Sutton United 1 (Neufville 62) Salford City 2 (Lund 80, Watson 87)
An afternoon that for nearly 70 minutes had gone as well as Sutton could have wanted turned sour after the dismissal of striker Donovan Wilson following an off the ball clash with Salford's Theo Vassell, as Salford took advantage of the extra player to score twice in the last eleven minutes and inflict on U's a first league defeat of the season.
Until Wilson's departure for a kick out at Vassell which was spotted by assistant referee Anthony Da Costa, U's had been the better side and put themselves deservedly in front through a far post volley from Josh Neufville that converted a fine cross from substitute Enzio Boldewijn, but although U's seemed at first to be able to survive going down to ten men an equaliser from Matty Lund gave the visitors the encouragement to push on for the winner, which arrived three minutes from time through Ryan Watson, although it needed a stoppage time save from Jacob Chapman, making his first league appearance of the season, to deny Kylian Kouassi an equaliser.
Sutton's goalkeeper was also making his first appearance in the league this season, Lewis Ward replacing the injured Jack Rose, but he had little action in the first half as Sutton enjoyed the better of the game. That said, he ought to have been given no chance after quarter of an hour when Luke Bolton's cross found Callum Hendry unmarked but the striker could only prod the ball straight at Ward.
Will Randall enjoyed another excellent half, shooting just wide after one run cutting in from the left, and tackled on the edge of the penalty area after another jinking run, and he also delivered two dangerous free kicks, one just evading the lunging Omar Bugiel and the other headed across goal and inches wide by Louis John.
The winger didn't reappear for the second half due to injury, being replaced by Enzio Boldewijn, and after John's superb block had kept out Hendry's shot and redeemed his own error in missing an interception that allowed Matt Smith to set up the chance, Boldewijn was the instigator as U's broke the deadlock, his superb cross from the left met on the volley by Neufville at the far post.
It was no more than U's deserved, although Matt Smith might have equalised immediately when he headed wide from Hendry's cross, but six minutes later Wilson's clash with Vassell saw referee Rob Lewis produce a red card after consultation with his assistant, Vassell booked for his part in the incident. At first the dismissal didn't appear to be hampering U's efforts, but the introduction of Odin Bailey and Ryan Leak bolstered Salford's attacking threats, and after two corners had seen Smith, Leak and Lund all have efforts blocked, Bailey's cross from the left was neatly set up by Hendry for Lund to place his shot past a wrongfooted Ward.
The force was now with Salford, and Ward had to move to his right to claim a Smith header, but he was helpless when Hendry and Lund combined again through the middle and John could only divert Lund's pass in to the path of Watson, who slotted the ball in to the far corner.
U's threw Charley Kendall on for the closing stages in a search for the equaliser, and it nearly came when Ward's long free kick caused a scramble in the penalty area and Kouassi showed brilliant close control before getting in a shot that was slightly deflected and tipped round the post by Chapman. Ward was in the penalty area for the resulting corner and won a header which was diverted behind for another corner, which U's had no chance to take before the final whistle, and with arguments continuing Harry Beautyman was booked for a comment to the referee
Sutton: L Ward, J Kizzi, J Barden(sub C Kendall 90+1), C Rowe, C Eastmond, L John, J Neufville, D Wilson, O Bugiel(sub K Kouassi 83), H Beautyman, W Randall(sub E Boldewijn H-T). Subs n/u B House, L Gambin, A Lovatt, A Pierre. Booked: Beautyman. Sent Off: Wilson(violent conduct)
Salford: J Chapman, L Bolton, I Touray, J Lowe(sub R Leak 76), T Vassell, E Watt, R Watson, M Lund, C Hendry(sub A Eastham 90+5), M Smith, K Berkoe(sub O Bailey 76). Subs n/u E Simoes, E Galbraith, J Jenkins, J Torrance. Booked: Watt, Chapman, Vassell, Hendry.
Referee: Rob Lewis
Attendance: 3,404(116 away)