Sutton United 1(Milsom 45+9 pen) Colchester United 0
It wasn't a game that will linger long in the memory, but Sutton recorded a second consecutive crucial home win when Rob Milsom's penalty in first half stoppage time was enough to beat a Colchester side reduced to ten men early in the second half, and who have now lost ten of their eleven away league games this season and dropped in to the bottom two with this result.
It was a scrappy game littered with stoppages and marred by a serious knee injury to Colchester's Irish international midfielder Alan Judge, but after Colchester failed to take advantage of a good start, Sutton deserved a victory which would have been more convincing but for an excellent performance from Colchester goalkeeper Kieran O'Hara, but which they might have been denied when Tom Dallison shot over from Colchester's best chance in the closing stages.
On a surface passed fit after a morning inspection, but never entirely easy, both sides made a cautious start but Colchester settled the quicker, without testing Jack Rose. Their best moment came from Junior Tchamadeu, who intercepted a pass deep in his own half and set off on a run that ended close to the edge of the Sutton penalty area but was let down by a tame finish when better options may have been available. O'Hara had to make one good save when Omar Bugiel headed a Milsom free kick towards the corner of the net, and also scrambled away a deflected Donovan Wilson shot, while at the other end Ossama Ashley was inches away from connecting with Alex Newby's cross.
The decisive moment came just as the first half was entering what should have been four minutes of stoppage time, with Will Randall returning Josh Neufville's cross and Milsom caught by Ashley's high boot as he followed up after his first effort was blocked. Referee Peter Wright pointed to the penalty spot and booked Ashley, but attention was soon diverted to the stricken Judge in the six yard box after he and Bugiel had contested the original cross. It took nearly ten minutes for him to receive treatment before being carried off, but Milsom shrugged off the delay with a composed and convincing penalty.
Having been forced in to two changes in the first half, Cole Skuse also going off after a clash of heads with Craig Eastmond, the visitors were pretty much forced in to a third at the interval, replacing skipper Tommy Smith who could easily have been sent off for a foul on Craig Eastmond after already being booked for bringing down Wilson, but they still found themselves down to ten men within seven minutes when Ashley crudely ended a surging run from Bugiel and was shown his second yellow card. But for O'Hara the punishment might have been even greater, as he made a brilliant stop from Ali Smith after the resulting free kick had fallen in to the midfielder's path, and went on to save twice from Eastmond and once from Harry Beautyman, returning to action after his injury lay-off. The keeper's efforts were almost rewarded at the end when a low cross fell to Dallison following a free kick, but he was unable to keep his shot down and U's saw out the victory.
Sutton: J Rose, J Kizzi, R Milsom, J Neufville(sub S Hart 89), C Eastmond, L John, E Boldewijn, A Smith(sub H Beautyman 72), O Bugiel(sub K Kouassi 89), D Wilson(sub T Fadahunsi 61), W Randall. Subs n/u L Ward, L Gambin, C Kendall. Booked: Boldewijn, Randall, Kizzi.
Colchester: K O'Hara, J Tchamadeu, D Chesters, L Chambers, T Smith(sub T Eastman H-T), T Dallison, O Ashley, C Skuse(sub L Hannant 22), K Appiah(sub J Akinde 86), A Judge(sub E Huws 45+8), A Newby(sub S Tovide H-T). Subs n/u T Collins, N Chilvers. Booked: Smith, Ashley, Tchamadeu, Tovide. Sent Off: Ashley (second bookable offence).
Referee: Peter Wright
Attendance: 2,528(275 away)