Sutton United 2 (Beautyman 21, Kouassi 70) Harrogate Town 1(Armstrong 45+2 pen)
Sutton rounded off a fine week with a third victory as substitute Kylian Kouassi came off the bench to score the winner twenty minutes from time and register his first senior competitive goal. Kouassi had only been on the pitch for four minutes when he reacted quickly as Craig Eastmond's shot was deflected in to his path and rifled a shot in to the roof of the net.
It gave U's a deserved victory after a performance which particularly in the first half some excellent football might have been rewarded by more than one goal, but after twice striking the woodwork Harrogate levelled seconds before half time, and for a while Sutton struggled to recapture the first half form before the introduction of Kouassi swung momentum in U's favour, with the sending off of Harrogate substitute George Horbury two minutes after Kouassi's goal further hampering the visitors, who were unable to improve on their record of never having avoided defeat at the VBS.
Despite some impressive showings against Chelsea on Wednesday U's opted for an unchanged line-up from the victory against Mansfield a week earlier, and began on the front foot, Will Randall and Josh Neufville both threatening on the flanks as U's moved the ball well to bring them in to the game. Donovan Wilson should have put U's in front when put through by Randall, but a heavy touch forced him slightly wide and a combination of goalkeeper Pete Jameson and defender Kayne Ramsay diverted the ball away for a corner.
Jameson clawed away a looping effort from Joe Kizzi following a corner, but was beaten in the 21st minute when Harry Beautyman timed his run perfectly to meet a superb Kizzi cross in front of Jameson and head in to the net.
Beautyman might have had another soon afterwards when he glanced Milsom's quick free kick wide, and Jameson again denied Kizzi when he tipped the ball over the bar as the defender's header bounced up off the ground, while Randall and Neufville saw shots flash across goal and Wilson had an effort deflected wide.
Harrogate had offered little threat in the first half hour, but new signings Dior Angus and Josh Coley began to make an impact as half time approached, Angus rattling a shot against the angle of post and bar after being put in on the right by Luke Armstrong, and Coley producing a fine piece of skill to beat Louis John and hitting a powerful shot that clipped the crossbar on the way over.
The equaliser did come, however, in the second minute of stoppage time when Armstrong was brought down by John as he tried to work a shooting position, and picked himself up to score from the penalty spot.
Coley almost had a debut goal early in the second half, again some fine skill leaving John and Craig Eastmond on the ground but the finish again too high, and for a while U's struggled to regain the first half form. Neufville saw a low shot from the edge of the penalty area saved by Jameson, but the introduction of Kouassi gave U's renewed impetus and within four minutes, after referee Neil Hair played a superb advantage to allow U's to build an attack after Louis John had been fouled, Eastmond ran on to Neufville's pass and hit a first time shot which was blocked in to the path of Kouassi, whose instinctive finish sent the ball high in to the net.
Two minutes later Horbury, who had come on just before the hour mark, launched himself in to a tackle on Beautyman and was sent off, leaving Harrogate to play the last twenty minutes with ten men, and although Ramsay hit the side netting following a corner, and Jack Rose was booked for time wasting near the end, U's saw the game out relatively comfortably to move in to the top half of the table.
Sutton: J Rose, J Kizzi, R Milsom, C Rowe, C Eastmond, L John, J Neufville, D Wilson(sub T Fadahunsi 80), K Thomas(sub K Kouassi 66), H Beautyman(sub A Smith 80), W Randall. Subs n/u J Barden, E Boldewijn, C Kendall, B House. Booked: Rose
Harrogate: P Jameson, M Welch-Hayes, J Mattock, K Ramsay, L Richards(sub G Horbury 59), W Burrell, M Daly(sub D Grant 66), D Angus(sub J Muldoon 76), L Armstrong, J Coley, J Austerfield. Subs n/u M Oxley, S Folarin, K Ferguson, E Ilesanmi. Booked: Richards, Austerfield. Sent Off: Horbury(73 - serious foul play).
Referee: Neil Hair
Attendance: 2,402(69 away)