Sutton United 1 (Rowe 90+3) Crewe Alexandra (Agyei 33)
Coby Rowe's third goal in as many games rescued a point for Sutton on a day when U's were far from their best and looked likely to have the 125th anniversary celebrations dampened by a Crewe side who grabbed the lead just after the half hour and then defended resolutely, even after the sending off of centre back Rod McDonald midway through the second half had reduced their defensive manpower.
It was a game of many stoppages and no great quality, but Sutton's renowned spirit was again in evidence, and after McDonald's red card U's had put the visitors under enough pressure to fully deserve the reward that came through Rowe's late header.
With Ali Smith and Donovan Wilson injured U's brought in Omar Bugiel after his suspension while Harry Beautyman returned in midfield, but an untidy start to the game saw both sides struggle to gain any fluency, and neither goalkeeper was called in to serious action. It btook over half an hour for either side to win a corner, but when one came it proved decisive as Tariq Uwakwe's corner was headed in from close range by Daniel Agyei.
Agyei was a threat all afternoon, and might have contributed to a second goal as he played Elliot Nevitt through on the left, but his angled shot was beaten away by Jack Rose and it was U's who finished the half on the front foot and should have been level when Bugiel's header fell to Angol twelve yards out but he shot disappointingly straight at James Beadle.
An even better chance came Crewe's way inside the first five minutes of the second half when McDonald instigated a fine counter attack after a Sutton corner. Agyei continued the break and fizzed a cross to the far post where Sean Robertson was arriving but was unable to keep his shot down.
The game began to shift Sutton's way just after the hour mark when McDonald's high challenge on Angol saw referee Daniel Middleton produce an immediate red card, and the resulting free kick almost led to an equaliser as Beautyman's shot from the corner of the penalty area went just wide of the far post. U's became more dominant territorially, but Crewe's defence was solid and Sutton's final pass disappointing, a number of crosses cut out by the first defender. Bugiel and Craig Eastmond had shots blocked, Joe Kizzi sent two headers wide and substitute Matt Dennis was also off target with a header and failed to get enough power on a shot after another substitute, Kylian Kouassi, had headed a cross down in to his path.
It looked likely that U's 125th anniversary celebrations would fall a bit flat with defeat, but three minutes in to stoppage time the ball was worked to Kizzi on the right, and his chipped cross found Rowe in space to loop a perfect header beyond Beadle and in to the corner of the net.
Sutton wore the red of Sutton Guild Rovers to commemorate one of the two clubs who merged to form Sutton United 125 years ago. The kit also featured a picture of the Sutton Association team (who wore our famous amber and chocolate colours) in the collar. It also featured the very first used SUFC Crest and the names of the around 2,500 players who have pulled on the famous shirt sublimated on the back.
Sutton: J Rose, J Kizzi, S Hart(sub R Milsom 75), C Rowe, B Goodliffe, C Eastmond, D Ajiboye, L Angol(sub M Dennis 70), O Bugiel(sub K Kouassi 75), H Beautyman, W Randall(sub E Boldewijn 75). Subs n/u B House, C Dundas, A Lovatt. Booked: Eastmond
Crewe: J Beadle, K Mellor, R Adebisi, S Robertson(sub R Griffiths 71), R McDonald, L Offord, R Finnigan(sub C Thomas 51), T Uwakwe, E Nevitt(sub C Baker-Richardson 71), J Tabiner(sub C Ainley 60), D Agyei. Subs n/u D Richards, C Colkett, L Brook. Booked: Tabiner, Finnigan. Sent Off: McDonald (serious foul play).
Referee: Daniel Middleton
Attendance: 3,594(372 away)