DEACON HEROICS CREATE HISTORY
COMEDIAN Tim Vine gave Sutton United a light-hearted team-talk – and then Roarie Deacon really wiped the smile off Cheltenham Town faces with a 96th-minute winner.
The National League club that boast one of the FA Cup’s most famous giantkillings are dreaming of a big gun again.
This upset might not be on the scale of their 1989 triumph over Coventry City, but then the result didn’t look on the cards at half-time.
Behind to Danny Wright’s first-half goal, debutant Matt Tubbs equalised 33 seconds after the break before Deacon’s incredible winner.
It was the latest blow for the League Two Robins, who have slipped to second bottom of the Football League following back-to-back defeats.
“It’s disappointing,” said Cheltenham boss Gary Johnson. “We’re out of the cup and we didn’t want to be out of the cup.
“We had a decent first-half, second-half really they were better than us. They got their goal early, which was a big disappointment from our point of view. Then it was looking like going back to Whaddon Road and they scored right at the death.
“That’s the FA Cup and why all the TV cameras are here I suppose. There’s not much between the two teams in league status, but I suppose it’s an upset for the TV.
“I’m disappointed with the lads, of course I am, and I’m disappointed what’s gone on the last couple of weeks. It’s going to take a big turnaround. We’re out of the FA Cup, we’re near the bottom of the league and it’s going to take a massive effort. That’s what we’ve got to do. That’s all we can do because that’s our job.”
While these two didn’t meet last year – Sutton were on their way to a title of their own in the National League South – Cheltenham racked up over 100 points as they secured an immediate return to the Football League.
And Wright put them in the driving seat when he turned in James Dayton’s freekick on 34 minutes.
Just 33 seconds into the second-half, Sutton were level. Nicky Bailey lifted the ball into the box, Maxime Biamou flicked onto the unmarked Tubbs and he hammered in.
Suddenly a cup tie broke out as a buoyed Sutton poured forward with Deacon their big threat. He forced Russell Griffiths’ into a save with his legs when Sutton overloaded the Cheltenham defence, and then volleyed over soon after.
Rob Dickie, who had earlier had an effort cleared off the line by Dan Spence, looped a header onto the bar for the visitors.
But in the final minute of stoppage time Deacon drove into the bottom corner to send Gander Green Lane wild.
“You dream of these days,” Sutton boss Paul Doswell said. “At half-time it was becoming a nightmare because if that had continued second-half it would have been a real bad day at the office.”
MY BALL: Sutton United's Maxime Biamou heads at goal and inset left, Sutton’s Matt Tubbs scores the first goal
STAR MAN ROARIE DEACON Sutton