Sutton will spend Christmas in an automatic promotion spot in Sky Bet League Two after Donovan Wilson's first half goal was enough to shade a hard fought game against Harrogate, who may well have been the second side in the space of three weeks to head back north from the VBS Community Stadium thinking that they deserved something from the game.
Wilson's goal, a good finish after being put through superbly by Omar Bugiel, was Sutton's best moment of a scrappy first half and in the second half it was the defence that came to the fore as the visitors battled hard to avoid a third consecutive defeat at the ground. Indeed so well did U's defend that, until a superb late save from Dean Bouzanis to deny substitute Jack Muldoon, the closest either side came to changing the scoreline was at the other end as Will Randall was twice only narrowly off target.
Harrogate began brightly, with Alex Pattison prominent,as he would be throughout the game, but apart from one shot dragged wide by George Thomson there was no direct threat to U's goal, and U's began to create openings for themselves. Randall combined well with Ben Wyatt on the left before cutting in and sending in a superb cross which needed just a touch but ended up bouncing just wide of the far post, and three minutes later U's were in front. The ball fell to Bugiel after Wilson and Connor Hall had contested a clearance from Louis John, and with Wilson reacting slightly quicker than his opponent he stayed just onside to collect Bugiel's perfectly timed pass and slot the ball confidently past the advancing Mark Oxley.
Harrogate almost responded three minutes later after Jon Barden was booked for a foul on Jack Diamond, but Thomson's free kick was over the bar, and they started the second half well, with many spectators still coming back to their seats when Ben Goodliffe had to intercept Thomson's dangerous cross and sent the ball over his own goal.
The visitors gifted U's a chance seven minutes in to the half when, anticipating that a Bugiel challenge on Josh Falkingham would be penalised, Lloyd Kerry picked the ball up and referee Josh Smith instead awarded the free kick against him for handball. However Rob Milsom, like Thomson in the first half, was unable to keep his free kick under the bar, and Kerry was soon involved more positively at the other end, combining with Thomson to give Pattison a shooting chance on the right of the penalty area and his angled shot was turned away by Bouzanis.
With Harrogate's attack still lively U's keeper continued to be the busier of the two, but without being seriously tested as Connor Hall's glancing header from Thomson's corner was held comfortably above his head, and substitute Simon Power, having created space for a shot, drilled it low but straight at Bouzanis whose most anxious moment came when Hall almost caught him out of position with a speculative long range shot that wasn't that far wide woth Bouzabnis scrambling. At the other end Ali Smith slid in to send a low David Ajiboye cross just wide with substitute Isaac Olaofe waiting just behind him, while Randall sent a low shot just wide of the far post after Richie Bennett had guided the ball in to his path, and then just missed the near post with another low shot after cutting in from the left.
Harrogate piled on the pressure towards the end, but Sutton's defence cleared or blocked everything, with the attacking players as prominent as the defenders in their efforts, and on the one occasion that a cross, from Ryan Fallowfield, did get through, Jack Muldoon's header was superbly tipped on to the bar by Bouzanis, John cleared the rebound, and U's had the points.
Sutton: D Bouzanis, J Barden, B Wyatt, A Smith, B Goodliffe, L John, D Ajiboye(sub E Boldewijn 88), D Wilson(sub I Olaofe 69), O Bugiel(sub R Bennett 64), R Milsom, W Randall. Subs n/u T Sho-Silva, R Korboa, J Kizzi, F Chalupniczak. Booked: Barden, Bugiel.
Harrogate: M Oxley, N Sheron(sub R Fallowfield 83), L Page, J Falkingham, C Hall, W Burrell, G Thomson(sub S Power 74), L Kerry(sub J Muldoon 65), L Armstrong, J Diamond, A Pattison. Subs n/u D Orsi, J Cracknell. Booked: Diamond, Falkingham.
Referee: Josh Smith
Attendance: 2,720(90 away)