Kenyan striker Jonay Ayunga in a past game. He provided an assist on Sat 20 Oct for a winning goal that sent United to the first round of the FA Cup Photo credit - Getty Images
Assist by Harambee Stars prospect keeps United's FA Cup hopes alive
By Patrick Korir | Mon 22 Oct, 2018 17:00

Kenyan striker Jonah Ayunga's influence at the death handed English fifth tier side Sutton United a 2-1 win over Wealdstone on Saturday 20 October, and a place in the first round of the FA Cup in a tough and intense battle at the Vale.

A call by Sutton United head coach Paul Doswell to replace London-born striker Tom Bolarinwa with Ayunga on 55 minutes had good returns as the Harambee Stars prospect unearthed a great sense of occasion to lay on the assist that Aron Drinan had been praying for to finish off Wealdstone deep in added time thereby avoiding a replay. 

Drama filled ending

Not only did the Ayunga-Drinan combo confirm entry to the first round; it further delivered £25,000 (Kshs. 3.2m) to the team's coffers. 

It was a drama filled ending to the game but it is the chorus of the Sutton fans that defined the finish. Sutton were as good as out as the home team was awarded a last minute penalty after the ejection of Sutton midfielder Nicky Bailey.

But goalkeeper Jamie Butler came to their aid as he saved Bradley Bubb's spot-kick gifting Sutton a chance of a lifetime. They did not waste it as substitute Ayunga broke through before squaring a pass to Drinan to fire home his maiden club goal, the most important one at that.

Lelan 

Two set pieces had the teams level five minutes after the hour mark. Bub's first penalty on 50 minutes had the hosts 1-0 to the good till Jamie Collins responded in similar fashion for the visitors in the 65th minute. 

Ayunga will be joined in the first round by Aldershot Town, home to Kenyan defender Josh Kipkemboi Lelan. 

Aldershot clawed Kettering Town 2-0 at the Electrical Services Stadium in Hampshire on Saturday to proceed. Kettering Town's U21 side has been home to Kenya's junior prospect Maxwell Kerring. 

Lelan, capped once for Kenya, was however an unused substitute in the game. 

Ochieng

As Ayunga and Lelan proceed to FA Cup's first round, another Kenyan Henry Ochieng will miss out after his club Braintree Town that features alongside Sutton and Aldershot in the National Football League, bowed out following a 4-2 beating at the hands of Barnet at the Hive Stadium on Saturday.

Just as Lelan, Ochieng, formerly at Leyton Orient, was an unused substitute in the Braintree Town loss.

Patrick Korir

Twitter: @tipkorir

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