Football: All of a Sutton

Wimbledon 0 Blackburn Rovers 1 Sutton 6 Attendance: 15,600
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The Independent Online
Chris Sutton's 10th goal of the season after only six minutes proved the difference between two sides whose contrasting styles cancelled each other out to such an extent that this became a staggeringly sterile occasion.

An early goal can be the catalyst for a high-tempo contest but this was anything but. Wimbledon were strangely subdued, while Blackburn, sophisticated and diligent in midfield, lacked the firepower to add to Sutton's early strike.

Colin Hendry and his Swiss central defensive partner Stephane Henchoz stood up to Wimbledon's usual aerial assault, which by the end saw all four of their 6ft-plus strikers in imposing unison. But it was Sutton who stole the show, breaking the Dons' dodgy offside trap and sliding a low, angled shot through Neil Sullivan's legs.

Wimbledon struggled to respond, Efan Ekoku heading tamely at Tim Flowers from Vinnie Jones' cross while Carl Cort, four goals in his first five games, threatened on several occasions. Just before half-time, Wimbledon might have equalised when Cort's header was cleared off the line by Jeff Kenna. Jones led a forceful appeal to Wendy Toms on the grounds that the ball had crossed the line, but the assistant referee bravely stood her ground.

Ten minutes into the second half Sherwood ball-watched as Ekoku, a yard from goal, nodded Jones' long throw straight at Flowers. Kinnear then threw on Jason Euell and Marcus Gayle and was nearly rewarded as Euell's enthusiasm won a free-kick 30 yards out and Cort headed just wide from Kenny Cunningham's subsequent cross.

Gallacher, Garry Flitcroft and Sutton all demonstrated an urgent need for shooting practice as the gaps inevitably opened up at the other end, then Jones headed a good chance wide. But if all this sounds like end- to-end stuff, it was hardly pulsating.

"We're disappointed that we didn't some reward for all our hard work," Kinnear said. "We certainly deserved something and Blackburn will think they're very lucky to come away with all three points."

His counterpart, Roy Hodgson, merely expressed his satisfaction and will be hoping that October brings him better tidings than those of the last month.

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