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  • By Yann Tear at Gander Green Lane

Sutton boss happy with direction of travel, despite loss of unbeaten home record


Sutton United (0) 1 Neufville 62

Salford City (0) 2 Lund 80, Watson 87


It was the only game in town. And It was all going swimmingly for Sutton. Until it wasn't.


They are making a habit of mixing it impressively with clubs commanding bigger budgets and were once again looking on course for more home points after taking a deserved lead just past the hour when John Neufville ghosted in to turn in a cross from the left from half-time sub Enzio Boldewijn.


But then the wheels came off thanks to indiscipline as striker Donovan Wilson was given a straight red card six minutes later for an off-the-ball kick at a Salford defender which was spotted by a linesman.


High-riding Salford recognised a gift horse when they saw one and two goals in seven minutes during the final 10 settled the outcome. First, Ibou Touray's dash down the left ended with a cross which Callum Hendry teed up for Matty Lund to put away with a good finish - then Lund himself turned provider with a fine ball through for Ryan Watson to slot home.


There may only have been 116 visiting fans among a season's best crowd of 3,404 but they were the ones making the noise at Gander Green Lane, with just three minutes remaining.


It was a bitter pill for the home side to swallow and boss Matt Gray admitted feeling a great sense of frustration. But he was also hugely encouraged by the bigger picture and the promise of having a say at the right end of the table once more.


And he will hope that some of the casual visitors who turned up in the absence of any action in the top two divisions this international weekend will be tempted back.


"It's obviously helped being the only league game in London today," said Gray of an attendance swollen by offers of half-price tickets to season-ticket holders of other London clubs.


"The home support was excellent and I think for anyone, if they haven't been down here before or only a few times, they will have gone home feeling they've seen a really entertaining side, who give their all and fight for everything.


"On the ball, some of the passing and chances we created were excellent - I think they'll see a team that can do everything in this league and that's why we've been so successful in the last couple of years."





Gray continued: "Apart from that one moment, I was so proud of my players. Donovan's done so well for me since he's come to the club. Unfortunately it was just an out-of-character moment and that's cost us the game, but hopefully I won't see that from him again. He's apologised to everybody.


"I say it to the players week in, week out, it's not just discipline in terms of cards, but also in terms of giving silly free-kicks away in key areas and we have been and hope to continue being a very disciplined side. We very rarely get any red cards and unfortunately today's one, against a very good side, has cost us."


Some of that indiscipline was also evident after the final whistle as some of the players got involved in disputes with Salford players. It led to a yellow for Harry Beautyman.


"It's frustrating but I thought we were absolutely outstanding," Gray insisted. "We had complete and utter domination and that certainly changed the game. It's really harsh to lose the game. They are on one of the biggest budgets in the league and we are on one of the smallest but we got right after them."


The Ambers boss added: "Disappointing today not to keep the unbeaten home record going and we've been really good away from home but just haven't got the results we've deserved. I think there's a hell of a lot more to come for us.


"We've got seven injuries at the moment, so the squad's a little bit thin but our squad today I was proud of every single one of them today.


Ambers: (4-4-2) Ward - Kizzi, Rowe, John, Barden (Kendall 90) - Neufville, Beautyman, Eastmond, Randall (Boldewijn h/t) - Bugiel (Kouassi 83), Wilson. Subs not used: House, Lovatt, Gambin, Pierre


Salford: (3-4-1-2) Chapman - Lowe (Leak 76), Vassell, Touray - Bolton, Watson, Watt, Berkoe (Bailey 76) - Lund - Smith, Hendry (Eastham 90). Subs not used: Simoes, Galbraith, Jenkins, Torrance


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