Sutton United 1 (Fadahunsi 90) Newport County 1(McLoughlin 79)
Just when it seemed as though Sutton were set for the sort of undeserved defeat that happens to sides at the wrong end of the table, Tope Fadahunsi popped up with his first goal of the season in the last of the ninety minutes that was the least that U's merited after a spirited performance, particularly in the second half, that lacked only composure in front of goal. U's hit the post in the first half and later had the ball in the net twice, only for the goals to be ruled out by the officials, while Newport goalkeeper Nick Townsend made several good stops, and it was all too predictable that Newport would score with what was their second on target shot of the game, but Fadahunsi darted in front of Townsend to volley in a Rob Milsom corner to make sure that U's efforts didn't go completely unrewarded and that the gap to the sides above would close to five points.
With Harry Smith beginning a four match ban after his red card at Gillingham, Lee Angol played up front with Josh Coley, Dion Pereira and Omari Patrick supporting him, while Dominic Gape and Christian N'Guessan comprised the midfield and Omar Swounmi and Ben Goodliffe were reunited in the centre of the defence with Joe Kizzi reverting to right back. While Sam Hart started at left back, his wretched luck with injuries continued as what appeared to be a groin injury forced him off just before the half hour mark, Milsom brought on as a replacement.
The first half was scrappy, with Sutton producing the two moves of quality. First a fine left to right move ended with Gape's cross being headed wide by Angol, and Patrick then chased a Coley pass before setting up Milsom for a deep cross that was met by Pereira with a looping header that came back off the post. At the other end Seb Palmer-Houlden sent a header wide from a McLoughlin cross, and after Coley had picked up the afternoon's only booking for a challenge on Ryan Delaney as the Newport captain was lining up a shot, Bryn Morris's free kick diverted wide off the defensive wall.
U's made a change at the break, Fadahunsi replacing Patrick to play alongside Angol, but before it could take effect U's would have been behind but for Dean Bouzanis, who made a brilliant save to tip a curling Palmer-Houlden shot round the post. For much of the rest of the half it was Sutton pressing to break the deadlock, with Pereira at the heart of most of the threat. Gape set him up for one low shot that was saved low down by Townsend before another Pereira shot was deflected just wide, and when he did find the net Aiden O'Brien, who may have got a final touch, had strayed offside. If at that point Pereira was entitled to curse his luck, he should have done better when a superb run by Coley sliced through the Newport defence before he pulled the ball back but Pereira blazed the chance over the bar.
Townsend was scrambling again soon afterwards to push away a deflected Coley shot, and O'Brien glanced a header wide, but from the goal kick that resulted from that second chance Sutton were made to pay for not taking chances as Will Evans controlled the ball before laying it off to James Waite, and he in turn rolled a pass in to the path of McLoughlin who blasted an unstoppable shot past Bouzanis.
Sutton refused to accept defeat and Harry Beautyman, another second half substitute, met a Pereira cross with a header that was well saved by Townsend, while Milsom saw a superb volley crash in to the net off the post only for the whistle to have gone for a foul by Kizzi. Sowunmi was sent up front for the last five minutes, and the pressure finally told as Pereira had another shot deflected wide for a corner which Milsom swung in to the six yard box for Fadahunsi to beat Townsend to the ball and volley in from close range.
Sutton: D Bouzanis, J Kizzi, S Hart(sub R Milsom 28), O Sowunmi, B Goodliffe, D Gape(sub H Beautyman 60), J Coley(sub R Jackson 85), C N'Guessan, L Angol(sub A O'Brien 60), D Pereira, O Patrick(sub T Fadahunsi H-T). Subs n/u S Arnold, C Clay. Booked: Coley
Newport: N Townsend, L Payne, S McLoughlin, R Delaney, J Clarke, M Baker, W Evans, B Morris, S Palmer-Houlden, S Bennett(sub M Bondswell 76), H Charsley(sub J Waite 62). Subs n/u J Maxted, K Rai, N Wood, N Sanca, H Bright.
Referee: Alan Young
Attendance: 2,737(268 away)