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Matt Gray concerned by Sutton’s away form after late loss at Gillingham

Matt Gray is concerned by Sutton’s away form after the late loss at Gillingham (Barrington Coombs/PA)
Matt Gray is concerned by Sutton’s away form after the late loss at Gillingham (Barrington Coombs/PA)

Sutton boss Matt Gray bemoaned what he described as his side’s “worst performance of the season” after conceding late on in a 1-0 loss to Gillingham.

Alex MacDonald’s stoppage-time effort was enough to hand the hosts all three points at Priestfield Stadium in a match where the Gills also had three goals disallowed.

It was just a second league win of the season for Neil Harris’ side while the loss leaves Sutton without a league victory on the road.

A frustrated Gray said: “This was our worst performance of the season, definitely the worst of the five away from home.

“I just said to the players I want to be coming in here saying ‘not at our best but we’ve got a clean sheet and got a point’. Unfortunately, a late goal has done us again.

“I’m not blowing this out of proportion or making a big drama out of this but our away form and late goals are a concern. If we can turn those two things around then I’m sure we’ll be where we all want to be.

“I wish I had an answer for the late goals we’re conceding.

“Is it a fitness issue? No, we still look physically strong. Is it that we’re hanging on in games? No. These goals are coming out of nothing. We keep on getting punished.”

Meanwhile, Harris expressed his delight for MacDonald after the substitute ultimately proved the difference and sealed his side three points.

He said: “I’m really pleased for Macca. He’s got the experience and the know-how, he knows how to read the game. He was very proactive from when he came on and that’s where the goal came from.

“He understands the game well: he was on the move into the right area – if he was standing on the edge of the box he wouldn’t score. That’s his natural instinct.

“I just felt we had a moment in us. The fans saw the team play on the front foot, we did the basics correctly and we came off on the right side of a tight game.

“The lads found a way to stick at it and I’d say we were due that moment of fortune that fell to us at the end there.

“We were getting in the right positions, that’s for sure. If you have three goals disallowed that shows you’re creating chances and I thought we were better all-round.

“Credit to my players because they’ve learned a lot this week in training and they stood up to it.”