THE men in red and white take their place in the last eight of the FA Cup – but it’s the men in yellow who take most of the plaudits after a monumental effort against one of the best teams in the country.
Sutton United’s players did themselves, their club and all who follow it proud on a night their 5,000 fans will never forget.
Manager Paul Doswell was full of pride for the way his team competed against Arsenal, and Arsene Wenger gave huge credit to their non league opponents too. Rightly so.
Doswell said beforehand that if Wenger fielded a strong side they would get ‘hammered’. The Arsenal boss DID field a strong side, but Sutton were anything but hammered. Fair play.
A cup run that began back in October finally came to an end but Sutton, to a man, gave their absolute all and bow out of the competition with heads held high.
For under-fire Wenger it was a ‘no-win’ situation and, at the end of the day, it was a case of ‘job done’. They now face another non league side in Lincoln in the next round.
Goals from Lucas Perez and skipper for the night Theo Walcott, his 100th for the club, ultimately settled the tie – but Sutton had their moments too.
Not least when former Arsenal graduate Roarie Deacon rattled the crossbar with a stunning effort. He was the star of the show.
The non league side, 105 places below their illustrious opponents in the football pyramid, gave a great account of themselves and manager Doswell said on the BBC afterwards; “I could not be more proud of this bunch of players.
“They have given everything they could possibly give and there is certainly no disgrace in losing 2-0 to what was a strong Arsenal side. Good luck to Lincoln when they go to the Emirates.”
Wenger added: “It was a difficult night for us and Sutton played very well. You have to give them huge credit. But we achieved our aim of getting through to the last eight. So let’s move on.”