Sutton United 1 (Kouassi 17) Carlisle United 1(Kizzi og 85)
Sutton finished the EFL season by ending a run of six successive defeats, but were unable to give the home supporters a victory to take in to the close season as Joe Kizzi's luckless own goal with five minutes to go giving Carlisle an equaliser which confirmed their place in the end of season play-offs.
It was an entertaining game, and a Sutton performance that was much improved from the disappointing defeats at Colchester and Rochdale, and while the late own goal denied U's the three points there was much to encourage U's supporters, with Kylian Kouassi making the most of a full 90 minutes with a display that emphasised his promise and Sam Hart enjoying a game as a left sided midfielder.
Kouassi partnered Lee Angol up front in Omar Bugiel's absence, and it was Angol who should have given Sutton an early lead when Ben Goodliffe headed Rob Milsom's free kick across goal, but Angol put his header too high. U's didn't need to wait long to go in front, though, as Kouassi muscled Jack Armer out of a midfield challenge to attack on the right, and having laid the ball back to Enzio Boldewijn continued his run in to the penalty area to receive Boldewijn's return pass and thread a low left footed shot in to the far corner of the net.
Carlisle were almost level immediately as Goodliffe fouled Alfie McCalmont on the edge of the penalty area, and Kristian Dennis smacked a ferocious free kick against the bar, with McCalmont's miscued attempt from the rebound looping just wide. However Sutton had the better of the first half chances, with Ali Smith shooting wide following an incisive run from David Ajiboye, and Ajiboye then lifting the ball over an unguarded net after Angol had taken advantage of a misunderstanding between Paul Huntington and goalkeeper Tomas Holy to set Ajiboye up on the edge of the penalty area.
With Mansfield a goal up at Colchester, Carlisle could not afford to take their play-off place for granted, and early in the second half Owen Moxon's well struck volley was straight at Jack Rose. The closest to an equaliser, though, came when the dangerous Omari Patrick cut in on the right and saw his pull back divert off Harry Beautyman and go just wide of the far post and also just out of the reach of the sliding Ben Barclay.
Sutton were restricted to fewer chances than in the first half, the best falling to Kouassi as he met Hart's cross with a thumping header that was just too high, while substitute Donovan Wilson volleyed just wide having replaced Angol. It seemed as though the one goal would be enough, but with five minutes to go Barclay's long throw flicked off Goodliffe and a further deflection off Kizzi, making his 100th Sutton appearance and announced before the game as the Supporters' Club Player of the Year, left Rose wrong footed and saw the ball bounce in to the net.
Kouassi had Holy sprawling moments later with a low 20 yard effort, but the scores remained level, with Carlisle's fifth place earning a play-off against Bradford while U's finished in 14th place, behind Tranmere on goal difference and Crewe on goals scored.
Sutton: J Rose, J Kizzi, S Hart, D Ajiboye, B Goodliffe, R Milsom, E Boldewijn, A Smith, K Kouassi, H Beautyman, L Angol(sub D Wilson 77). Subs n/u C Rowe, C Dundas, T Fadahunsi, J Neufville, L Gambin, T Dickinson
Carlisle: T Holy, C Whelan, J Armer, O Moxon, J Robinson(sub J Garner 67), P Huntington, B Barclay, C Guy(sub R Edmondson 79) K Dennis(sub J Gibson 66), O Patrick(sub T Charters 79), A McCalmont. Subs n/u J Senior, J Harris, M Kelly. Booked: Robinson
Referee: Darren Drysdale
Attendance: 4,771(1,366 away)