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Sutton promoted as National League Champions

calendario 23.05.2021
by: Zach
  • Championship
  • EFL
  • England
  • League
  • Vanarama National
Sutton promoted as National League Champions

Sutton put three past playoff rivals Hartlepool to seal the National League title at Green Gander Lane. Over 1,000 fortunate home fans attended the game, cheering at the goals and rejoicing as their club lifted the National League trophy. The victory put the south London side five points ahead of second-place Torquay to guarantee automatic promotion with one game to play. 

Sutton join the EFL next season for the first time in their 123 year history. From the first goal, a free-kick from Sutton’s full-back Robert Milson slipping past loanee Pools keeper Brad James, Sutton’s victory looked inevitable. The club looked formidable all season, particularly following the addition of Isaac Olaofe, on loan from Millwall. 

Olaofe scored his sixteenth of the season against Hartlepool in the 80th minute, securing Sutton’s title. The clubs will be hard-pressed to replace Olaofe if he returns to his home club next year. When asked about Olaofe following the game, Sutton boss Matt Gray stated that, although he expects the striker to sign for Millwall, United ‘will certainly be trying’ to hold on to him for as long as possible. 

Sutton finished 15th last year, as coronavirus restrictions curtailed the season and the National League allocated places based on points per game. The club’s turnaround under Gray shows the calibre of grit, strategy, and recruitment required for professional football. Gray credited the Sutton ‘lads buying into what we believe in’ for their success, an ethos the boss will hope to sustain for the future. 

The club will face a fellow promoted National League side next season, as the competition offers one other route to the EFL: the playoffs. Sutton’s win leaves Torquay favourites for the other promotion space, while several competitive teams, including the Worldwide Reds in Wrexham, vie for a top-seven finish.

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