History to be made at the first Sutton showdown
History to be made with the first ‘Sutton Showdown’ at Gander Green Lane.
Formed in 1978 by Chairman Alan Salmon, Sutton Common Rovers have dreamed about the day that they would face their landlords Sutton United.
A Sunday league side till 2005, the first round draw for the Specsavers Surrey Senior Cup has thrown up a massive fixture for the people of Sutton – as the non-league giants of Sutton United will face Sutton Common Rovers for the first time in a competitive fixture.
Ahead of the mouth-watering all-Sutton cup tie, we caught up with the Sutton Common Rovers Manager Darren Salmon ahead of their local derby to discuss their form this year, what this means for their chances, and their relationship with Sutton United.
A Non-League Powerhouse
“It’s a huge tie for us, something we had hoped would happen ever since we moved back to the borough. For a club like ours that as recently as 2005 was just a Sunday side, the chance to test ourselves against such a non-league powerhouse, is unbelievable,” said Darren Salmon.
“Confidence is good, we had a decent start to the season, but then hit a really sticky spell where we lost three games on the spin and barely registered a shot on target.
“We came out of that positively, and having held league leaders Chertsey to a 1-1 draw (they had won all of their league games up to that point) confidence is sky high. Despite that we know we can play better, which can only be a good thing.
A remarkable 82 positions sit between the two sides going into the Surrey Senior Cup fixture. Sutton United currently in 9th in the National League, whilst Sutton Common Rovers currently in 4th in the Combined Counties Premier Division.
The U’s make the very short trip
Founded in 1898 120 years ago, Sutton United started in local junior leagues before climbing up the tiers, eventually reaching the Isthmian League in 1964.
They currently play in the National League, one league below the Football League, coming close to promotion last season after losing a playoff semi-final 3-2 to Boreham Wood.
Sutton United are the kings of the Specsavers Surrey Senior Cup winning the competition a massive 15 times, the most of any team competing in the competition. The U’s have had a drought however, not winning since 2002/03 - so they’ll be eager to win their 16th trophy.
They have a strong history of cup success and in recent years many will remember them reaching the 5th round of the FA Cup in 2016/17 season after beating three Football League Teams such as Cheltenham Town, AFC Wimbledon and Leeds United.
They welcomed Premier League giants Arsenal to Gander Green Lane for the biggest night in their history where they lost 2-0, but the magnificent run will always be a top highlight in the U’s 120 year history.
The importance of form & the cup
“Good form is important, but let’s be honest we could be in the form of our lives, but if Sutton are anywhere near the top of their game it will be a tough night for us,” continued Darren.
The occasion will be a boost for the lads, and hopefully there will be a few hundred in attendance, which will also help us,” said Darren Salmon.
“Obviously you want to have a good run in every cup competition, and this is no different, however you have to be realistic.”
“On the pitch, I would imagine we will give it a good go and see how far that takes us. Whatever happens, there is a great relationship between the clubs,” Darren concluded. “Bruce Elliot and Bobby Childs have always been very helpful and treated us with respect, and we will be eternally grateful for them getting us back into the borough.”
The Specsavers Surrey Senior Cup fixture between Sutton Common Rovers and Sutton United will take place on Monday 22nd October, 7:45pm @The Knights Community Stadium, Gander Green Lane, Sutton.