After watching his side pull off a massive FA Cup giantkilling Sutton United manager Paul Doswell admitted he was had no nerves going into their game against Championship giants Leeds United.
Jamie Collins’ second half penalty sent the National League club into the Fifth Round of the competition for the first time in their history.
A dominant display from the U’s was played out in front of a sell-out crowd at their famous Green Gander Lane home and although nerves may have been on display around the ground, in the dugout Doswell was calmness personified.
He said “I’ll be honest I was calmer today than I was throughout the AFC Wimbledon replay.
“I think we knew that was a financial impact on the club. That was worth £300,000 to win.
“Today I can honestly say it’s the calmest I have been in a long time, I have been more nervous in National League games this season.
“Not because of the way Leeds players, but I felt, we felt, the staff felt, that we trust our players.
“They have been with me for two to three years now, as a group they have played a lot of football.
“If we lost today it would be a glorious defeat, if it’s a replay then it’s at Elland Road, we didn’t dream about winning.
“It will have to sink in over the next day or two but the players genuinely believed it. They were calm, there were no nerves.
“But these are good players. Eastmond has been at Arsenal, Deacon has been at Arsenal, Bailey at Middlesbrough, we knew we wouldn’t be fazed and when we saw their starting line-up we knew we had a chance”
Sutton controlled the majority of the first half and bounced back from the blow of having an early goal disallowed.
Former Arsenal academy player Roarie Deacon raced on to a through ball and smashed the ball into the roof of the United net, only to see his celebrations cut short by a marginal offside decision.
Deacon was denied by Leeds keeper Marco Silvestri on three occasions after the disallowed goal, as the non-league put their illustrious opponents under serious pressure.
Their reward came eight minutes after the break, when the ever-troublesome Deacon capitalises on some defensive hesitancy and was brought down by Leeds defender Louie Coyle.
Collins stepped up and sent Silvestri the wrong way to spark wild celebrations from three sides of Green Gander Lane.
The response from Leeds was far from what was expected, as Sutton saw out the game in a calm and composed manner.
That left their manager to hail a fantastic performance from his side, as he looked ahead to the next round.
“What a fantastic team performance” said a jubilant Doswell.
“We had a game plan today, we stuck to that and we always thought we would get some chances. It was always a case of whether we would get the goal and we did very well.
“We said at half time that we didn’t think they would change throughout the game. We felt after forty five minutes we were dominant.
“Credit to us because the likes of Doukara, Antonsson and Dallas were playing.
“We screen our back four very well today and that four really protected them. We knew on the break we would have chances.
“Roarie (Deacon) has had two or three fantastic strikes that the keeper should have saved and he did.
“We said at half time if we get ourselves a goal, they won’t change too much”
Doswell believes that the prize money gained from the cup run can be a “life-changer” for Sutton United.
With a live television tie likely in the Fifth Round, the U’s manager believes that the pressure is now taken off his chairman Bruce Elliott and his board of directors.
Doswell admitted “It is a life-changer now. You hope and you pray that you get a Liverpool or a Manchester United or a Manchester City, well that can’t happen now because Liverpool are out aren’t they?
“You are looking for one of the big clubs because this club deserves that.
“My chairman is up there, the board of directors work for free and it will take a large amount of pressure of him.
“It will help us build the infrastructure here”
Incredibly the U’s will take their place in the Fifth Round draw alongside the three most successful sides in the competition’s illustrious history.
A trip to multiple-winners Manchester United, Arsenal and Spurs could be on the agenda for Doswell and his side when the draw is made on Monday evening.
And the former Eastleigh manager is being too picky when it comes to which side he hopes to face in the last sixteen of the competition.
“It has to be Manchester United away, Manchester City away, Chelsea, I could name any of them really
“When you take in terms of those teams we would like it to be here.
“It’s not about the finances now, the club has done well enough in that sense”
Article: Mark Carruthers (@marknldaily)
Images: Reuters Media (Action Images)