Sutton United 0 Salford City 2 (Smith 55, Nmai 65)
A return to home soil failed to provide a change of fortune as Sutton went down to two second half goals against a Salford side recording a second consecutive league win. After a fairly even first half where neither side gained the upper hand, Salford scored twice in the first twenty minutes of the second half and despite a spirited late effort from Sutton the recent tide of disappointing results could not be reversed
Dean Bouzanis was fit to start in goal for U's, while Hisham Kasimu made his first EFL start in attack, but it was Salford who had the better of things early on, with wingers Luke Bolton and Kelly Nmai both posing a threat. Sutton's defence dealt well with any crosses that came in to the penalty area and U's gained more of a foothold in the game without creating any serious chances, a misplaced pass more than once undermining a promising attack, although goalkeeper Alex Cairns did have to dive low to intercept one cross from Omari Patrick, playing on the right with Harry Beautyman on the left of midfield.
When Salford's delivery in to the penalty area improved chances followed, with Nmai sprinting down the left before crossing for Matty Lund to arrive late but volley over. Nmai's next cross was cleared as far as Bolton, whose shot with the outside of his right foot came back off the foot of the post, and Matt Smith might have done better at the far post than divert the ball wide from an excellent ball in by Lund. Having survived those chances Sutton could have gone in at half time with the confidence of a lead when Joe Kizzi headed Christian N'Guessan's free kick across goal, but Elliott Ward did just enough to block Kasimu's header, the ball looping harmlessly in to the hands of Cairns.
Sutton started the second half in similar vein, with Kasimu having a shot from an angle blocked, but having failed to take advantage of two corners U's were punished as Salford made their first of the second half count, Declan John's corner from the right flicked on by Adrian Mariappa at the near post and headed in by Smith at the far. Worse followed for U's ten minutes later when Nmai broke free down the left and crossed low, and although the ball was too far in front of Smith the big striker retrieved it on the right by-line and chipped to the far post where Nmai was left free to take a touch before firing high in to the net.
U's made changes in an effort to get back in to the game, and also had to replace Craig Eastmond after the captain suffered what looked to be a hamstring injury, and after Smith had wasted a chance to give Salford a third goal, pulling a shot wide after being put through by Ethan Ingram, there were real chances to give Salford an uneasy last ten minutes, with Aiden O'Brien meeting a Josh Coley cross at the near post but sending the ball just wide. Coley had the best opportunity, left clear after a fine challenge by Harry Smith on Curtis Tilt, but opted to try and take the ball round Cairns who whipped it off his toes. The keeper also saved from O'Brien in stoppage time as Salford saw the game out to take the points.
Sutton: D Bouzanis, J Kizzi, S Hart, O Sowunmi, B Goodliffe, C Eastmond(sub J Coley 79), C Clay(sub A O'Brien 71), C N'Guessan, H Kasimu(sub H Smith 62), H Beautyman, O Patrick. Subs n/u J Rose, R Jackson, L Angol. Booked: Kizzi
Salford: A Cairns, E Ingram, D John, C Tilt, A Mariappa, E Ward, L Bolton, M Lund (sub R Watson 81), M Smith, S Mallan, K Nmai(sub K Berkoe 90+3). Subs n/u J Wright, M Dackers, D Pedro, L Humbles, T Olopade. Booked: Smith, Bolton, Lund
Referee: Carl Brook
Attendance: 2,041(56 away)