It was a familiar story at Gander Green Lane on Saturday as Sutton enjoyed plenty of the ball, played some pleasing football and spent a large proportion of the 90 minutes attacking, but again finished with only a point to show for their efforts and are now the only Blue Square Bet South team without a league win following Tonbridge’s 4-2 defeat of Boreham Wood.
It would have been a travesty had U’s not taken something from the game, as goalkeeper Tom Lovelock has scarcely a shot to save all afternoon and was only beaten when Simon Downer temporarily lost his bearings four minutes before half time.
For all the pleasant football, though, a lot of it was played too far away from goal to hurt Havant in a first half in which Clark Masters was little busier than Lovelock.
Havant’s attacking threat took a blow early on when Sahr Kabba, who has often caused U’s problems in his Weston-super-Mare days, was forced to limp off.
But they did have a half chance when a cross was headed down for Christian Nanetti, who had momentarily nipped ahead of Anthony Riviere but was forced by the defender’s fine recovery to shoot high over the bar.
Harry Beautyman wasted Sutton’s best moment when he failed to control a Riviere cross after arriving late at the far post.
The afternoon then took a sharp downward turn when Ollie Palmer’s cross from the right saw Downer turn the ball in to his own net as he tried to clear at the near post.
Sutton’s reaction was a double substitution at half time and a more direct approach, and within a minute of his arrival Stefan Payne was making his presence felt as Craig Watkins’ low cross arrived at his feet, and his low shot was blocked by former Sutton defender Sam Page, sliding in with more than a suspicion of handball.
A mistake by Jamie Stuart allowed Ryan Moss the chance to double Havant’s lead but he shot wide and for much of the rest of the half it was a question of whether Sutton could score as they spent long periods in the visitors’ half but again found their efforts frustrated in or around the edge of the penalty area.
Nick McKoy won a free kick right on the edge of the penalty area only for Beautyman’s shot to rebound off the defensive ‘wall’, but with twenty minutes left the breakthrough came from a free kick much further out which was lifted in by Gareth Gwillim and headed on to Watkins beyond the far post.
He headed the ball back across goal, and although for a moment it seemed as though this chance would also go begging Dundas, arguably Sutton’s best player on the day, eventually forced it over the line.
U’s pressed for the winner, but Havant were happy to defend and then clear long in to the Sutton half.
There were half chances, with McKoy volleying over, Payne’s shot blocked and Beautyman driving a shot across goal, but nothing more as U’s had to settle for the point.
Sutton: K Scriven, A Riviere, G Gwillim, J Stuart, S Downer(sub S Rents 73), N McKoy, R Jones (sub K Ibe H-T), C Watkins, c Dundas, H Beautyman, K Vassell (sub S Payne H-T). Subs n/u: T
Kavanagh, M Abnett, Goal: Dundas(70). Booked: Beautyman (62-foul), Dundas(75-foul).
Havant: C Masters, P Hinshelwood, C Arthur, E Hutchinson, S Page, E Harris, T Taggart, A Dawson, S Kabba(sub R Moss 15), O Palmer(sub S Jones 83), C Nanetti(sub P Ryan 58). Subs n/u R
Woodford, S Ramsey. Goal: Downer(41 og).
Referee: Stephen Daly (Stanwell Moor) Attendance: 826