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  • Writer's pictureBy Dan Evans

Matt Gray hails Sutton’s dominant derby day performance against the Dons

Sutton United manager Matt Gray believed his side’s 2-1 New Year’s Day win against AFC Wimbledon should have been a far more comfortable affair than the score line suggested.

A second-half strike from Omar Bugiel secured the win for the U’s at Gander Green Lane after Will Randall and Josh Davison had traded goals in the opening 45, helping Sutton move above their south London rivals in the League Two table.

The home side passed up a number of opportunities to increase their lead after Randall’s 13th-minute opener, and Gray felt his men should have been further ahead before Davison found the net five minutes from half-time.

“We should have been out of sight to be honest, 3 or 4-0,” he said. “It should have been game over, we were excellent.”

“We had great spirit, desire, character but with real good quality. We were outstanding today.”

Sutton are now just three points shy of the fourth-tier playoff places having secured a fourth home league win on the bounce.

Whilst Gray was keen not to allow either his players or the club’s supporters to get carried away by their recent form, he was pleased with the recent upturn in fortunes after a run of just one win in nine League Two matches back in the autumn.

“We had to get through a difficult period by nicking points and continuing to improve,” explained the Sutton boss.

“To have 35 points at the start of the new year is absolutely magnificent considering what we have gone through.

“Now let’s get to 50 as soon as we can.”

The 41-year-old could also not hide his delight at being able to welcome winger David Ajiboye back to the club at the start of the January transfer window.

Having starred for Sutton as they secured promotion to League Two and then performing excellently last season in helping the club to a top-half finish and the final of the Papa John’s Trophy, Ajiboye has signed on loan from Peterborough after joining the League One outfit in the summer.

“I love the signing,” admitted Gray. “I had three years of huge success with him (Ajiboye).

“It was a great move for him to go to a team that had just been relegated from the Championship. We could not stand in his way, he deserved it.

“It hasn’t quite worked out in the first half of the season, so there is no better place for him to get a smile back on his face and then go back to Peterborough in the summer.”


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