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  • By Dan Evans at Cherry Red Records Stadium

Gray 'so proud' as Sutton end losing streak at expense of neighbours Wimbledon

Sutton United manager Matt Gray was delighted with his side’s South London derby victory against AFC Wimbledon at the Cherry Red Records Stadium on Saturday.

The U’s ended a run of four consecutive defeats thanks to a first-half goal from captain Craig Eastmond, and their boss felt they more than merited the three points against their local rivals.

“It was a superb performance after a tough couple of weeks for us,” said Gray. “When we have to roll up our sleeves, we can certainly dig out a performance. I’m really proud of all of the players, they’ve been outstanding.”

Gray, who had eight injuries to contend with heading into the game, was forced to field winger Enzio Boldewijn at right-back and reserved special praise for the Dutchman.

“He’s a great lad and great character

“I had no choice today, I had to ask him to play right-back for us and what a great performance he put in.”

The 41-year-old also had sympathy for his opposite number Johnnie Jackson, a former team-mate of his from his days as a Tottenham youth-teamer, in regards to the nature of Eastmond’s decisive goal.

The skipper’s emphatic finish came after Dons ‘keeper Nick Tzanev had collided with team-mate Jack Currie, with Wimbledon players and staff adamant that Currie had been pushed.

“I wouldn’t be happy the other way around,” Gray admitted.

“I’ve only seen it in real time but it looked like a melee. I can see why the referee may have given a foul in there.”

However, Gray was keen to ensure his players and his club remained the talking point of the day, praising a sold-out away end for their never-ending support.

“I’m really pleased for the away faithful. They’ve been patient, they’ve travelled the length and breadth of the country to see us perform well on the road, but we’ve not got what we’ve deserved.

There was little chance of Gray getting carried away following the victory though, as he confessed that his thoughts are very much on Tuesday’s encounter with Oxford United in the Papa John’s Trophy.

“Let’s just keep churning out results at this stage of the season and see where we are,” he said.


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