.
Despite losing just once in the second half of the Skrill South season and deservedly finishing second in the table, United's season ended on a flat note as, following Dover captain Craig Stone's sending off in the third minute for fouling Craig Dundas, the visitorss packed the defence and hit United on the break.
Doswell made changes to the side that drew at the Crabble, with Will Spetch replacing the injured Dale Binns at leeft back, while Marvin Williams and Dean Sinclair got the nod over Kane Haysman and Ben King.
Within three minutes the game burst into life when a desperate challenge from Stone on the edge of the penalty area sent Dundas crashing, and referee Chris Powell produced the red card.
United's numerical advantage was almost increased from the resulting free kick as Michael Spillane's shot was pushed on to the post by Mitch Walker, and Williams hit the side netting from the rebound.
But once Dover had reorganised, United found it difficult to find any way through and would have been behind midway through the half but for a sensational close range save from Jason Brown to deny Moses Ademola.
Ademola was in again 10 minutes later when a long clearance evaded both Charlie Clough and Nathan Elder, but substitute King, who had replaced Spetch after the left back injured his ankle in a challenge with Ricky Modeste, was covering and blocked Ademola's shot.
Walker saved to his right from Dundas, and early in the second half made another good save from Sinclair, this time low to his left as the midfielder hit a well struck shot from 20 yards, but United's tempo had been dropping and just before the hour, Dover took advantage.
With his first contribution after replacing Elder, Jeff Goulding climbed high to head a free kick down towards the penalty area, King missed his clearance and Modeste was left clear to hammer the ball high past Brown in to the net.
United's response was to bring on Kane Haysman, whose energy had been increasingly missed, and Gavin McCallum, and had they equalised immediately they would have fancied their chances of going on to beat the 10 men.
However, Dundas saw a shot blocked in the six-yard box, Damian Scannell shot just over, and the visitors became ever more comfortable as United failed to find the inspiration needed to break through and their play became increasingly laboured and untidy, the ball being given away cheaply on too many occasions.
Thirteen minutes from time Ademola got the better of Sawyer to burst through the middle, and although Brown came out to dive at the striker's feet and push the ball away, Modeste was on hand to drive a shot home.
Two minutes later, as United pushed forward, Ademola took advantage of the space to break through on the right and this time he finished the job himself to render the last 10 minutes an irrelevance.
Sutton: Brown, Sinclair (Haysman 60), Spetch (King 17), Spillane, Downer, Clough, Sawyer, Scannell,Dundas, Taylor, Williams (McCallum 60).
Subs: Slabber, Lovelock.
Always two sides: Sutton United's Damian Scannell trudges off after the final whistle....
...while the victorious Dover players enjoy reaching the Skrill South play-off final
Comments are closed on this article.