Gillingham 1 (MacDonald 90+1) Sutton United 0
For the third league game this season Sutton conceded in stoppage time to this time hand Gillingham their second league win of the season. A poor game that had been heading for the goalless draw that would have been a fitting outcome swung Gillingham's way just after the reserve official had held up the board indicating five additional minutes, as Craig Eastmond's mistake in midfield allowed Shaun Williams to set Alex MacDonald through the middle, and the midfielder who had come on as a half time substitute set up the chance for Scott Kashket to fire in a shot, and then continued his run to head the rebound in to the net after Lewis Ward had beaten Kashket's effort out.
There was still time for Sutton to fashion a glorious chance of an equaliser as Joe Kizzi's header fell for Josh Neufville on the corner of the six yard box but his shot flashed across goal and with it went U's hopes of a point.
A game between a side with only two goals in the league so far, and one which has on more than one occasion bemoaned missed opportunities was never likely to be a goalfest, and for long periods that view was borne out as both sides saw promising moves ended by an errant pass or unnecessary foul. Neufville did fire in an early shot for U's which was pushed out by Glenn Morris and cleared, but Sutton will be disappointed not to have put a defence that at times looked uncertain under more pressure and heightened the sense of anxiety that could be felt in the stands.
Those home supporters, having seen only one Gillingham goal on the ground all season, were even more frustrated as their side found the net three times in the first half only to see all the efforts ruled out, Kashket clearly offside on the first occasion before he shot past Ward, but the victim of a much more marginal decision when Will Wright's quick free kick released him on the left and his low cross was turned in by Mikael Mandron. Between those, Ryan Law shot home but Mandron had been penalised, possibly slightly harshly, for dangerous play as he tried to volley the ball goalwards under pressure from Neufville.
The quality failed to improve greatly after the break, with Neufville beating Law on the outside and seeing his cross diverted behind by Max Ehmer, and Gillingham's finishing deserting them as Kashket, the liveliest striker on the pitch, had a shot deflected wide while Hakeeb Adelakun was well off target with an effort from outside the penalty area.
It was in the last ten minutes that chances came more frequently, with Omar Bugiel's header from Joe Kizzi's cross looping inches wide off Wright, but the home side now pressing for the winner. Ward made a good stop with his legs to keep out a Wright shot that came through a crowd of players and also used his legs to clear a low Adelakun shot from the narrowest of angles, while substitute Lewis Walker sent a shot wide on the turn. Given great backing by the home support, though, they were rewarded when Eastmond's miskick allowed Williams the chance to start the move that would end with MacDonald heading in, and when Neufville shot wide from U's best chance.
Sutton: L Ward, J Kizzi, R Milsom, C Rowe, C Eastmond, L John, J Neufville, K Kouassi(sub C Kendall 67), O Bugiel (sub K Thomas 89), H Beautyman(sub J Barden 89), W Randall(sub E Boldewijn 81). Subs n/u B House, A Pierre, A Lovatt. Booked: John, Eastmond.
Gillingham: G Morris, C Alexander, R Law, W Wright, M Ehmer, S Williams, J Green(sub A McDonald H-T), R McKenzie, M Mandron(sub L Walker 81), S Kashket(sub E Baggott 90+3), H Adelakun. Subs n/u J Turner, H Mnoga, J Gbode.
Referee: D Rock
Attendance: 4,153(255 away)