Sutton boss Matt Gray praised his side after they secured an FA Cup third-round tie for only the sixth time in their history with a 3-0 win over non-league Horsham.

Horsham were reinstated into the second round after it was found League One Barnsley had fielded an ineligible player in the replay.

But Luton loanee Dion Pereira bagged a second-half double in the space of 10 minutes before Omari Patrick’s late goal broke the seventh-tier side’s hearts.

Sutton sit bottom of the Football League but are in the third round for the first time since 2016 and Gray said: “I know we’re not going to go on and win the FA Cup so we just want a big pay day really.”

Sutton overcame a real banana skin with a poor start to the season and a long injury list to contend with.

“There’s certainly pride, I’m bursting with pride,” added Gray.

“We came into the game with nine injuries already and then lost our two main defenders. I certainly didn’t think I’d see a Sutton United team with that back four.

“To show the character and togetherness to get through that adversity and stay patient to show that quality is pleasing.

“There’s relief at getting it done. I’m really pleased to look forward for tomorrow’s draw.

“It’s very important that you stay calm and patient and the longer the game goes on, you would hope they would start to tire slightly with them not being a full-time side and then the gaps open up.

“The quality can then show and that was certainly the case at multiple occasions in the second half.”

The already-depleted U’s had to cope with losing two more defenders on a bitterly cold afternoon.

Gray said: “We adjusted really well. It was all planned and prepared for, it wasn’t panic stations, we were aware of what we needed to do if players went down injured. And unfortunately, we were forced to do it.

“The first goal is always massive and you don’t want it to come against you against the run of play.

“Dion could have had a couple before that. He managed to get one and backed it up with a second. He could have had a hat-trick, so I’m really pleased with his performance.

“I thought the front two were a real handful. There were a lot of good performances and the substitutes added to that as well.”

Proud Horsham boss Dom di Paola, who made history by steering the side into the second round, said: “No-one will ever forget the Barnsley away trip.

“It’s been good. It’s shown what we’re capable of as a group. We’ve said to the boys we have to take this into our league campaign and if we do that we’ll have a good season.

“The boys have been great. Whichever group we’ve put out over the eight or nine games, they’ve done great things for us.

“Hopefully the supporters can look back on it as a good FA Cup campaign.”

The non-league side got a reprieve after Barnsley were found to have field an ineligible player in the replay.

And on the defeat, Di Paola said: “As the game went on, we suffered a bit of fatigue.

“We’re just disappointed we couldn’t come away with something. I just felt some of the things we’re good at we didn’t do.

“When we got in good areas, we just made the wrong decision too many times.
“You’re obviously playing a side of Football League calibre and they’re going to punish you if you don’t capitalise on opportunities.

“There’s a feeling of frustration. I’m not annoyed at the boys, but we didn’t get going second half.”

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.”

Sutton manager Matt Gray is hoping for a money-spinning EFL Cup tie after Aiden O’Brien gave the League Two side a shock 1-0 win at Wycombe.

The Shrewsbury loanee netted his first goal for the Yellows midway through the first half and the visitors held on to reach the third round for the first time in the club’s history.

Following four straight defeats since their dramatic penalty shootout win over Cambridge in the previous round, Sutton were on the back foot early in the first half.

But O’Brien’s cool finish swung the momentum of the game and proved enough to put United in the hat alongside the Premier League’s top eight.

“We’re on a nice little run now, with two League One opposition beaten,” said Gray. “We’re obviously not going to win the competition, but you want a big tie, a big money-maker to help my budget. Simple as that.”

And Gray was delighted with how his side handled higher-league opposition, who came closest when Luke Leahy struck the post in the second half.

Gray said: “We’re really pleased with the first-half performance with our threat on the counter-attack. The second half we really dug in and it was a solid defensive performance.

“We rode our luck at times but we deserved the clean sheet and to go through in the end.”

Wycombe boss Matt Bloomfield was left rueing missed opportunities after seeing his team enjoy the majority of possession and territory.

“I think we controlled the game,” said Bloomfield. “We had 18 shots, an xG of 2.58, hit the post, near misses, that pretty much sums up the game.

“Then you give Sutton something to hold on to and they defended for their lives but we’ve created more than enough chances to win the game.”

Sutton boss Matt Gray was delighted to make it third time lucky in the EFL Cup after beating Cambridge 6-5 on penalties.

The south-west London club had failed in their two previous attempts to win a match in the competition.

And they came from behind twice to force penalties as goals from Harry Smith and Harry Beautyman cancelled out Fejiri Okenabirhie’s brace at Gander Green Lane.

“It’s nice to be in the hat for the second round after the last couple of years,” admitted Gray.

“It’s the first time we’ve won a League Cup game. The Premier League boys come in now so it would be great to get one.

“It’s nice to get another win on penalties and make sure we got through to the next round.

“I was pleased with a hell of a lot from the game.

“I’ve really noticed the team spirit ever since our pre-season trip. We showed great character to come from behind twice and I’m really pleased with the spirit in the group.

“We don’t practice the specific penalties. Everyone knows to pick their spot and commit to the penalty.”

Cambridge’s George Thomas and Sutton’s Ben Goodliffe both missed to take the shoot-out to sudden death, where Jack Rose – a half-time substitute for Sutton’s starting keeper Steve Arnold – made the decisive save from Harrison Dunk.

Deflated Cambridge boss Mark Bonner said: “It’s disappointing to go out on penalties.

“When you get the upper hand in penalties you hope you’ll see that home, but it wasn’t to be.

“That Wembley dream’s over this year, but we’ll get ourselves ready for a big week ahead.

“It’s a successful night for us with all the changes we made. We managed to get some good minutes into players who didn’t get to play on Saturday.

“We got a few more minutes into some than we would have liked because the game went on for three hours.”

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