By Finley Chung, Sutton United writer
A 5-minute double from Sutton United’s Richie Bennett earned the home side their maiden EFL win over the 10 men of Stevenage. Elliott List had given the Hertfordshire side the lead, before Bennett levelled just 3 minutes after List’s opener, with the Sutton man smashing home the winner from 12 yards when Terrence Vancooten was adjudged to have handled inside the box and was dismissed for his troubles.
In their first game since the heart-breaking EFL home opener against Oldham, Sutton manager, Matt Jay gave opportunities to Richie Bennett, Tobi Sho -Silva and Alistair Smith to look to earn Sutton a historic first ever EFL win.
The opening to the encounter was tough, as the sun shone down on the VBS Community Stadium pitch both teams were trying to find their rhythm early on. Bruno Andrade of Stevenage had the first chance midway through the first half, inches away from connection to a Ben Coker cross from the by-line. Stevenage keeper, Joseph Anang then had his gloves stung for the first time in the afternoon, as Richie Bennet took aim, but the Stevenage stopper held onto the effort. Tobi Sho-Silva then had a guilt edged chance to put Sutton Infront, but his header was straight at Anang.
Just after the half-hour mark, Stevenage had probably the best chance of the half. Coker got to the by-line yet again and hung a cross up to the back post, with Luke Norris connecting to the cross, but Dean Bouzanis tipped the ball onto the crossbar to see Sutton survive the scare. Bouzanis was called into action to again deny Norris at the end of the first half.
Half Time – Sutton United 0-0 Stevenage
The second half got underway with Enzo Boldewijn and Richie Bennett beginning to feature more prominently for the hosts, with the former being denied by Anang, while the latter was denied by a last-ditch challenge from Terence Vancooten. Sutton were on top and applying the pressure onto Stevenage, but the visitors quickly turned on the style on the break. Chris Lines threaded the ball through to Elliott List who smashed the ball home to put the visitors ahead. Sutton weren’t to be behind for long however, as Joe Kizzi surged down the right and his cross was met by the head of Richie Bennett to haul the hosts back level, just three minutes after going behind.
Sutton had their tails up and when Vancooten was adjudged to have handled in the box and received his marching orders, Bennett placed the ball down on the spot and the entire ground, well at least the Sutton United fans and everyone associated, took an entire collective deep breath. Bennett remained ice cool and slotted his penalty away to send Sutton fans into raptures and completely turn the game on its head.
Stevenage were working hard as the game ticked into its final half hour to get back into the encounter, with James Reid and Jamie Daly being introduced as the Herts side faced an ever more uphill battle to get something from the encounter. It was Daly who thought he had put the visitors back level with fifteen minutes remaining, but his celebration was short lived as the linesman on the far side raised his flag.
That was to be the last action and when the referee blew his whistle, a moment of joy for Sutton United and the players, after they recorded the club's first ever, English Football League win.