Sutton boss Matt Gray revealed he had predicted his side’s FA Cup clash with non-league AFC Fylde would be a game of two halves as they came from behind to seal a 2-1 win.
The U’s were staring down the barrel of being dumped out by non-league opposition for the second year running after Jon Uskabasi opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time.
However, Harry Smith’s quick-fire double in the second half sent Sutton through.
Gray said: “I sort of knew how the first half would go to be honest, because they were kicking down the hill with a wind behind them, which died down second half.
“AFC Fylde have got some good players, they’ve got some threats. I wasn’t pleased with some things of course, but I was desperate to get in at half-time with a clean sheet.
“I knew and I predicted we would be very dominant second half. I thought we were going to nick a bonus with a goal-mouth scramble and a couple of good chances.
“I felt they were the better side first half, they edged it. To get the goal and follow it up with the second very quickly was pleasing.
“I’ve managed many games here and I’ve seen games pan out exactly the way it did. The team talk was a refocus to the lads about what I wanted and I told them we didn’t need to go gung-ho to try and equalise.
“I knew Harry would have an impact second half and he was a real handful.
“I was frustrated because it’s a cup tie and they’ve got nothing to lose and they threw everything to take us to a replay, and I just wished we would have taken one of those chances to kill the game.”
Lancashire club Fylde have a strong record of qualifying for the main stages of the cup.
However, after failing to reach the second round for a fourth year running, boss Chris Beech said: “We exit the FA Cup, but I don’t think we deserved that in terms of effort and application.
“I was looking at the statistics and we went toe-to-toe with a League Two team. I thought we dealt with them really efficiently first half, probably better than they maybe thought we would.
“We got a position of control but they have big-game moments. They don’t have many, but they have the capability to dominate an opponent because they’re very physical, but there’s quality within that.
“The general play and how the game was we were comfortable, but there were two bits of quality within that from Sutton.
“We had a great chance to get them back to our place. To come away from home to London to a team in League Two; we’ve had 12 opportunities and only scored one.
“We’ve got to get better so we can create less and score more.”