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We’re up and running: Matt Gray happy with Sutton’s draw against Newport

Sutton manager Matt Gray was happy with his side’s display at home to Newport (Tim Goode/PA)
Sutton manager Matt Gray was happy with his side’s display at home to Newport (Tim Goode/PA)

Sutton boss Matt Gray hailed his side’s “unbelievable character” after their opening day 1-1 draw with Newport.

Lebanese striker Omar Bugiel fired the home side into a welcome 24th-minute with a clinical close-range strike, but debutant Omar Bogle equalised for the visitors with a 38th-minute header from a Mickey Demetriou long throw.

“I’ve learned today that we’ve still got unbelievable character and resilience,” said Gray.

“There’s a good team spirit and that hasn’t wavered over the summer.

“I’m really pleased. It was a really hard-fought contest between two teams having a right good battle.

“It was very stop-start in the first half and we were unlucky with two forced injuries, which wasn’t ideal. But I thought we were the better side at half-time.

“However, I’m disappointed with the goal we conceded and not to have taken one or two more of our own chances.

“Yes, certainly, I felt as though they had the second half. We were not holding on, but we were really having to deal with their long throws into the box.

“I thought we dealt with their long throws really well, especially with the changes we made after the goal. And even then with them penning us in – and their front two being a handful – I still felt we had the best chance of the half when we hit the bar.

“We really stuck together in the second half. Yes, there’s things we want to work on but that’s the same for everyone, because everyone will look to improve.

“I’m pleased we’ve got a point on the board. We’re up and running and now we look to next week.”

Newport manager James Rowberry was impressed with his side’s battling qualities as they fought back to share the honours.

“I’m really pleased – it’s a good start to the season and a point away from home,” said Rowberry.

“I was told if you win away from home then you’re going to do alright, so I’m happy.

“It’s an improvement from last season, it’s a development from last year when we’ve come here and lost. We’ve gone a goal down but come back from a set-play.

“It’s a little bit different when you come to Sutton, you’ve got to adapt. They’re a tough team to play against and I thought we dealt with it particularly well.

“It’s a decent start for us but I’ve got a mindset this year that I want more clean sheets, we need to add that to our armoury.

“And I’m pleased for Omar to get the goal because he’s been working hard and you could see how hard he’s worked.

“It was a good finish and we deserved it because we fought hard to get something out of the game.”