Club Historian Phil Yelland takes a walk down memory lane, and looks back on previous meetings with Sutton United at the SO Legal Stadium.
It’s fair to say that those who were here last April for the first meeting here in the Football League are unlikely to forget the game as ultimately it made us mathematically safe from relegation.
That afternoon Phil Brown’s side took the lead through a John Rooney goal and Paul Farman then produced a superb penalty save to ensure we took three points. Celebrations of safety were delayed following a pitch invasion at Boundary Park but Oldham’s 2-1 defeat by Salford City ensured League Two football here this season.
Prior to that meeting we have, of course, played Sutton United initially in the Vauxhall Conference and latterly in the National League. I guess few will forget the 1-0 win in our title winning season in the National League when we finished with ten men which included Josh Granite, now with Buxton playing up front in the late stages of the game with a dislocated shoulder. Josh Kay got the winner that afternoon and Jason Taylor had limped off after boss Ian Evatthad used all three substitutes.
The first meeting between the teams took place here in October 1989 when a Peter Farrell penalty secured us the points in a low key game.
Today will be Sutton’s ninth visit to Barrow and so far we are unbeaten with five wins and three draws – the last time United took a point here was in February 2018 in a 1-1 draw with a late equaliser after Bedsente Gomis – a former Sutton player had given us the lead.
Today also gives us the chance to avenge our first League defeat of the season back in August when we lost 1-0 at Gander Green Lane in, what might be termed as, controversial circumstances.
Our full record against Sutton United to date is :-
Venue. P. W. D. L. F. A.
Holker Street 8 5 3 0 10 4
Gander Green Lane 9 1 3 5 9 17
Total 17 6 6 5 19 21
One member of our current squad has played for Sutton United – Richie Bennett was there last season and looking back down the years there have been two other Bluebirds who have featured for United – I have mentioned Bedsente Gomis who was certainly a popular player here during his only season with us – last I heard he was playing in the Southern League premier Division South with Gosport Borough.
The other player is Byron Harrison. Few fans will forget Byron after his arrival in the summer of 2016 and his magic first half of the season as we chased a place at the top of the National League and progressed in the FA Cup – his hat trick in the game against Eastleigh here at the end of October 2016 was watched by many on BT Sport as we won 4-0. Byron was arguably never the same player after an ankle injury he sustained in January 2017 in another televised game at home to eventual champions Lincoln City – which we won 3-0.
He left us in February 2018 after the 1-1 draw with Sutton United and joined them on loan for the rest of the season as they pushed for the play offs. Ultimately the deal did not become a permanent one and he spent a season for us before returning here for the 2019-20 season.
He played a part in our title win but mainly from the bench and failed to find the net, ending his Barrow career with thirty two goals in one hundred outings.
Since leaving us he has featured with Altrincham (twice) Connah’s Quay Nomads in the League of Wales, Boston United and is currently with Nantwich Town in the Northern Premier League Premier Division.
After a slow start to the current campaign, Matt Gary’s side have picked up and are pushing to get into the play offs.
This season on the road, they have defeated AFC Wimbledon, Crawley Town, Harrogate Town and Newport County; have drawn with Carlisle United, Grimsby Town, Hartlepool United, Northampton Town and Tranmere Rovers and lost to Crewe Alexandra, Doncaster Rovers, Gillingham, Leyton Orient, Stevenage, Stockport County and Swindon Town.
They lost at MK Dons in the First Round of the Carabao Cup and in the Pap John’s Trophy lost at Leyton Orient in the Group stage before losing at AFC Wimbledon in the knock out stages.