Skip to content

Matthew Hanlan: Sutton v Coventry 1989


Matthew Hanlan scores in a famous game in Sutton's history. An FA cup third round FA Cup win. Here is his reflection on the goal: 

remember the goal vividly, probably helped by the fact that it makes an appearance, in some form or another, most years around the FA Cup 3rd round time.

We had arrived at the ground early in preparation of the expected capacity crowd at Gander Green Lane and used the time to practice our set plays in Collingwood rec outside the ground. The practise session was shocking and as far as i can remember not one of the planned set plays came off.

We retired to the changing rooms for a pre match meal and to start our preparation for the game, i had to soak my feet to bring them back to life after the visit to the rec earlier. It was amazing to see the little ground starting to fill up as we did our warm up on the pitch. 

Before i knew it the game had started and we were holding our own against a team that were in the top six of the then First Division. I remember having a half chance that led to the corner that Tony scored from and wheeling away in delight after seeing his header hit the back of the net.

I have no recollection of the half time team talk, but needless to say’s sure it didn’t involve giving away an equaliser at the start of the second half, which of course is what happened, David Phillips finishing cooly after bisecting Robin Jones and myself!

Shortly after we won a corner following a long ball forward, Micky Stevens pulled it short towards the corner of the penalty area, where Phil Dawson had arrived after ghosting in from the right back area, his first time ball came across the penalty area, through a crowd of players. I had started my run level with the edge of the six yard box and followed that line for my run in, i arrived in front of the goal as the ball arrived about knee high, leaving me the simple task of side footing a volley into the open goal.

The rest they say is history, although i should probably have worked on the celebration!

When i do watch to again i’m not really sure how they didn’t equalise in the last 15 minutes or so, some brave defending and great goal keeping obviously kept the score line at 2-1 until the final whistle, when the ground went crazy and the team had star status for the next two weeks at least.

I look back at the day, which was by far the most memorable day of my so called career, with fond memories and I sometimes have to pinch myself to believe that i am a very little part of FA Cup history and as a result have been able to enjoy and take part in some wonderful occasions that i could only have dreamt about.


Frame not included.