Crewe Alexandra 1 (Baker-Richardson 12) Sutton United 0
Sutton endured a second frustrating away trip in Sky Bet League Two, returning empty handed from the Mornflake Stadium after a game in which U's started slowly and fell behind early on, but by the end the game was being played almost exclusively in the Crewe half and U's will wonder how at least one of the chances created wasn't converted to provide some reward.
With Omar Bugiel failing to recover from the injury that forced him off on Saturday, Kwame Thomas came in to the starting line-up, and it was U's who had the first clear chance when Enzio Boldewijn collected a cleared free kick and found Harry Beautyman in space on the left of the penalty area, but Beautyman sliced his shot wide.
Instead of being ahead, U's found themselves behind three minutes later when Dan Agyei, Crewe's best outfield player on the night, collected a crossfield pass from Conor Thomas and outpaced Jon Barden on the left before crossing low, and Courtney Baker-Richardson arrived to convert the cross with a powerful first time finish.
Sutton responded immediately as Donovan Wilson ran on to a Kwame Thomas header and Arthur Okonkwo was off his line quickly to save, and from the resulting corner Louis John headed just over. U's were then indebted to a fine block from Rob Milsom to deny Lachlan Brook following another low Agyei cross, U's temporarily a player short as John was down injured, but on the stroke of half time should have equalised when headers from Thomas and Josh Neufville again put Wilson through, but his attempted lob over Okonkwo lacked the required height and from the rebound Beautyman's shot clipped the top of the crossbar.
Sutton started the second half on the front foot and that would remain the pattern of the game as chances came but weren't taken. Apart from one cross-cum-shot from Agyei which Jack Rose had to tip over, U's keeper was restricted to fielding long range shots and it was Okonkwo who was by far the busier, enjoying a fine game as he stuck out a foot to divert John's close range effort wide following a Milsom free kick, and when the resulting corner saw John win a header on the edge of the penalty area and find Joe Kizzi in space, Okonkwo dived to his left to turn aside Kizzi's powerful volley.
Neufville was also denied by the keeper after cutting in from the left and shooting low, while referee Thomas Parsons turend away two penatly appeals, one when Wilson appeared to be pulled back by Conor Thomas as he tried to reach a ball at the near post, and then when substitute Kylian Kouassi felt he was pushed in the back, the referee adding insult to injury by penalising Kouassi for handball.
U's rang the changes in an effort to find the elusive equaliser, and one on the replacements, Luke Gambin, was denied a shooting opportunity on the edge of the penalty area by Tariq Uwakwe's foul for which the Crewe player was booked. Gambin's disappointing free kick hit the wall, but the ball rebounded to him and his cross was headed over by Kizzi as U's last chance went begging.
Crewe: A Okonkwo, K Mellor, B Sass-Davis, Z Williams, L Brook(sub K Leshabela 90+1), L Offord, T Uwakwe C Thomas, C Baker-Richardson, C Ainley(sub O Finney 89), D Agyei. Subs n/u T Booth, R Griffiths, C Finney, J Tabiner, C Evans. Booked: Uwakwe, Okonkwo
Sutton: J Rose, J Barden(sub A Smith 81) R Milsom, J Kizzi, C Eastmond, L John, E Boldewijn, D Wilson(sub T Fadahunsi 81), K Thomas(sub K Kouassi 63), H Beautyman, J Neufville (sub L Gambin 81). Subs n/u B House, C Dundas, M Ridley. Booked: Eastmond, Beautyman
Attendance: 3,452 (117 away)
Referee: Thomas Parsons